Talk:Roger Zelazny

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This is the talk page for discussing improvements to the Roger Zelazny page.

dispute on 2 images + comment[edit]

File:Collision d'une comète.jpg
My favorite form is the short story. From an aesthetics stand point you really have to pare down to the bone. You can't write a throw-away scene.
My favorite form is the short story. From an aesthetics stand point you really have to pare down to the bone. You can't write a throw-away scene.
It is no shame to lose to me, mortal. Even among mythical creatures there are very few who can give a unicorn a good game.
It is no shame to lose to me, mortal. Even among mythical creatures there are very few who can give a unicorn a good game.

I just did some reverting and corrective revisions to this page, and here is a summary of what was done and some of my reasons for doing them; I have included the images most recently changed on this page for reference.

One of the most important things I did was to arrange the quotes and sections chronologically, as is standard practice on our pages here. That disrupted some of the previous sequence of images and captions slightly, with the exception of the topmost one. I encourage people to be bold but also considerate in their editing of pages, and since I have just completed a few corrections as well as boldly reverted a one bold change, and as this is the second time I have done that, I feel more extensive elaborations as to my reasoning on some of the images used are in order.

At present, since there are no free images of Zelazny yet available to us, the first image on the page is striking one of Iustitia, Lady Justice, which I had added, used with the quote "The universe did not invent justice. Man did. Unfortunately, man must reside in the universe." It proceeds from that point to an image chosen by Supervidin, and the image of a flowering tree in spring which was selected to illustrate a quote about spring is a very good and well chosen one, and I have no objections at all to that. It then goes to an image full of mythological figures which I had chosen, in relation to the quote "Yeah, the mythology is kind of a pattern. I'm very taken by mythology."

In the original sequence I created, it then proceeds to the a dramatic image and the quote: "My favorite form is the short story. From an aesthetics stand point you really have to pare down to the bone. You can't write a throw-away scene." I think the image of a major planetary collision in this regard is not a throwaway scene, merely because it is clearly an alarming one.

Pleasant and comforting images, such as that of the protoplanetary disk which Supervidin seems to prefer in this case, are certainly nothing I object to; I too much like to use them in most cases, but in this one I believe the more dramatic image cometary or asteroidal impact is appropriate and the best to use.

I again reverted to the image I originally selected for the quote-caption combo. It might not be as "nice" an image, but it is much more to the point in regard to a "short story" rather than a long one, as well as much more to the point of some things I believe it is truly important to at least occasionally emphasize, even if they are not always "nice." This is even more relevant in regard to the portion of the quote not used in the caption: "Now will you tell me what you were talking about concerning the destruction of my species?"

I am usually rather reserved in making assertions, and find it is usually best to be very tactful as well as very honest when doing so, but when there are clear conflicts to being one or the other, I will very usually prefer to dispense with tact and stick to honesty, especially in regards to matters where I perceive it to be of vital importance to be truthful.

I am one of those people who don't want to see whatever spirit of life we might manifest have to wait around for the next protoplanetary disks to be formed to proceed with the story of life in our regions of the universe, because too many specimens of humanity are inclined to continue to ignore or disregard many real dangers which continue to exist, squabble over matters which of themselves don't much matter at all in the long run, and create all manner of dangers for themselves and others by ignoring many things which ultimately do matter immensely. I do believe that it is very important for humankind to develop its capacities to get off of this planet, and to either avert such catastrophes as are depicted in that image, or at the very least, have taken measures to insure that humanity and many other species would survive them.

I am not above saying that there is perhaps some form of cosmic justice to be worried about, if we continue to ignore some real, though apparently rare dangers because it is more comfortable to stick to only "nice pleasant imagery" or immediate problems, or only such thoughts which are not in any way disturbing, alarming or challenging to our minds or our desire to remain at ease.

In regard to the other image, though I personally would prefer a unicorn image be used in quoting a unicorn, I don't have as strong a feeling about that one, and this time I left it as it was. I believed Supervidin's original use of a Unicorn picture was better than the use of chess pieces with the quote "It is no shame to lose to me, mortal. Even among mythical creatures there are very few who can give a unicorn a good game." I had earlier changed it to a representation of the "Invisible Pink Unicorn" which is an image I think very humorous on many levels, in regard to the specific quote about mythical creatures and unicorns, the various contests that continually occur between various mystical and materialistic mythologies which fill the minds of many, as well as the general flow of assertions in the captions of the images on the page.

On a matter in some ways more immediately significant, I would assert that the recent additions of quotes and images to all the Zelazny pages have been for the most part welcome, but one of the "quotes" added to this article was, "I also like to use the mystery plot. I feel that there is an elegance to having a puzzle overlaid on a fantasy or a SF novel" which did not appear in the form quoted in the link provided.

