Aphelion Review #6


By Roger Zelazny

Review by Dan L. Hollifield

Type of music/work: Novel

Musicians/Performers/Author(s):Roger Zelazny, Cover art by Darrell K. Sweet

General impressions of the album/book:
A mind-bending time-travel story with a twist!

While Zelazny may be better known for his Amber series, his other works well deserve notice too. I was re-reading his 1979 novel "Roadmarks" last week and found myself enjoying it so much that I had to review it for Aphelion. The story is basically one of growth and change for the main characters, but structured so that events that happen simultaneously are given the same chapter numbers no matter where they happen to be in the book. Thus one can read from cover to cover, or all of the chapters "One" together- then all the chapters "Two" together, etc. to get the feel of how events actually progressed.

The time-travel elements are handled in a new way- There is a road, known to only a few people, whereupon one can drive and ordinary vehicle into the past or future. Alternate histories are available as off-shoots of the road- all one needs to do is get on an exit ramp and take the turning that one wishes. Exits frequently taken become more and more real while those roads less traveled tend to become overgrown and difficult to find again. The road was built/imagined/magiced into existance by a race of dragons, some of whom appear as characters in the story. Other characters not to be missed are the Marquis de Sade, John Sunlight, Doc Savage, and a clone of a T-Rex that is being used as a weapon.

There are battles, ambushes, reunions, murders, poetry, and all matter of excitement to be found along the road. One can even pull over at a roadside inn and find a soldier from the Crusades washing the windshield and pumping gas.

The whole book is chock-ful of neat ideas, great characters, and one-liners, but don't get the idea that its done for laughs- As with Zelazny's other works, the reader quickly comes to care about the characters. The only disappointment I could find was that the book had to end.

Background info:
Roger Zelazny has written so many books that I can't keep track of them. A partial listing here would only be an insult to this fine writer. Check your local libraries and bookstores for his work. I doubt that you'll find anything you won't like.

Review Copyright 1998 by Dan L. Hollifield

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