The Magic: (october 1961-October 1967) Ten Tales by Roger Zelazny

620 pages

Published by Positronic Publishing.

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Classic novella collection, maybe more for the completionist than a new reader

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I’ve enjoyed reading Zelazny’s works after borrowing Nine Princes in Amber from my local library some forty years ago. Some of the novellas in this collection of ten were old friends, and I enjoyed revisiting them while discovering new-to-me works as well.

Setting each work in perspective, the novellas are interspersed with brief commentaries, author’s notes and explanatory notes. (I didn’t pay much attention to the last. On the one hand, they might be handy, but on the other they felt rather condescending.) I liked learning more about the context (eg what else was being published at the time, and by whom).

Zelazny’s protagonists are unapologetically exceptional. We don’t (generally) follow them through a story that challenges their abilities. The opposition they face is not usually from equally competent people. Instead, they may strive against forces of nature (as in “This Moment of the Storm” or “This Mortal Mountain”). Their …