“I like libraries. It makes me feel comfortable and secure to have walls of words, beautiful and wise, all around me. I always feel better when I can see that there is something to hold back the shadows.” ~ Roger Zelazny
One of my favorite books of all time is a little-known treat from the late, great Roger Zelazny entitled A Night In the Lonesome October. It was Roger’s last book and for whatever reason, it has touched me on a child-like level of delight ever since the first time I devoured it.
Zelazny possessed a crispness of style that I covet. His prose is tight and streamlined, but every phrase is also sculpted, crafted to employ just the right language to punch fathomless wells of context into tiny packages. He was always easy to read, and yet the concepts and characters possessed such depth that I often found myself lost in re-read after re-read, soaking up details I had missed on previous turns. You could read him as fast as a freeway, but then you’d miss the exits. So you had to spin round and retrace your path and revisit how the language had fooled you with its simplicity.
It’s a rare gift, especially among science fiction greats who tend to beleaguer readers with too much exposition.
Although Roger is most remembered for the Amber series, I find October to be a far more delicious adventure and I’ve introduced it to many friends over the years who have, without exception, taken equal delight in it.
As the book is broken into 32 chapters, each detailing a day in the life of Snuff, a faithful watchdog familiar, who reveals the mysterious events surrounding a very special October month, I’ve decided read, record, and put up each chapter day by day for those who want to listen and enjoy.
The book, alas, is out of print and has been for a few years, but you can still find copies here and there in used bookstores, and I encourage it heartily. There is also a rarer out of print audio book version of Zelazny reading the story himself, which is far superior to the job I will accomplish. However, my goal is simply to share the story and encourage others to explore further for themselves. To that end, I hope to just not mangle the reading too much.
This is my first outing in using Adobe Premiere to put together video. I suck at it — even this meager little attempt to insert a still frame married to an audio track was a trial. Moreover, compression and compromise to keep the file sizes under the necessary limits is a bit of a bear. But who knows, with luck, maybe I’ll hit on a magic combination as the project progresses through the month. I’ve decided to use video posts uploaded to YouTube for no other reason than because it’s easy and I don’t have to worry about which widgets work for which browsers, etc.
A special thanks to Lyndon Heart who will be helping me tweak my nervous little recordings and who is composing and adding brief musical bumpers to the start and end of each chapter. Yay for talented friends!
Please enjoy the story.