Roger Zelazny was born 80 years ago

Roger Joseph Zelazny was born on May 13, 1937, in Euclid, Ohio, USA.

Roger Zelazny had his first experiences as a writer in school magazines. He received a Bachelor of Arts in English at the Western Reserve University in 1959 and a Master of Arts in 1962. He also won the Finley Foster Poetry Prize and the Holden Essay Award for some of his poetry.

Initially, his career as a writer was part-time writing short fiction, and only in 1965 a cut version of his novel “.. . And Call Me Conrad ” was published in “The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction”. In 1966 the novel was published as an integral version as a book with the title “This Immortal”. The novel won the Hugo Award.

“This Immortal” contains some of the most typical themes of Roger Zelazny’s works with the presence of characters who are god-like or at least superhuman. There’s also the inspiration to mythology, in this case, Greek, but in his works, the author used elements of mythologies from all over the world and even the Cthulhu Mythos.

In 1965 Roger Zelazny also published the novella “He Who Shapes”, winner of the Nebula Award, which was expanded into the novel “The Dream Master” in 1966. In 1967 Roger Zelazny published the novel “Lord of Light”, which won the Hugo Award.

After a few years, his achievements convinced Roger Zelazny to devote himself full-time to being a writer. In 1969 he published the novels “Isle of the Dead”, winner of the Prix Tour-Apollo Award in France, and “Damnation Alley”, another expansion of a novella.

In 1970 Roger Zelazny published the first book of his fantasy cycle of the Chronicles of Amber “Nine Princes in Amber”. The first five books, published in the 1970s, describe the adventures of Prince Corwin of Amber and are for this reason also called the Corwin series.

During the 1970s Roger Zelazny kept on publishing science fiction stories as well, winning the Hugo and Nebula awards for the novella “Home is the Hangman”. In 1976 he published the novel written in collaboration with Philip K. Dick “Deus Irae”.

The 1980s brought other successes to Roger Zelazny, in both the science fiction and fantasy genres. His 1981 novelette “Unicorn Variation” won the Hugo Award. His 1981 novel “The Changing Land” won the Locus Fantasy Award. His 1985 novella “24 Views of Mt. Fuji, by Hokusai” won the Hugo Award. His 1986 novelette “Permafrost” won the Hugo Award.

In 1985, Roger Zelazny published the first book of the Merlin series, which includes the other five books of the Chronicles of Amber focused on the adventures of Corwin’s son. It’s “The Trumps of Doom”, winner of the Locus Fantasy Award.

In the 1990s, Roger Zelazny completed the Chronicles of Amber and published some works written in collaboration such as “Bring Me the Head of the Prince Charming” in 1991, “If at Faust You Don’t Succeed” in 1993, and “A Farce to be Reckoned With” in 1995, a humorous fantasy mini-cycle written with Robert Sheckley.

Roger Zelazny died on June 14, 1995, because of a cancer that also caused him kidney failure. Some works were published posthumously such as “Psycoshop” in 1998, a novel started by Alfred Bester. After reaching success, Zelazny increased the amount of works published, not always maintaining the same quality. However, several of his works are still among those considered memorable in both science fiction and fantasy genres.

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