Philip Dick and Roger Zelazny

Discussion in 'Science Fiction' started by tylenol, May 3, 2012.

  1. tylenol

    tylenol Registered User

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    I have heard somewhere that fans of PKD will enjoy Zelazny`s work. But looking up his books online, his stuff seems much more fantasy based that PKD. I have Lord of Light and plan on reading it real soon, but it seems more like a fantasy novel than a SF novel. Is all of Zelazny`s work like that?

    And is there anyone here who is a big fan of both authors? Are there many similarities? I know they wrote a novel together, and that seems like a interesting mashup.
     
  2. cgw

    cgw Registered User

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    I can only speak of Zelazny as I have not read any PKD. Zelazny leans to Fantasy. Some books are fantasy, some are scifi and some are mixes. Lord of Light, his best, leans to scifi but it could be called a mix.
     
  3. mylinar

    mylinar Registered User

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    I can't off hand think of any fantasy elements in Lord of Light. Disclaimer: Of course any SF element not explained in painstaking detail could be construed as a fantasy construct.
     
  4. cgw

    cgw Registered User

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    I would call it (LofL) scifi myself. But as you say... There are plenty here who would call it (along with Dune and some others) fantasy.

    Back to the original question, I believe that Zelazny and PKD co-wrote a book. I have not read it but perhaps tylenol would want to check it out. Deus Irae - 1976 (Edit: Sorry - just read the original post that tylenol was aware of the book)
     
    Last edited: May 4, 2012
  5. KatG

    KatG Effulgent Staff Member

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    Zelazny's series work is mostly fantasy, but a number of his stand alone novels are SF. Zelazny was part of the New Wave movement while Dick was more the father of cyberpunk. Their styles are not that similar, though both were considered edgy and very contemporary during their time period, so that's maybe why the recommendation. Dick's The Man in High Castle is maybe kind of like Zelazny's Amber novels. Their short novel together is a funky post-apoc SF about a handicapped painter searching for a man who has been deified to paint his portrait.

    I won't say don't try Zelazny -- a lot of SF fans like the Amber books for instance, even though it's technically fantasy -- but if you're aiming for books more in line with Dick, some writers like K.W. Jeter, Neal Stephenson's early works and Jonathan Lethem's SF novels might be closer.
     
  6. cgw

    cgw Registered User

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    I had forgotten that I had read A Man in a High Castle. I really don't remember it very well. Probably because I did not connect with it very much. But I would have to put PKD in a more classical grouping of authors. I'll have to read something else.

    Side note - As someone who started reading post new wave I never really understood what was meant by the term. Probably like kids today wonder what new wave music is - when it is older than dirt.

    Zelazny scifi (or at least mostly scifi):
    Lord of Light
    This Immortal
    Roadmarks
    Doorways in the Sand
    Isle of the Dead
    Coils (w/ Saberhagen)
    Eye of Cat
    Damnation Alley
    The Dream Master
    not to mention a fair amount of short stories
     
    Last edited: May 5, 2012
  7. KatG

    KatG Effulgent Staff Member

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    What New Wave ultimately was, was a movement not centered on hard SF and adventure SF but sociological SF, heavy on the sociology and ideologies. New Wave writers wanted to push boundaries, doing material on sex, personal freedom, psychological issues, political issues, drugs, things they saw as serious, adult material in contrast to some of SF's pulp history, although they were just as likely to use elements common to the pulps. They also liked to play with experimental styles, and their stories reflected the cultural and political shifts that were going on at the time. It was not a new thing, but it was the pursuit of a particular thing that took full advantage of SF's speculative side to experiment.

