Brust vs. Zelazny

Mon Jan 27 08:47:12 PST 2003

On Fri, Jan 24, 2003 at 01:20:04PM -0800, Steven Brust wrote:

> At 02:15 PM 1/24/2003 -0600, pddb at demesne.com wrote:
> >  I think
> >Steven is a better novelist than Zelazny, actually.
 . . .
> Uh...LORD OF LIGHT?  If ever write something that good, I could die content.

For what it's worth (and no author-stroking intended), IMHO Brust
at his best can equal the average Zelazny.  And I find most of the
Vlad novels more entertaining (and less flawed) that most of the
Amber novels.  But no, I don't think Brust has hit the best of Zelazny

One major reason is that Zelazny could and did work at much shorter
lengths.  Shorter works have been getting ever-declining respect over
the years, but IMHO they have the special virtue of being able to address
a single (possibly smaller) theme or idea in isolation.  A novel almost
inevitably broadens things to the point that the smaller themes are
over-addressed or diluted by being mixed with other things that obscure
it.  As an example, compare the novella versions of 'He Who Shapes' or
'This Immortal' to the novels.

And some of the strongest, most memorable Zelazny is the shortest.  'The
Moment of Power' (I may have that title wrong), 'Last Defender of
Camelot', 'A Rose for Eclesiastes' -- all of them would be lost if they
were expanced or just mere scenes in something larger.

So I agree with Brust on this one.  :-)