Monday, April 4, 2016

Doorways in the SandDoorways in the Sand by Roger Zelazny
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

What the heck! I'm not an acrophiliac perpetual-student with a penchant for pilfering sentient stones, but after re-reading this book, I kinda want to be. :)

If managing to avoid getting a degree in 13 years while still maintaining a full course load can be considered a special kind of genius, then our MC has it, but wait! This is just the beginning.

Zelazny writes beautifully, with curious and curiouser language, puns, poetry, and slight perfidy, if the last line in the novel is anything to judge the rest by. Just what am I supposed to make of that, eh? (view spoiler)

This is a re-read, and probably one of the most enjoyable re-reads I've had in a very long time, with a few very notable exceptions. For one, I never actually intended to re-read this one, and it's only thanks to a few bookish friends here that I ever felt the need.

And I am very thankful. :)

The one thing that strikes me the most about this novel is the perfect knife-balance of absurdity. The knife might be a fool's knife masquerading as a knight's, but the knife cuts a fine story. Don't let the telepathic donkeys and overgrown houseplants fool you. We live in a wild, wild universe, and humanity is about crawl out of our own muck to take part in a tale as old as Time.

That's right. The hunt for lost jewelry. And yet, here's the funny part: no women characters are taking part in said hunt. Absurd! Right?

During the first half of the novel, I kept saying to myself that this novel would be a fantastic humor-laden modern SF, including major building-climbing stunts, kangaroos with wire-rimmed glasses, wombats, and raisins, the most nutritious whiskey drinks ever devised, and looking through a mirrored universe. (I decline to subscribe to the MC's point of view that it is merely *he* that has been flipped. After all, I started seeing things reversed, too, so perhaps the machine is leaking a bit, eh?)

The plot wrap-up wasn't entirely to my liking, for the most part, but it grew into a more subtle and thoughtful end that had lots of consequences for the rest of us, so I was eventually quite satisfied.

I can't believe that goofball actually got a job. Perhaps, with a little luck, he'll eventually climb that tallest building, but I'm not going to hold my breath. The jury's still out on us. :)

This is classic SF at its best. There's nothing out-of-date about it. I think it has held up extremely well and despite its clever cliffhangers with every chapter and Mirror's Edge kind of action escapades, this is a novel that is intelligent right down to it's sentence-core. Entertaining as hell AND it makes you think and scratch your head and go Aha! with it's mini-puzzles.

I totally recommend it for anyone. I always loved the author and it is just dawning on me that perhaps I really out to rediscover the man. Fantastic read!



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