Speaking of Vlad and Kiera

chris cunningham chrislee at neo.rr.com
Fri Feb 21 11:12:08 PST 2003

From: "Greg Rapawy" <grapawy at yahoo.com>
> This is one of the ways that SKZB's work reminds me
> most of Zelazny's -- I wonder, when I come across a
> particular revelation: "Do you think he was setting
> that up all along?"  Either way, there's a certain
> fascination at the skill with which he shows us new
> things about characters, setting (the Dragaerans,
> their Empire, its culture, its economy, &c.), and
> plot, while hardly ever twisting any element out of
> shape to accommodate the others.

thank you!  have been trying to put this into words ever since the
orlaan/loraan thing came up.  it seems so much like something that zelazny
would have done.  like, just one that comes to mind, when corwin summons a
bird of his desire (the white one, i believe) and sends it off, and then
later it perches on corwin's shoulder to tell him that he's arrived...
always wondered if zelazny knew what the bird was for when he wrote the
summoning/sending passage. and come to think of it, i don't care, it rocks,
either way.

> So far, I think the best example of this particular
> sort of craftsmanship in the Vlad books is _Orca_,
> though I'm also partial to _Dragon_ (and _Yendi_,
> though I know the author isn't).  I was a little
> disappointed by _Issola_, as there are parts of it
> that read as though the author had been, despite his
> best efforts, reduced to simple exposition.  Thus
> Vlad's uncharacteristic (and acknowledged as such)
> demand for background from Sethra, and her
> uncharacteristic response; compare that with his
> conversation with Aliera in _Jhereg_, much earlier in
> the author's development, which seems to arise much
> more naturally from the interaction of the two
> characters.

and thank you for this.  had this bumping around in my noggin, too.  wonder
if sethra and vlad were non-plussed by the straightforward exposiiton:
sethra:  i'd love to play conversational tiassa&teckla here with vlad, but
we don't have the time.
vlad:  bummer, she's not playing cat&mouse, but telling me, just like that.
wow, i guess we really must not have the time.
time to reread?  i just did!  ah, well.

> I would be pleased to be rebutted if someone can show
> me why that scene works perfectly, of course.  (And I
> might add that this particular objection has not
> changed SKZB's status as the current sole occupant of
> my buy-in-hardcover list.)

third and fourth points of concurrence:  he's the only person on my
must-buy-in-hardback list, too, and if this book didn't blindside me quite
me as much as _teckla_, well, then it still is an all-mighty ticklefest,

chris cunningham
np: nothing, 'cos i'm going to bed, and you worthies have kept me up far
past my diurnal bedtime, and i've still got 50-odd messages left to read