Brust vs. Zelazny

Mon Jan 27 08:49:22 PST 2003

On Monday, January 27, 2003, at 11:47 AM, Steve Simmons wrote:

> 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
> yet.
> 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.  :-)

I am not a Zelazny fan though I do like some of his works. I agree that 
shorter works are underrated these days. The market seems saturated 
these days with Big Serious Works and its refreshing  to read a short, 
tightly plotted novel. I myself write novels that are on the short end. 
I've tried to write Big Stuff but I always end up just focusing on a 
few threads anyway.

Now, if I can ever write 1/3 as well as Steve, the Master of the Plot, 
I'll be a happy man.