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Roadmarks by Roger Zelazny
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Roadmarks (1979)

by Roger Zelazny

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935914,415 (3.62)15
"A mindbender of a book, and a treat for Zelazny fans."--ALA BOOKLIST. The Road runs from the unimaginable past to the far future, and those who travel it have access to the turnoffs leading to all times and places-even to the alternate time-streams of histories that never happened. Why the Dragons of Bel'kwinith made the Road--or who they are--no one knows. But the Road has always been there and for those who know how to find it, it always will be!… (more)
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» See also 15 mentions

English (8)  Spanish (1)  All languages (9)
Showing 1-5 of 8 (next | show all)
Very enjoyable time travel tale with hitmen, humour, and some very cool characters. ( )
  nadineeg | Dec 31, 2018 |
(Original Review, 1980)

I am confused, perhaps someone can explain this apparent error to me: (See pg 147 (Del Rey edition)): Randy and Leila are talking at a bar with "Leaves of Grass" (the book/microprocessor) on the table. However, Zelazny appears to get confused and bring "Flowers of Evil" (the other book/mp in the story) into the scene from out of nowhere and then it just as mysteriously leaves the scene; "Flowers said..." Am I confused or is Zelazny? “Roadmarks” is a pretty confusing book and so I can easily imagine having missed a scene someplace.

Roger Zelazny's recent novel "Roadmarks" is a somewhat retread of "Nine Princes in Amber". Here again we have a Road of Mystery that only a few can travel. This time it leads forward and backward in time rather than to alternate universes. We have a hero who longs to return to a place that he cannot remember, and we have random people trying to kill him. The difference is that "Nine Princes In Amber" did eventually supply motives and answers to its characters and "Roadmarks" does not. No reason is ever given for the hero's old friend to try to kill him or to stop trying to kill him once they meet up. No explanation is ever given of what the hero is doing trundling up and down the Road, and even he doesn't seem to know. At first you think that he's trying to recreate the circumstances that lead to America, since he dresses like a truck driver and keeps trying to smuggle guns to the Greeks so they can win at Marathon, but later you find that the Road runs right past Cleveland. Sure, maybe he'll tie it all together in a later book, but that's no excuse for making the first installment as incomplete as this. I also thought that "The Changeling", his last book, was a skimpy piece of work (though it didn't help that it was only a novella padded out with illustrations), so maybe Zelazny's mind just isn't in it any more.

I can also look at it through a different perspective. Although somewhat related to the Amber series, the style of writing is very different. In Amber, Zelazny described everything, presented everything, left very little to the imagination. This makes the books seem very rich but is ultimately disastrous. By the third book or so, the setting completely overwhelms any character development or plot, everything gets terribly involved, and when the series finally ends it's a sort of euthanasia. The Amber series is incredibly topheavy. In “Roadmarks”, on the other hand, Zelazny seems to be reacting to the sort of writing mess he got himself into in Amber. Oh sure, there's a Road, and travellers on it, and so forth, but the style has become much more spare. Zelazny is leaving much more to the imagination. He doesn't tell what it is that the protagonist is seeking: the important thing is that he's seeking something. By leaving out the background it becomes possible to tell a story comparable to Amber in one book instead of half a dozen. It doesn't work all that well, overall, but it's occasionally brilliant. The Amber series is better than “Roadmarks”, but “Roadmarks” is better than the nth member of the Amber series.

[2018 EDIT: This review was written at the time as I was running my own personal BBS server. Much of the language of this and other reviews written in 1980 reflect a very particular kind of language: what I call now in retrospect a “BBS language”.] ( )
  antao | Oct 27, 2018 |
This seems to me that RZ has taken a side-trip into R.A. Lafferty country for this one. A time travel story, sort-of, that begins as a revenge Western and doesn't go farther, really. ( )
  DinadansFriend | Dec 4, 2013 |
I found Roadmarks to be one of Zelazny's least-interesting books; the whole premise was unclear enough (as were the main character's motivations) that I read it, and - unlike so many other Zelazny books - never picked it up again.

Not his best. ( )
  TCWriter | Mar 31, 2013 |
This out of print Zelazny novel is a little jade gem!

I have not read yet Baudelaire or Whitman, though I have been eying "Flowers of Evil" for some time now. I will enjoy it all the more because of the cybernetic Flowers.

I loved almost everything about this book—the cigar and pipe smoking, the way the chapters fell under either a One or Two, the travel upon the road of time, the memorable characters, the famous "guest characters" (Hitler, de Sade, Doc Savage, an ancient Sumerian, a crusader), the idea of a black decade and the ensuing flavorful assassins... The only things that I did not care for too much were Reyd's son Randy—in his quest for his daddy, and the ending of the book. It felt rushed and not thought out very well compared to the rest of the novel.

I was fascinated to learn that Zelazny had shuffled the "Two" chapters and inserted them randomly in the "One" chapters, even if the publisher had him later sort out a couple.

I certainly will be looking forward to reading more Roger Zelazny in the future. ( )
1 vote endersreads | Aug 18, 2010 |
Showing 1-5 of 8 (next | show all)
De tijd is een autosnelweg, compleet met afritten en motels, waarop een vrijbuiter Dorakeen eeuwig op weg is. Een oude makker hangt gevaar boven het hoofd, maar pas op het allerlaatst blijkt de onafwendbare dood een overgang naar een andere bestaansvorm te betekenen. Een prachtige bizarre omgeving, prima uitgewerkt, een complexe intrige met verrassende wendingen, veel plezierige intrigerende karakters... een van de betere amusementsromans van Zelazny in het vreemde SF-idioom.

(NBD|Biblion recensie, Annemarie Kindt)
added by karnoefel | editNBD / Biblion
 

» Add other authors (6 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Roger Zelaznyprimary authorall editionscalculated
Sweet,Darrell K.Cover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
White, TimCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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To Ron Bounds, Bobbie Armbruster, Gary & Uschi Klüpfel, with happy memories of Oktoberfest
First words
"Pull over!" cried Leila.
Quotations
Frazier combed his hair with his fingers, patted it into place, leaned over to glance at himself in the rear view mirror, sighed. “ I haven’t run the Road that much myself. Mainly between Cleveland in the 1950’s and Cleveland in the 1980’s.” “What do you do?” “Tend bar, mostly. Also I buy stuff in the fifties and sell it in the eighties.” “Makes sense.” “Makes money too. –you ever have trouble with hijackers?” “None to speak of.” You must have some really fancy armaments on this thing.” “Nothing special.” “I’d think you’d need them.” “Shows how wrong you can be.” “What do you do if you’re suddenly up against it?” Red relit his cigar. “Maybe die,” he replied.
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