in the Shadow of Greatness


February 19, 2002

Permutations on a Concept

It is welcome and yet always amazing to see Roger Zelazny's creations of a world which reflects all human myth (Amber) continue to generate ideas that are not just reflections, but permutations of his original concept. Blog, Jvstin Style dishes up: Nine Princes in Memphis which tips the hat to Jack Gulick's equally fresh and incredible: Nine Princes in Hong Kong One can only
hope that John Betancourt manages to have as much dedication and zest when he gets around to trotting out: Nine Princes in Chaos —which is the publishing world's take on a mythic-prequel to RZ's work. Yeah, it sucks on several levels.

1. Roger is 'reported' as saying, "never" to other authors doing Amber. 2. Looking at Betancourt's body of work (not reading it mind you, I don't want to leave the wrong impression), it seems he is an "improvise on someone else's characters" sort of writer. Of course, that's what THEY want to publish these days and a writer has to eat. 3. Regardless of how good a writer you thought RZ was— or how often he mined his own style for material— he was interested in taking his ideas forward, not backward to Chaos.
Now if you compare this recent writing movement of spin-offs for established characters (typified by 'Star Wars', fan fic, and yet several more Star Trek universes) as the 'Hollywood sequel death-grip' then you will be ready for trash. Betancourt has done 'Star Trek', Greek myth, TSR universe, 'Lois & Clark', and a good chunk of original works. OTOH, from just cruising web snippets and the Wildside Press site, Betancourt is a true aficiando of classic authors of adventure and fantasy. Betancourt has plans to keep many classic titles in print from authors that influenced guys like Zelazny. I've seen new books in the stores of 50's and 60's authors that are selected by Betancourt. And now, to present the other side of this specific issue—- here are comments made by Betancourt specific to the question, "Why are you writing Amber stories?" >From alt.books.roger-zelazny: click

Filed under : Amber at 19.02.2002