I traced down what I could find out of the authorship and date of the report, through various sources, but never found the actual "quote" in question anywhere, and in the poorly cited source, the author was clearly simply describing Zelazny's ideas, summarizing an interview and perhaps paraphrasing many of his expressions, but though many quotes of ancient authors and quotes from other languages can and must depend on translations and paraphrasing, in regard to a modern author in the English language, a further paraphrase of a possible paraphrase does not make a legitimate "quote." I removed the faux quote and used the quote from the report from which it seems to have been derived in the "Quotes about" section, and also added a bit more of the original statement for context, thus:

  • Zelazny likes to develop different systems of magic, but his emphasis is on systems. He feels the magic should be worked out and contain no contradictions. It should run more like science and not be too supernatural in which anything goes. That route leads to magic being a crutch to move the plot along. He also likes to use the mystery plot. He feels that there is an elegance to having a puzzle overlaid on a fantasy or SF novel. The mystery helps build the mythic elements in fantasy, but is also akin to the process of discovery in science.

Other than the few objections I have briefly made here, I am delighted to see some work being done on the Zelazny pages, and wish to encourage them to continue. ~ Kalki 18:13, 11 October 2009 (UTC)

The sequence of images used has now already changed slightly, as I had not taken the time to re-arrange them after creating a new section for an interview, but now have done so. The 2 sets of images mentioned above remain the only ones there have been contentions about. ~ Kalki 19:00, 11 October 2009 (UTC)

Hello, Kalki. In defence of my use of the chess knight/unicorn combo, I felt that the image depicting the more "traditional" idyllic white horse on a green field, while beautiful, would not do justice to Zelazny's original quote from that story, mainly because the chess-playing unicorn from Unicorn Variation (Tlingel) is clearly an atypical beast, drinking beer and telling jokes. This is even specifically noted in the story by the main character Martin. Also, Tlinel is a black unicorn, drawing further parallels to chess and making the image you suggest even more imprecise. However, I did find the picture too good not to use, and it has been added to Sign of the Unicorn article where, I believe you'll agree it is much more appropriate.

Regarding the quote about the mystery/SF, I agree with you completely. The 'interview' it was cited from, seemed very sure it was paraphrasing the real Roger Zelazny (and actually, factually is correct as well) but yes, he didn't specifically state it in the text so I don't object to it being removed.

Now to the protoplanetary ring/crash of the comet thing. To be perfectly honest, my reasons for changing the latter to the former were purely aesthetic ones as I don't see a connection between short stories and celestial objects at all. I simply like the picture of a protoplanetary disc better. And I feel quite strongly about it. But it's not just that. A proto-planetary disc does show (for me at least) something forming and thus nicely illustrates the process of the forming of ideas. A short story might be short, but it can contain the vastness of planets, as it were. That was the idea. The image you suggested seemed random and without allusions, hinting only to the fact that Zelazny wrote SF and trying to tie that with images of space. A picture of a galaxy forming above a quote about the nescessity of precision is much more accurate, in my opinion. But I am open to discussion. ~ Supervidin

I really think the image File:Collision d'une comète.jpg is one that is quite perfect for this quote, because the image itself clearly indicates very succinctly a very short story of eminent destruction to a planetary body, with significant allusions to far larger issues, as the best short stories have (or long ones for that matter), whereas I don't see much that is short about the potential tale of a protoplanetary disk in the earliest stages of planetary accretion. As I stated I don't really object strongly to the chess pieces rather than a unicorn, but I strongly believe the impact image has far more impact and relevance to the quote on short stories. ~ Kalki 19:21, 11 October 2009 (UTC)

Perhaps we can find a third image that features a collision, but is... ah, slightly better looking?

I know of at least one or two other images of collisions, but none that I believe are "better looking" than this. I actually think it is quite good looking, both colorful and dramatic. I haven't reverted to using it as yet, after your latest edit, but I do strongly believe it to be the best image for the quote which I am aware of. I must be leaving now, for at least an hour, and probably longer, so I will pause my part of the discussion here. ~ Kalki 19:37, 11 October 2009 (UTC)

Restoration of some images, text and arrangement[edit]

My favorite form is the short story. From an aesthetics stand point you really have to pare down to the bone. You can't write a throw-away scene.

This is an impressive depiction of Epsilon Eridani, but hardly signifies a short story as well as a very clear view of a massive asteroidal or cometary collision with a planet. ~ Kalki

On most pages where images are used there is usually one quote (and far more rarely, two or three — especially where there is a long table of contents) which are selected as particularly expressive of important points made by the author which are placed at the top of the page, followed by images with captions for the others, usually in sequential order from that point on, and preferably so placed as to appear in the general vicinity of where the quotes used in the caption occur.

