SHADOWS AND REFLECTIONS: Stories from the Worlds of Roger Zelazny, edited by Trent Zelazny and Warren Lapine. Wilder Publications Inc./Positronic Publishing, 2017, 234 pp., $29.99. ISBN 978-1-5154-1738-5.
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Everybody seems to have their Roger Zelazny story.
So do I.
It happens to be about 1988, when I was at Balticon, the Baltimore Science Fiction Convention. I was bringing back OGRE Magazine from the dead, living in Drexel Hill, right outside Philadelphia. I wanted to get an author interview of Zelazny for, I think, OGRE 6.
The problem was I knew so little about Zelazny. I had read very little of his stuff. He was a great short story writer. But I tried to read LORD OF LIGHT and was not intrigued. I never got around to ISLE OF THE DEAD, MADWAND, etc.
So to avoid the embarrassment, I typed up a list of questions, put them into an envelope and handed them to Roger at Balticon, hoping he could answer them and return them to me (I included a stamped, self-returning envelope!)
He seemed very kind and would have been willing to talk to me right there. Unfortunately I was busy helping at a huckster room booth. I had to go.
Sadly, we never met again. Needless to say, he never returned the answers. If I were him, knowing what I know now . . .
The very young man I was at the time would only have to cringe at that complete lack of respect for truly a great writer. Since then I recall the many fine stories. What I would have done now, if I could travel in time back to then, is simply dwell on the stories that he wrote and leave it at that.
So it was with delight I could have some words of kindness return and looking very glowingly on the tribute collection from many short story authors, SHADOWS AND REFLECTIONS: Stories from the Worlds of Roger Zelazny.
My favorite stories from the tribute collection:
“The Headless Flute Player” by Jane Lindskold (from LORD DEMON). A visitation by a corpse with no head to a strange creature that can venture into different “planes” of reality works magic in this tale.
“Nights in the Gardens of Blue Harbor” by Gerald Hausman, from a story originally outlined by Zelazny, happens to be my favorite story from this collection. This is about a writer who takes Roger’s advice to live in the world of James Bond – that is, Jamaica – and develop story ideas. What he experiences are alternate worlds created by the strange spirits that inhabit the land, of movie stars filming somewhere on the magnificent island, including Sean Connery as an early Bond and Errol Flynn sparring with bamboo poles. He is not only writing and finding unexpected muses in strange places, but smoking blueberry herb and seeing island ghosts, but he is also on a quest for a portion of a statue lost to time. The island is oh-so-dangerous yet endlessly inspiring.
“Halflife” by Theodore Krulik, from HALFJACK. Astronaut-soldier Jack Shannon is recovering in the hospital from his latest battle. But he has time to talk to “Roger,” the author, before his next great assignment: transforming into a starship pilot.
“Rock and Road” by Michael H. Hanson, from ROADMARKS. Billy is hitching a ride to a concert in LA when he is picked up by people who look like they are going to a Halloween party. He doesn’t know that he is with time travelers on the Road. The Road is a time machine, and Billy is a rock-and-roll music fan. His adventure begins.