NOTE: The Collected Stories of Roger Zelazny, Volume 2: Power & Light was a free review copy provided to Luke Reviews by NESFA Press.
I was rather blown away with the first volume of NESFA Press’ six-volume reprint of the short works of Roger Zelazny. So when volume two appeared in the mail, I couldn’t wait to dive in. The second volume opens with introductions from Kristine Kathryn Rusch and Walter Jon Williams. As with the last volume, a large number of poems are interspersed in the collection, which work both as nice interstitial pieces, as well as strong works in their own right.
Major stories in this collection include “Lucifer,” along with the less well known but in my mind equally powerful “The Salvation of Faust,” “Passage to Dilfar,” the first Dilvish story, along with three others in that series, “Devil Car,” the first of the Jenny/Murdoch stories, “The Keys to December,” and “Auto-Da-Fé.”
Also included is the entire text of …And Call Me Conrad in its original magazine format, as serialized in The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction. The inclusion of this short novel is a unique opportunity to see the original version of the story, before it was expanded into the stand-alone novel version retitled This Immortal, which had a substantial amount of text added. Between the two parts of the novel is included the synopsis of part one written by Zelazny to proceed part two in the magazine publication, and which Zelazny turned into a bit of storytelling in its own right, letting his character give the synopsis, and adding more character building to it.
An essay and two speeches round out Zelazny’s part of the collection, while the collection as a whole is wrapped up with the second part of Christopher S. Kovacs’ “‘…And Call Me Roger’: The Literary Life of Roger Zelazny.”
Power & Light proves to be every bit as powerful as Threshold, if not more so. Traded in are the stories of Zelazny’s early beginnings, which are intriguing from a history of the genre standpoint, and in their place are stories from the period when Zelazny really began to hit his stride, turning out brilliant stories left and right. From just a story standpoint, this is by far the stronger of the two collections. …And Call Me Conrad is worth the admission price alone, but it stands with 28 other stories, which makes this volume a true value. Any fan of the genre needs to grab this book.