Last Exit to Babylon - Volume 4: The Collected Stories of Roger Zelazny
by Roger Zelazny
Review by Steve Sawicki
NESFA Press Hardcover ISBN/ITEM#: 9781886778795
Date: 01 July 2009 List Price $29.00 Amazon US / Amazon UK
This is volume four in the six volume set that collects the stories of Roger Zelazny. This volume covers the late 1970s and early 1980s a period where Zelazny had, arguably, mastered the craft of telling a story. More importantly, Zelazny had gained the respect of the market and was able to begin to focus solely on content and style.
So, within this volume we have "The Last Defender of Camelot", the Hugo winning "Unicorn Variations", the Nebula and Hugo winning "Home is the Hangman", and twenty two other pieces along with a collection of articles and poetry. Zelazny was able to work both the short form and the long form of fiction and, as you read the articles and poetry, you will see that the man was, simply put, a good, if not great, writer, period.
This book, along with the other five in the series, is a masterpiece of design and implementation. From the Michael Whelan cover which stretches over the six books, to the forewords by writers who were inspired by Zelanzy, to the accompaniment of Zelazny's explanations of how stories came to be which he often included with his fiction, this book is a joy to read and a joy to own. Zelazny is a master story teller who plays with myth and fact alike, weaving them into seamless journeys of thought, vision, and enjoyment.
NESFA press and the editors who worked on this series are to be commended. Most of these short stories appeared in magazines and would have been lost to time if not for NESFA's intervention. I've said it before about books from NESFA, that you should just go out and buy one or two to show your support for what they are doing. But, having said that, I'd be truly surprised, once you look at the NESFA catalog, if you didn't find half a dozen books you really wanted to own. This book and the entire series is simply a must have for any Zelazny fan and for any fan of science fiction in the short form. Highly recommended.