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A Night in the Lonesome October by Roger…
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A Night in the Lonesome October (1993)

by Roger Zelazny

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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» See also 27 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 44 (next | show all)
That's a lot of work to go to just to set up that one pun. ( )
  g026r | Jul 25, 2017 |
It's October--the best month of the year. Halloween (the best holiday of the year) is just around the corner. The leaves are starting to fall, and the air has a pleasant bite to it. It's time to settle down with a slice of pumpkin pie, a mug of hot apple cider, and a good book. But what to read? Perhaps you're reaching for something from Bradbury's oeuvre? Maybe The Halloween Tree or Something Wicked This Way Comes? Save those for next year, and read this instead. This is the great Halloween book that nobody talks about in the same breath as Bradbury, but in reality should be mentioned first.

A small village outside of London in the Victorian era finds itself infested by strange characters. Sherlock Holmes and Watson, Dracula, Jack the Ripper, Doctor Frankenstein, etc. None of them are explicitly labeled (Holmes is 'the great detective' and Frankenstein is 'the good doctor'). Much more obscure references exist alongside the obvious ones. They are all part of "The Game"--a mysterious task in which they are all involved, some on one side, some on the other. All the players have sentient animal familiars. Jack's familiar, a large watchdog named Snuff, is our viewpoint character for the entirety of the novel. He helps his master carry out his occult duties while also roaming the neighborhood and trading information and favors with the other animal familiars in the area to try and figure out who all the players are and what side they're on.

The best thing about this book is how it withholds information. All the characters know what's going on, and what 'the game' is, because most of them have done it before. They're not going to go over the particulars just for the sake of the reader. You have to be patient and wait for the answer, all the while forming your own theories with what little information you do have. It's a very rewarding experience, and one that could have simply been frustrating and boring if done poorly. Luckily the moment to moment action, the dialogue, the atmosphere, and the prose are all good enough to carry you through, even though you can't possibly know what's going on until maybe halfway through.

I can't recommend this enough. It's definitely a book I'll be reading every year for Halloween. ( )
  ForeverMasterless | Apr 23, 2017 |
I think I need to read it again. It was a bit obscure. ( )
  moonlight_reads | Dec 11, 2016 |
I'd heard that this was one of Zelazny's finest works, a sort of last hurrah after a decade and a half of mediocrity (Zelazny died shortly afterwards). Well, it's good, but hardly the sendoff I was expecting.

First off, the good points: the idea is a wonderful one. Jack the Ripper, along with a host of characters from horror flicks(Frankenstein, the Wolfman etc) engage in a sort of macabre scavenger hunt in the month of October, the goal of which is to prepare for a ritual at the end of the month that will either summon or repel the elder gods of Lovecraft's mythos to/from this world, resulting in either total chaos, or a suspension of chaos till the next go round (in several hundred years). Oh, and the whole crazy mess is narrated by Jack the Ripper's wisecracking dog, Snuff.

Wild, inventive and downright cool. Typical Zelazny.

Writing style is typical Zelazny too. Bare bones, sharp sentences. Hard-boiled narrative style interspersed with bursts of Zen-like prose. Sort of Basho meets Dashiell Hammett. It's a little too bare bones in places; I found myself skim reading on occasion, and having to go back to take in what had happened. Nonetheless, it's a very quick read.

Bad points? Well, nothing really made much impression on me. The Lovecraftian elements felt tacked on, and there was never any real sense of danger hanging over the whole thing. It all just felt like a jolly jape.

Fun, but lightweight. Zelazny's done much better.



( )
  StuartNorth | Nov 19, 2016 |
I'd heard that this was one of Zelazny's finest works, a sort of last hurrah after a decade and a half of mediocrity (Zelazny died shortly afterwards). Well, it's good, but hardly the sendoff I was expecting.

First off, the good points: the idea is a wonderful one. Jack the Ripper, along with a host of characters from horror flicks(Frankenstein, the Wolfman etc) engage in a sort of macabre scavenger hunt in the month of October, the goal of which is to prepare for a ritual at the end of the month that will either summon or repel the elder gods of Lovecraft's mythos to/from this world, resulting in either total chaos, or a suspension of chaos till the next go round (in several hundred years). Oh, and the whole crazy mess is narrated by Jack the Ripper's wisecracking dog, Snuff.

Wild, inventive and downright cool. Typical Zelazny.

Writing style is typical Zelazny too. Bare bones, sharp sentences. Hard-boiled narrative style interspersed with bursts of Zen-like prose. Sort of Basho meets Dashiell Hammett. It's a little too bare bones in places; I found myself skim reading on occasion, and having to go back to take in what had happened. Nonetheless, it's a very quick read.

Bad points? Well, nothing really made much impression on me. The Lovecraftian elements felt tacked on, and there was never any real sense of danger hanging over the whole thing. It all just felt like a jolly jape.

Fun, but lightweight. Zelazny's done much better.



( )
  StuartNorth | Nov 19, 2016 |
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» Add other authors (5 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Roger Zelaznyprimary authorall editionscalculated
Posen, MikeCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Warhola, jamesCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Wilson, GahanIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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