The Great Book of Amber - Roger Zelazny We’re all shadows in Zelazny’s world. Reflections of the one true world, Amber. Infinite in number and possibility. And the children of Oberon are the gods. Some duty-bound, some languid, but all mostly petty.

Zelazny creates an epic mix of paganistic pantheons and Milton’s Paradise Lost. The Amberites bicker and plot in Ovid-worthy tales. Their familial infighting is something out of Greek, Roman and Norse myth. Then throw in the allusions to Chaos as a Hell, Amber as Heaven, Earth as a favored Shadow and you’ve successfully, and unnecessarily, overanalyzed a fantastic fantasy tale.

The first five books, commonly called the Corwin cycle, are unquestionably the best. The second set of five, the Merlin cycle, expands the foundation of the Amber universe to the point where it begins to totter. Zelazny is maybe too zealous in expanding the myth behind the workings of the Pattern and Logrus. Kind of like how we were all happy with the mystery of the Force until Lucas used midi-chlorians to sciencefuck a perfectly good faith. Anyway, Zelazny’s imagination gets unbridled as the books progress and the ride becomes increasingly bumpy.

For the diehard fans, the book inspired the 1991 classic diceless RPG Amber. A game I obsessed over for a couple of years. Apparently the rights to the game have been tied up for several years so nothing has really developed on that front. However, a recent Kickstarter by the same makers of the original developed another diceless Amber spin-off called Lords of Gossamer and Shadow. Check it out and if anyone is interested in trying it out, let me know.