Thursday, May 20, 2010

Temporal Fugue Kicks Ass!

So I was just out having a drink with my friend Robert and was explaining to him how I wanted to have something in my book that might be to others what Temporal Fugue was to me.

I first read Roger Zelazny's CREATURES OF LIGHT & DARKNESS when I was in junior high way back in 1984 and it blew me away. I think it may have been one of the first books I ever read outside of school, and I was forever trying to find another book like it. I remember I was at Treehouse Books, no longer Treehouse Toys, with my friend Lars and picked it up because of the picture of Anubis on the cover--I'd been intrigued by Egyptian mythology ever since seeing the Tales of the Gold Monkey episode Trunk from the Past (3-Nov-1982)--jeezGOD! why do I remember this and why is the Internet so accommodating?!

At any rate, Zelazny's LORD OF LIGHT is of course comparable and I had heard that Zelazny spoke highly of Steven Brust's TO REIGN IN HELL, and that said book was often compared to Zelazny's more myth-based works. Terribly, terribly disappointed in TO REIGN IN HELL. No offense to anyone, of course.

Maybe you can start to see a trend here. I really like mythology and Zelazny has several books that play with various strains. I really liked THIS IMMORTAL (or AND CALL ME CONRAD), ISLE OF THE DEAD, and A NIGHT IN THE LONESOME OCTOBER--all of them playing with myth in some way, and all of them good, but not quite as satisfying to me as CREATURES OF LIGHT & DARKNESS.

Let's change gears for a moment. I first came across JOURNEY TO THE WEST in college in the early 90s and thought, "Holy crap! This is great!" It was like pulp mythology and it was way different from what we typically grow up with in the West (ironically enough)--well, maybe you in the UK grew up with Monkey, but it the States it was as good as unknown to the general public (or am I crazy here?).

Anyway, imagine my surprise when many years later I reread both CREATURES OF LIGHT & DARKNESS and JOURNEY TO THE WEST and realize that Zelazny has not just used the Egyptian pantheon and shot it into the future, but he's also retold JOURNEY TO THE WEST! Who knew? So the Prince Who Was a Thousand is Tripitaka; Sun-eyed Set is Monkey, of course; Madrak is Pigsy (because he's fat and succumbs to his own weakness); Vramin is Sandy (because he's green--well, in many Japanese versions, Sandy is a kappa--and really quite formidable). Set's boots are a clear analog to the cloud trapeze and his star wand is the pillar that held up the milky way (was it the milky way?) that was really heavy but could expand or shrink to any size. Then, of course, there's Temporal Fugue. God I love that. It's such a cool idea. Monkey could could chew his hairs, blow on them, and cause them to change into copies of himself that would fight his enemies en masse. Set used Temporal Fugue to go back and forth through time to pick moments of himself to build an army to attack his enemies en masse. There were other ways it could be used, too, which make it about the coolest thing ever, but I think you get the idea.

This rambling post has been brought to you by draft beer.

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