The Dream Café

Steven Brust: “A masterful storyteller of contagious glee and self-deprecating badassery” —Skyler White

Roger and Me

| 27 Comments

I’ve created a new category called “squee” just for this post.

I received an email from my friend Moshe Feder concerning the work of a friend of his named Ted Krulik.  Ted is, apparently, as big a Zelazny fan as I am but more ambitious, and interviewed Roger many times over the years.  He is hoping to publish this collection of interviews, and, needless to say, I really really hope this happens.  More Roger = better world.

One section of the interviews concerned, ahem, me.  It took place at Necronomicon, Tampa, Florida, 1985, and this is the section Moshe was kind enough to send me, and which Mr. Krulik was kind enough to give me permission to post here.   With my thanks to them both, I now reproduce it without further comment.

 

                                      “Helping a Young Writer in Hell”

Steven Brust was just starting out, and his publisher sent me his novel Jhereg just to read and see if I cared to give them a publication quote to promote the book.  Along with Jhereg, they included his second book, Yendi.  I read them both and liked them.

When Brust heard I’d commented on Jhereg, he dropped me a line thanking me.  Then he sent me a copy of the manuscript of his latest novel, To Reign in Hell.  He wrote, “Ace purchased this one but, in the meantime, it’s going into a limited edition by a local outfit called Steel Dragon Press.  Ace felt that it was all right to use the quote you had given for Jhereg, but I don’t feel quite right about it.  If you have time to read To Reign in Hell, I’d appreciate your taking a look.  This is an extra copy.  You can throw it away.  If you don’t have the time, I’ll understand.”

So I took a look at the first few pages and got into it.  Instead of giving them a comment, I liked this stuff so much I decided to write something at greater length and help the guy out.  I wrote the introduction that was included in To Reign in Hell completely unsolicited.  I’d never done that before, but I was particularly taken by his writing.

Most writers have only one strong point, but Brust has several.  I like his dialogue and descriptions.  He has a sense of humor that is similar to my own.   It’s true that someone who might appeal to me most is a writer who sounds like me.

In fact, he called me up the other day.  He works with computers, and he said he’s quitting his job.  He’s leaving in a couple of weeks to write full time.  I hope he makes it.

skzb

Author: skzb

I play the drum.

27 Comments

  1. Okay, I admit, that brought the tears. Now to find my copy of TRiH and read through it again.

  2. What a wonderful gift to get out of nowhere. Add me to the list of people who want the interviews published.

  3. Wildly cool! I would read that compilation. Not meeting Zelazny has always been a regret of mine.

  4. Now I want to quit my job and write full time. I guess I should try finishing one of the 27,985,986,896 stories I’ve started first tho.

  5. ​”Most writers have only one strong point, but Brust has several. I like his dialogue and descriptions. He has a sense of humor that is similar to my own. It’s true that someone who might appeal to me most is a writer who sounds like me.”

    !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    That is my summer’s allotment of exclamation points. I can’t say fairer than that.

    Pamela

  6. skzb

    Pamela: No, no you can’t. *grin*

  7. Good taste on your part and Roger Z.’s.

  8. One of my most treasured book is my copy of Reign in Hell that both of you signed over lunch

  9. I bought Jhereg when it was first published, and I no foolin’ bought it mostly because of the Zelazny blurb. Because I loved Zelazny and I figured anything he liked must be good even if the plot summary on the jacket was only mildly intriguing. Bought every other damn book of yours the moment it hit the stores. If it hadn’t been for that one quote, I may never have discovered you. So Zelazny gets to props in my book, one for what he wrote, and one for what he led me to.

  10. Squeeeeee!!!!!!!

  11. Nice background on how Zelazny came to write both the cover blurbs and the introduction For To Reign in Hell. Those few words he shared played a big part in my buying those first couple books way back in the early ’80’s.

    Thanks for sharing!

  12. The only other book I remember buying based upon a cover blurb (also by Zelazny) was Sheri Tepper’s first book King’s Blood Four.

    Very good! It moves with all the precision of a chess game with fate –Roger Zelazny.

  13. Great story! I understand Jim Freund has a 3 hour interview with Zelazny on tape somewhere deep in his archive but has been unable to find time to excavate it. Maybe if more people harass him about it he’ll make the effort….

  14. SQUEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  15. Squee indeed!!!

  16. When I read TRiH at age 16, I had never heard of Roger Zelazny. But, I thought Roger Zelazny was a really cool name and his pro-skzb quotes were quite catchy.

    Now, roughly half a lifetime later, I have read and greatly enjoyed some of Z’s output and virtually all of skzb’s. I am glad I ventured down the path.

  17. Ah, pretty much a straight set of ditto marks to what Steven B wrote. I became a Zelazny addict when my parents gave me a subscription to Galaxy magazine for XMas and Zelazny’s Sign of the Unicorn was in the first issue. Picked up Jhereg based on Zelazny’s recommendation. Nice to have someone continuing to carry the torch.

  18. skzb

    Rich: That’s pretty cool. I remember buying that issue of Galaxy. Bringing back memories. 🙂

  19. I read Zelanzy for the first time last year after reading something about him here (don’t recall what.) He’s a pretty good writer, almost as good as Brust 🙂

  20. Who is this Roger Zelazny you speak of?

    *ow *ow *ow ok stop throwing things…

  21. This, sir, constitutes the veriest sooth of squee!

  22. I’m sure this is highly shameful self-promotion, but for those of you interested in reading more of “A Few Words from Roger Zelazny,” check out my blog on tor.com. Oh, and Steven: Thank you so much for your interest and support. — Ted Krulik

  23. skzb

    YAY! Going now!

  24. That’s so cool, Steven. It must have felt really good. I take it Zelazny was something of a hero to you? You write about him a lot.

    I have a personal question that you’re under no obligation to answer (obviously). If you don’t, I’ll totally understand. Here goes – were you afraid to quit your job? I’ve read about writers doing this from time to time. Sometimes it works for them, and sometimes it goes horribly wrong. What was it like when you quit? Was it hard?

  25. skzb

    Yes. Terrified. But I kinda had no choice. I’d reached the point where all I wanted to do at work was write, so I wasn’t getting any work done, which frustrated me so much I couldn’t get any writing done.

  26. You took the road less traveled . . . and that has made all the difference.

  27. “I’d reached the point where all I wanted to do at work was write, so I wasn’t getting any work done, which frustrated me so much I couldn’t get any writing done.”

    Man – I totally get it. Thanks for your response.

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