Интервью Роджера Желязны (на английском
The latest "Amber" book, Prince of Chaos, is Roger Zelazny's
tenth. Did he ever think he'd do so many? "I considered the possibitity
of doing nine, initially. One of my first ideas was possibly tell
the same story from a different viewpoint, using all nine
princes.That was a sort of Lawrence Durrell 'Alcxandria
Quartet' idea I had, but l abandoned thaf fairly
early. I was stuck with Corwin.The only thing that remained of that early
idea was the automobile accident they kept redescribing
in each book, revealing a little bit more about it, or changing the
interpretation of what really happened. That was just a little hommage
to that idea.
"The 'Amber' books are a comment on the
nature of reality and people's perceptions
of it. I was thinking of Lawrence
Durrell's 'Alexandria Quartet' when I began the first book. I liked that
particular series just because of the way he retold the same
story from different characters' viewpoints. His was a more
general comment on the fact that you can't know everything.
He could as easily have written a fifth book or sixth book and kept changing
it. That spilled over into the Shadow Worlds and oceans on the different
parallel worlds where things are just a little bit different and eventually
you get further away and they're a
lot different. That was in the background.
'I thought I finished after five books. I had
used up all the material I had in the back of my mind.
So I decided when I picked it up again, I'd kick
it into the future and use a
different viewpoint character. Again, I didn't plan on it
being five books. I originally signed to do three.
One of the differences between this series and
the earlier one is that in the earlier one, I'd write a book and then
I'd go off and do some other books and stories, then come hack and
write another volume. I did a few things in between
here, but this was much more compressed.
I was pretty much doing one right after the other, compared to the earlier
series. So as much as I enjoyed them, I'm happy now to be free to move
on to some other stuff. I can take a vacation now.
"After a while, if became something of a joke, that
I had these cliffhangers, so I started introducing them intentionally,
just to make it a running gag. Thcrc is something close to a wrap at the
end of the tenth one. I brought it to a point where it's
a satisfactory place for the reader to say, 'OK,
I'm gonna stop here for a while.' But I could
go farther, I do have a few other things I'd like to say....
"There's a similarity, in a way, between the 'Amber' books and a book
I did called Roadmarks, where I played more with time than space.
I got the idea for that book during an automobile drive. I was coming
up l-25, which is a nice modern highway in New Mexico, and just on
a whim, I turned off at random on a turn off I'd never taken before. I
drove along it for awhile, and I saw a road which was much
less kept up. I turned onto that one, and later on I hit a
dirt road and I tried it, and pretty soon I came to a place that wasn't
on the map. It was just a little settlement. There were log cabins
there, and horses pulling carts, and it looked physically as if I'd
driven back into the l9th century. I started to think about the way
the road kept changing, and I said, 'Gee, that would
be neat, to consider time as a superhighway with different
turnoffs.' I went back and started writing Roadmarks that same afternoon.
"That notion of the unexpected turn taking you into a different
kind of reality than you were in right before you made
it, and leading to something unexpected, is a similar
thing to the shadow walks or shadow rides that
I had in the 'Amber' series. The original idea of the 'Amber'
books had come to me in a strange part of a strange
town, where the turnings kept taking me into unexpected places,
and I started thinking about shiftings of reality then.
Only then I was thinking in terms of space
- different alignments of familiar features,
until you've got something very strange - whereas the highway
business, I started thinking of time as if I were shifting backward
through it as I drove along. l think the
two are akin, even though the stories don't have that much
After this latest extensive boul with
Amber, he returned to collaboration, working with
Robert Sheckley. "We both have the same agent, Kirby McCauley, and Kirby
suggested our of the blue that it might
be interesting if we did something together.
I had a few ideas already which I ran by Sheckley, and we
ended up choosing the one we used for the forthcoming book, "Bring
Me the Head of Prince Charming". That was the only time we
talked about it face-to-face. We worked it our in general
then. It's a medieval fantasy, somewhat humorous
in nature. Heaven and Hell have this contest, once every thousand years,
at the turning of the millennium. The side that
wins is given control of human destiny for the next thousand
years. Our story involves the putting together of Hell's entry
for the contest: the Prince Charming story, which is done in a somewhat
unusual fashion. Beyond that, I don't want to spoil the plot."
He will do another collaboration with Sheckly
"fairly soon. The working title for this one is The Shadow
of Faust. As for my own writing right now, I'm still kicking
around a couple of ideas. Simultaneous, or parallel in
course, with the next book with Bob Sheckley, l'll be working on
a book of my own. I just don't know which one it will be yet."
Zelazny has hecn involved in collaborative novels for more
than 20 years, bcginning with a book he did with Philip K. Dick.
"Phil had done an immense amount of writing over about a three-year period,
and had started this book, Deus Irae. He had a general outline, and
he'd written the first 50 pages and gotten blocked. Finally it came to
the point where Doubleday asked him whether he'd mind if they brought
in somebody else to work on it. They showed it to Ted
White, and he had it for several months and
decided he couldn't do it, but he hadn't given the
manuscript or the outline back yet. I happened to be in town,
and had dinner over at his place. He showed the
manuscript to me, and I rather liked it. So he called Phil and he called
Doubleday. I was working for Doubleday anyway at the
"That was '68. A few months later, I came out for Baycon,
and that was the first time I met Phil. We decided that I would have
to continue it right from the point where he'd left it. I changed my
style - I didn't want it to seem too discontinuous, so
I aimed for something sort of like Phil but not quite. I sent
him a chunk, and he liked them, and said he thought
he might be able to continue writing himself from that point.
He look it from where I'd stopped, and he wrote the next section.
It just went back and forth that way, until we finished the thing.
This went on for several years. There was no rush, until Doubleday
finally did notice this old contract outstanding and called
Phil and said, 'Hey, when are you going to give us the book?' Phil needed
the money, and said we were close to the end. I finished the book
in something like three days. He wanted a few changes. The last four
pages were his, as a sort of wrap. Then we sent the whole thing off to
Doubleday. There wasn't a complete overall rewrite.
"I still don't do that much rewriting. I do a lot of the composition
in my head, and when I do it at the keys, the sentences are pretty much
in the order they appear in the book. I wrote "Doorways In
the Sand" and "Jack of Shadows" first draft, no rewrite."
He has also done some collaborations vnth Fred Saberhagen. "The first
book we did together, "Coils", was my idea. I did a general outline of
the story, and Fred then took my outline and elaborated on
it, producing a big, chapter-by-chapter breakdown. He
does wonderful outlines. He can knock out an outline
that runs like 60 or 70 pages - which I won't do.
My own material, I tend to do most of my outlining in my
head, and just jot a few notes. Fred is much more meticulous.
But I like working with an outline like that. The more
recent book, "Black Throne", was his idea. Fred's a big Poe
fan - gives a party on his birthday every year. For "The Black Throne",
first he got me to read all of Poe, and the critical biographies
and so forth, so I was pretty well immersed in the material.
"Collaborations are fun. I learn a lot. I like
seeing how other writers operate. That first book with Fred.
I was really surprised that his approach to writing a
book was what it was. I learned a lot about
outlining from him. Even though I don't do it on paper, I can do it in
my head, using some of the devices he has. Working with Phil Dick, I got
some practice in learning to assimilate another person's
style. It's nice looking at something from another writer's
point of view. It's a learning experience. I've been learning things
from Bob Sheckley too. Fvery now and then it's nice to stop and just look
over what you've been writing and the way you've been writing it and sort
of reassess it, and see if you've fallen
into bad habits or there's something you'd like to get better
at. One way of reexamining your own work is to work with somebody else.
It's a learning experience. I don't want to get into a rul."