Posts tagged with "roger zelazny" - Faerye Net 2010-11-09T18:02:43+00:00 Felicity Shoulders Ambercon Northwest FAQ 2010-11-09T18:02:43+00:00 2010-11-09T18:18:42+00:00 <p>In my new vein of <a href="" target="links">attempts at unusual con reports</a>, here is a report on what I&#8217;ve been doing since last Thursday (since I&#8217;ve not been blogging, or even reading twitter, or responding to many emails&#8230;) I was at <a href="" target="links">Ambercon Northwest</a>, a gaming convention dedicated to the worlds of <a href='' title='More info about this book at' rel='powells-9780380809066'>Roger Zelazny&#8217;s Amber</a> and the <a href="" target="links">Amber Diceless Roleplaying System</a>. It is held at McMenamin&#8217;s <a href="" target="links">Edgefield</a> and it is <em>awesome</em>. Only read ahead if you care at all about Amber and/or gaming.</p> <h1>Questions most often asked of me at my first Ambercon Northwest</h1> <p><em>Questions not asked: I can&#8217;t recall fielding any questions about my hair, which is unusual. Even at World Fantasy I got questions about my hair, and out in the workaday world, it&#8217;s almost daily.)</em></p> <p><strong>Aren&#8217;t you a little young for Amber? How&#8217;d you get into this?</strong><br /> At the first meeting of my critique group, <a href="" target="links">Dave Goldman</a> prefaced a comparison to Amber with &#8220;This would only occur to someone of my generation&#8221;, and I had to show him the margin note where I&#8217;d written the same thing. I think I&#8217;m an honorary member of the sci-fi-reading class of 1971, since the way I read science fiction as a child and even as a teen was to go to my father and ask for a book. Sometimes I even held my hands out in a ritual gesture, waiting to receive the next Science Fiction Book Club hardback. This is why I&#8217;m Generation X/Y (cusp!) and my childhood SF favorites were by Asimov, Simak, and Zelazny.</p> <p><strong>How did you find out about Ambercon?</strong><br /> The fabulous <a href="" target="links">Lee Moyer</a>, illustrator extraordinaire, posted his latest <a href="" target="links">Tarot-inspired T-shirt design</a> for Ambercon Northwest on Facebook. I was immediately mad to know more. Amber? Con? <span class="caps">NORTHWEST</span>? (As it happened, Lee ended up coming to <span class="caps">ACNW</span> for the first time this year himself, after years of designing their shirts, and we saved the universe together at least once.)</p> <p><strong>You&#8217;re from Portland?</strong><br /> Oh yes.</p> <p><strong>How did you not know Ambercon existed then?</strong><br /> I DON&#8217;T <span class="caps">KNOW</span>. I&#8217;m starting work on a theory of geek insularity, though, thankee very much!</p> <p><strong>Which was your favorite game?</strong><br /> <em>(Look of slack-jawed indecision)</em><br /> I think next year I&#8217;ll do even more Amber games. There are non-Amber games that Amberish people would enjoy &#8212; mostly using the system or diceless &#8212; and those were fab as well, but there&#8217;s something about Amber. Still, I didn&#8217;t regret signing up for a one, even the one I found out afterwards was a <span class="caps">LARP</span> (my first.) That one, trying for a <em>Princess Bride</em> feel, was <strong>hilarious</strong>.</p> <p><strong>Are you enjoying your first Ambercon?</strong><br /> Ambercon was a busy, fabulous, full four days of top-notch gaming. I can see why people cross continents and oceans to get to it. I want to come next year, and run games, and stay at Edgefield so I don&#8217;t have to drive home every night, and come the next year, and help the organizers out&#8230;I&#8217;m sort of in love. May all roads <em>always</em> lead to Amber!</p> A lean, cadaverous figure 2010-10-20T15:35:10+00:00 2010-10-20T15:37:40+00:00 <p>I&#8217;m in the midst of two rereads right now: I&#8217;m listening to an audiobook of <em>Mansfield Park</em> and blazing my way through the entirety of <em>The Chronicles of Amber</em>. (So far I&#8217;ve noticed the restrained and slightly circumlocutory nature of Austen affecting my personal communications more than Zelazny&#8217;s mixture of the sardonic and lyrical.) I&#8217;m thoroughly enjoying my return trip through Amber and Chaos, and finding things I don&#8217;t remember noticing before.</p> <p>Take this passage, for example, as Corwin descends into the fastness below Amber:<br /> <blockquote>Twisting and winding through the gloom. The torch and lantern-lit guard station was theatrically stark within it. I reached the floor and headed that way.<br /> &#8220;Good evening, Lord Corwin,&#8221; said the lean, cadaverous figure who rested against a storage rack, smoking his pipe, grinning around it.<br /> &#8220;Good evening, Roger. How are things in the nether world?&#8221;<br /> &#8220;A rat, a bat, a spider. Nothing much else astir. Peaceful.&#8221;<br /> &#8220;You enjoy this duty?&#8221;<br /> He nodded. &#8220;I am writing a philosophical romance shot through with elements of horror and morbidity. I work on those parts down here.&#8221;<br /> &#8220;Fitting, fitting,&#8221; I said. &#8220;I&#8217;ll be needing a lantern.&#8221;<br /> He took one from the rack, brought it to flame from his candle.<br /> &#8220;Will it have a happy ending?&#8221; I inquired.<br /> He shrugged.<br /> &#8220;I&#8217;ll be happy.&#8221;<br /> &#8220;I mean, does good triumph and hero bed heroine? Or do you kill everybody off?&#8221;<br /> &#8220;That&#8217;s hardly fair,&#8221; he said.<br /> &#8220;Never mind. Maybe I&#8217;ll read it one day.&#8221;<br /> &#8220;Maybe,&#8221; he said.<br /> -Roger Zelazny, <em>The Hand of Oberon</em></blockquote></p> <p>I&#8217;m not sure how the significance of the dungeon guard&#8217;s name escaped me as a teenager and college student (perhaps I did see it, and had just forgotten) but now I find this colloquy very pleasing. Not only does it provide a light beat just where one is needed, but the joke rewards a close reader. It&#8217;s not jarring and can even be justified in-universe &#8212; if there are (at least) two Lancelots du Lac in the multiverse, why not two toiling authorial Rogers?</p> <p>I always enjoy meta-discussion of stories within fiction. (&#8220;You and I, Sam, are still stuck in the worst places of the story, and it is all too likely that some will say at this point: &#8216;Shut the book now, dad; we don&#8217;t want to read any more.&#8217;&#8221; &#8211; Tolkien) Making fiction is making meaning, and I feel it makes a narrative richer to have the characters realize that, realize how much even they/we are engaged in telling, justifying, framing things as we go about their/our business. Here it&#8217;s fascinating, in the midst of a series so varied in texture, setting and moment, to have an idea of how the author sums it up, what he thinks he is about. It&#8217;s playful and daring in a way I associate with Zelazny.</p> <p>It&#8217;s enough to tempt you to meet your own main character and tell them what you are presently writing about. (Would you dare? Note that Roger, here, holds a position where in the first book he presumably {SPOILER} <font color="white">guarded the captive Corwin for four years</font> and few of us have dealt more punishment to our characters than Zelazny has to Corwin.) Of course, most of us wouldn&#8217;t be so bold and Puckish as to include this exercise in our published works. And as for me, to my regret, it would be rather glaring if I included a bit player named &#8220;Felicity&#8221;!</p>