At the top of the page, I had originally placed an image of Lady Justice with sword drawn as a rather striking image to go with a rather striking quote,and have moved that back there, and again restored the asteroid strike image, as a far better image to use with the "short story" quote.

You state that you protest my reversion to the image I originally chose on aesthetic grounds — so must I protest your insistence on images of protoplanetary disks — I truly cannot see how the images of these can be said to relate in any way to short stories — they might be interesting and intriguing images in many ways, with many proper places for their use, but they are the very seeds of long stories, not short ones. The collision image is itself quite clearly indicative of a very short telling of a story — a very dramatic and clear story of some kind of doom, prepared for or not, and told through images and not words.

Images of the potential of cosmic dust to slowly evolve into planets does not have quite the same dramatic impact as a sudden and violent transition of much of a world into dust, which I believe are quite appropriately not a throw-away scene of a very short story. I know that I might well be wrong, but I also do not feel it at all likely that there is any calm tranquil image, no matter how aesthetically beautiful which is going to have the same relevance to a "short story" as that rather dramatic image, and once again have reverted it.

I also restored the TIme-related image you removed, which you state you removed because Zelazny's merely quoting Silverberg, because Zelazny doesn't indicate he is actually quoting him, but seems to be summarizing his advice, though I don't feel as strongly on that restoration as I do upon the other.

I also noticed that you had removed a quote which I had extended beyond the quote you had originally added. I feel the quote is entirely appropriate to the page, and have restored it. ~ Kalki 14:44, 25 October 2009 (UTC)

Hello, Kalki. The second image I selected beneath the short story quote is not a protoplanetary disc, (the fist one was, yes) but an image of a explosion/collision in space, much like the one you selected, so I thought you would be quite happy with it. ~ Supervidin

I very much do like the image you selected, and believe it can be very appropriate to any number of quotes elsewhere, and might use it sometime, perhaps even on this page, but do not feel it at all appropriate to that particular quote. After examining it again and realizing it might not technically be depicting a protoplanetary system, it is yet a depiction of belts of dust and debris around a rather young star Epsilon Eridani, and as such a depiction, it is beautiful, but hardly anything that visually can be said to clearly make a long story short, such as the clear collision picture does.

I also once again restored some quotes you removed, after you had initially added part of at least one of them, and extended and sourced another quote you recently added without a source, during the period of those removals. I believe these quotes are sufficiently notable to merit inclusion among the general comments about Zelazny.

If you seriously continue to prefer your choices in regard to the image, you could take the matter to the village pump as an issue that cannot be decided because of the rather firm views of both parties, and have the matter decided by a vote by others on the project. ~ Kalki 10:55, 29 October 2009 (UTC)

The quote you added without source I could only find published as a blurb:

Zelazny, telling of gods and wizards, uses magical words as if he himself were a wizard. He reaches Into the subconscious and invokes archetypes to make the hair rise on the back of your neck. Yet these archetypes are transmuted into a science fictional world that is as believable — and as awe-inspiring — as the world you now live in.
Philip José Farmer, in a promotional blurb for The Last Defender of Camelot‎ (1980) by Roger Zelazny

If you know of any incident where this might appear in an essay or introduction, as these often do, please provide it. ~ Kalki 10:58, 29 October 2009 (UTC)

I also just realized that you might have been assuming that the comet depicted in the image was one that was set for some kind of massive collision, perhaps with the star, but that is not clearly the case, as the direction of any comet's tail, when they develop, always radiates away from the source of stellar radiation. ~ Kalki 11:04, 29 October 2009 (UTC)

monumental imagery[edit]

I wasn’t disappointed, inasmuch as I expected nothing.
The absence of a monument can, in its own way, be something of a monument also.

There has been some rearrangement around this image lately, with these two captions switched. Though there might be some strained rationale for either layout I reverted to this arrangement as far more appropriate in relation to having an image of a absent monument with a quote about abscence of monuments and a lack of expectation leading to a lack of disappointment in relation to a complexly ambiguous image. I consider the tragically destroyed monument of the Buddha as a monument to folly which the enlightened yet can transcend with good graces, despite the disgracefulness of the presumptive acts of its destruction. ~ Kalki (talk · contributions) 01:24, 23 December 2011 (UTC)

Not every quote needs to be illustrated. Also, the picture of the missing/destroyed Buddha monument is not very clear when presented in the context of a quote from a science fiction story. It is not immendiatedly understood what the picture is referring to. Also the photo becomes even more unclear when so small. Therefore, even if the real meaning behind it is indeed tragic, the picture itself is more confusing then helpful here. ~ Supervidin (talk