When Zelazny was good, he was great. I love the way that he combined science fiction, Classical mythology, and more recent Greek folklore. I love the little vignettes about Nomikos' past, like Hassan talking about the boxing match with the Vegan, the story about him breaking the neck of the Spiderbat, etc. Zelazny had a great feel for mythologizing, as well as for the myths. Some of the metaphors are a little jarring, but this was written in the 60's, after all.
On the other hand, I don't think I've ever known a writer to lose it all so suddenly. He reminds me of Tom Watson after he just suddenly lost the ability to putt. I think it started around the time of the publication of "Eye of Cat." After then, Zelazny never really had it again, and pissed away his time writing that "Amber" drivel. Still, he probably made more money as a hack than he did when he was at the peak of his powers, which I'm glad for because he left us some great stuff.
The audiobook is great to listen to at the gym. It's the kind of stuff that really makes you push yourself. The narrator is fine, and does a particularly good Vegan.
This book isn't bad, though it's marred by factual errors (John Paul II succeeding Paul VI, for example). But the narrator is awful. Anyone who narrates a book largely about intellectual concepts ought to learn how to pronounce them. Among the atrocities were "Aesthetic Communism" and "Cell Stem Research."
This audiobook isn't worth seventeen hours of your life. Buy the book and skim through it. Then listen to something worth your while, like Roy Jenkins' Churchill biography.
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