    As such, Dick's trippy, angst-ridden, politically savage noir actually did fit in. But his bleak, dystopian examinations of the mix of technology and humanity set the groundwork for cyberpunk, which was less about experimentation of form than taking political thrillers in a particular direction. Zelazny was part of the New Wave, but not, I believe, heavily involved in it as a movement. He was more of a transitional figure, going from the New Wave experimentation in the 1960's around Moorcock's magazine into the more fragmented 1970's era, when the magazines began to become less important and less of a shaper of movements in SF and fantasy. Zelazny's big interests were in mythologies, multiple world concepts and ideas about identity and immortality. His Amber books are thrillers, so there is common ground with much of Dick's work. Zelazny also did satire. But I'd say that Zelazny's main work is maybe more like Gene Wolfe's than Dick's stylistically.

    Jonathan Lethem's Gun, with Occasional Music struck me as very Phillip K. Dick-like, but your mileage may vary.
     
  8. Triceratops

    Triceratops Browser

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    I only know that they're both outstanding authors of the highest caliber. I haven't read any Z, but I certainly plan to.

    chris
     
  9. kennychaffin

    kennychaffin Man of Ways and Means

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    I don't think they are alike at all. I truly don't care for PKD and love Zelazny.
     
  10. mylinar

    mylinar Registered User

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  11. vrabinec

    vrabinec Registered User

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    And don't forget The Foundation Trillogy which features "the Mule" who uses telepathic powers. If we went by strict sci-fi rules, the number of books out there that are considered sci-fi would probably dwindle to about 2% of what's out there now.
     
  12. picklebeaker

    picklebeaker i love acid

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    I would agree they are nothing alike at all but in opposite to you I totally love most of PKD's work whereas ive only read the Chronicle of Amber of Zelazny and it didnt make me want to rush out and read anymore of his.
     
  13. kennychaffin

    kennychaffin Man of Ways and Means

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    And that's what I love about this genre! Something for everyone! :D

    Enjoy!
     
  14. Omphalos

    Omphalos Orthodox Herbertian

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    The telepathic stuff in that book was due to evolution/mutation, and was not magical (strictly speaking that is. I'm with you on this anyway). Plus it was probably more Campbell then Asimov that put that element into the story. Campbell had a wierd thing for sci-powers and all kinds of other wacky ideas.

    Someone mentioned Dune? This Immortal (IIRC) used to be called Call Me Conrad, which split the Nebula with Dune in '65. I think I'm right on that. Too lazy to Google it.

    I used to really like New Wave stuff when I was a yout. These days I can't stomach it at all. It just used to feel really exiciting and edgy to me. These days it looks more like hack-work. Guess I've gotten too old now. Zelazny was kind of out there in the New Wave camp. those guys focused a lot on psychology and SFF "inner-space," meaning the effect of fantastic things on a person, rather than a person's effect on a SFF world. They peppered their writing with sex, drugs, altered perceptions, radical thought and things like that pretty liberally. New Wave to me is just a matter of taste, though I can see its (to my eyes) fantasy leanings turning some off.

    I just looked at what I typed. I'd be a fool to say that Zelazny was a real hack; he wasn't. But lordy I have yet to find anything by him that I personally consider readable these day.

    Ow! My hip!
     
  15. vrabinec

    vrabinec Registered User

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    I love the sex drugs and altered perspectives, but it's gotta be a sub plot in a frame of sci-fi. I do think there's sci-fi out there that should really be on the mainstream shelf because of the primary plot and theme, even though the setting is somewhat futuristic.
     
  16. ebusinesstutor

    ebusinesstutor Star Gawker

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    I don't find them that similar either. I am not really a fan of Dick, but Zelazny is one of my favourite authors.

    Well worth a read.
     
  17. tylenol

    tylenol Registered User

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    Well I am currently reading 'Lord of Light' and I am really close to the end. I have to say that I enjoy it quite a bit. I can kinda see similarities in the way Zelazny and PKD write, and they are both very philosophical writers.

    Recently i read 'The Divine Invasion' by PKD, and now that I am familiar with Zelazny, I feel that it is a very Zelaznyesque novel. Would anyone agree with that statement?
     
  18. algernoninc

    algernoninc Now I'm an axolotl

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    I would say Zelazny is more poetic, polished and PKD bleaker, weirder. I like them both, but prefer Zelazy.