What is it that repeatedly bring me to the end of the alphabet in science fiction section in my library?
I was originally introduced to Roger Zelazny through two friends from high school. I had been in Europe as part of a youth symphony and returned, due to a torn ligament in my left foot, heavily medicated on painkillers. I returned on my 18th birthday, which turned out to be, I believe, 30 hours long.
At the surprise party thrown by my high school girl friend and my parents, my two friends gave me the first seven books of the Amber decology. I was immediately hoked, and since it would turn out that I had four years to wait for the next three books, I needed something else to read. By the time the series was completed, I owned everything Zelazny had written up to that time.
When he passed away, I was pretty upset. This was another author whom I wanted to keep reading (Frank Herbert being the first) who wold write no more. I would feel the same way when Douglas Adams died.
But there is something about Roger Zelazny's turn of phrase. The way he experiments with writing techniques, be it in the styles of different authors, or the simple technique of starting almost every chapter in Doorways in the Sand with a flashback.
The books take me to their world, and let my mind sit in the character's head, and watch what happens.
And no one does it as consistently as Zelazny. Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman are great. Kage Baker is wonderful. But if I could only choose one author's work, it would be Roger Zelazny.