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The Doors of His Face, the Lamps of His Mouth and Other Stories Paperback – June, 1974

4.5 out of 5 stars 18 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

The Doors of His Face, the Lamps of His Mouth, a new edition of multiple Nebula and Hugo award winner Roger Zelazny's (Chronicles of Amber series) acclaimed short fiction, features the title story, "A Rose for Ecclesiastes," "Divine Madness" and 14 others, including some not in the original collection. In "Devil Car," a man and his highly armed, artificially intelligent car track the black Cadillac that killed his brother; in "The Great Slow Kings," two quarrelsome subterranean rulers try to keep up with evolving humankind, which annihilates itself with atomic weapons before the kings issue even one proclamation.
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

About the Author

Roger Zelazny (1937-1995) studied Elizabethan and Jacobean drama at Columbia University before bursting on to the science fiction scene while still in his mid-twenties. Among his many books are Four for Tomorrow, The Dream Master, A Rose for Ecclesiastes and the many titles in the Chronicle of Amber. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 252 pages
  • Publisher: Avon Books (Mm) (June 1974)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0380011468
  • ISBN-13: 978-0380011469
  • Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 5.5 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,957,802 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
From his career's inception, Zelazny had a distinctive style: fast, poetic, allusive and dense sometimes to the point of being a trifle obscure. Characterization was one of his strengths. He also had a deft way with mythological reference: he wove it into his stories, either symbolically (e.g., in "He Who Shapes") or by science fictional means, as in his novel _This Immortal_. Early and late, the story rather than the novel seems to have been his true metier.

In this collection of early stories, we see a nice harvest from the first 5 years of Zelazny's career. A goodly number of the best stories he wrote between 1962 and 1968 are included.

The whole book makes for pleasant reading, but I'd single out the following stories as being particularly worthy: "The Man Who Loved the Faoli," "This Mortal Mountain," and "This Moment of the Storm," the classic "A Rose for Ecclesiastes," and of course, the title story.

One of the mild peculiarities of Zelazny's collections is that stories he wrote at the beginning of his career are spread across a number of books, where they may in many cases be found side-by-side with later work. A reader wishing to explore his early short stories can't go to a single book.

The early stories span 4 collections: this book, and _Four for Tomorrow_, _The Last Defender of Camelot_, and at least one story ("But Not the Herald") in the book _Unicorn Variations_. A reader taken with Zelazny's early work should search out these collections for that reason alone.

(Note that a number of later stories are also worthy.)

Of the early work excluded from this volume, I'd single out "He Who Shapes," "The Graveyard Heart," "The Furies," and "For a Breath I Tarry" as the stories worth a look.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
"The Doors of His Face, the Lamps of His Mouth," by Roger Zelazny, is a collection of 17 science fiction tales that range in length from two to 88 pages. Altogether the collection is over 500 pages long. Some of the most striking selections in the book are as follows.

"The Keys to December": A group of bioengineered intelligent beings seek to re-shape a planet in order to suit their unique needs, but the massive project has some unintended--and ethically challenging--consequences. "Devil Car": In a future where cars have artificial intelligence, a human and his heavily armored vehicle embark on a mission to hunt down a killer rogue car. "This Moment of the Storm" takes place in a human colony on the planet Tierra del Cygnus, a world of monstrous beasts and dangerous weather. This story's main character is almost 600 years old, but has spent most of his life "sleeping" during long interstellar space voyages. In the quirky "A Museum Piece," an unappreciated artist decides to live in a museum, posing as a statue--thus becoming a living work of art. "Divine Madness" is a stunning tale about a man suffering from a condition in which time seems to be moving backwards. And the book's title story tells of a quest to catch a gigantic sea monster on the planet Venus.

Zelazny has crafted some remarkable gems in this collection. These stories, while clearly in the great tradition of science fiction, often have the flavors of myth, fantasy, and folklore. Zelazny's prose is truly a sumptuous banquet; his style is extremely literate and learned, with a crisp, clean elegance. He weaves many cultural references into his writing; along the way he cites Dante, "Aida," Dylan Thomas, Miniver Cheevy, the Iliad, Poe, Havelock Ellis, Vishnu, Rimbaud, and more.
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Format: Paperback
This is a collection of "classic" short stories from the 60s, when Zelazny possesed that ability to dazzle the entire sf-world (I wasn't around then, but that's what they say). It is a wonderful book, and I know I will return to it more than once before I die.
The great thing about Zelazny is, he had both an extremely vivid imagination and was enough of a good stylist to make his visions credible. Though the stories take place in different times, on planets far away, both beautiful and strange, the surroundings seem just as natural as any other place here on Earth. The main character - not seldom of the type the-tragic-and-lonesome-hero - frequently talks in a street-wise, realistic way, so that you never feel alienated to the strange surrounding he is moving through. (Exept when the "hero" feels alienated too, which, when I come to think of it, is most of the time. Still, that is not the point - the point is that though perhaps alienated, you feel like your there.)
But anyway - since you see the world through the eyes of the main character, coloured by his mood and his problems, the stories revolves mainly around the human mind, and deals with problems that might just as well be observed in the people next door. There's a beautiful example of this human-centered way of storytelling from the book: The story "Divine Madness", where a man suddenly discovers that his perception of time for no explicable reason has changed, and time is moving bakwards. Instead of trying to figure out the science of this phenomenon, like any other sf-author, Zelazny concentrates on how the man painfully watches yesterday come closer, fearing the moment he has to relive his last, fatal quarell with his partner.
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