Together with David G. Grubbs and Ann Crimmins, Dr. Kovacs edited a 6-volume collection of the works of famed multi-Hugo and Nebula award-winning science fiction/fantasy author Roger Zelazny, who died in 1995. Zelazny was well known for such critically acclaimed short works as "A Rose for Ecclesiastes," "The Doors of His Face, the Lamps of His Mouth," "He Who Shapes," and "24 Views of Mt. Fuji, by Hokusai," and such novels as This Immortal, Creatures of Light and Darkness, Isle of the Dead, Eye of Cat, and Lord of Light. He was probably best known for the immensely popular 10-volume fantasy series The Chronicles of Amber which began with the seminal novel Nine Princes in Amber in 1970.

The Collected Stories of Roger Zelazny includes all of Zelazny's short stories, novelettes, novellas, poetry, and selected non-fiction. Many hard-to-find (uncollected or unpublished) items come from Dr. Kovacs's extensive collection of Zelazny's works and memorabilia, and from Zelazny's longtime friend, Carl Yoke. Other unpublished works (a play, movie treatments, stories and poems) were obtained from the author's own papers in several university archives. Other treats include the apocryphal sex scene between Corwin and Dara from The Guns of Avalon that Doubleday deleted because it was too explicit for its time, and the very first map of Amber sketched by Zelazny himself.

Most stories have afterwords entitled "A Word from Zelazny" which Dr. Kovacs wrote after extensively researching Zelazny's own commentary about his work. The source material spans four decades from interviews, archived correspondence between Zelazny and his editors & colleagues, and Zelazny's own published and unpublished essays. As well, for most stories Dr. Kovacs wrote "Notes" sections which annotate the allusions, references, and unusual words found in the preceding tale. The effort is not to interpret (since meaning and interpretation are in the mind of the reader, and Zelazny meant for his stories to be appreciated regardless of whether the allusions were understood) but to facilitate the reader gaining insight into deeper levels of meaning that were intended by the author.

Dr. Kovacs also used the archived source material to write a biography of the author, aided by additional commentary from the author's son (Trent Zelazny), and commentary from friends and colleagues of the late author. "...And Call Me Roger": The Literary Life of Roger Zelazny runs in 6 parts throughout the collection, paralleling the presentation of the stories in approximately chronological order. An excerpt of the biography was published in the February 2009 issue of The New York Review of Science Fiction as "'And Call Me Roger': The Early Literary Life of Roger Zelazny." A second excerpt was published in the September 2009 NYRSF as "On the Origins of Zelazny's The Dead Man's Brother."

An extensive bibliography of Zelazny's works, entitled The Ides of Octember: A Pictorial Bibliography of Roger Zelazny, was published in December 2010 as a companion to the collection. It features thumbnail images of cover art in order to facilitate identification of each US and UK hardcover and paperback edition.

The Collected Stories of Roger Zelazny finished 2nd in the Locus Poll for Best Collection of 2009.

More details about the six-volume collection and the bibliography are available at the NESFA Press website.

 



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