Thursday, April 4, 2013

Amber to Chaos

After reading through most of the "Amber" books, I finally came to the conclusion that author Roger Zelazny was making it all up as he went along, and he just wrote one scene after another without too much thought about how it would all turn out. In this image from the last book in the first series, THE COURTS OF CHAOS, Corwin, prince of Amber, must escape from a huge unnatural storm by running from Amber on a black road in a multidimensional wasteland towards the "Courts of Chaos." The raven and the staff are part of Zelazny's mythological mashup.

Zelazny's philosophy in these books was typical of its time. Instead of the traditional "good versus bad" storyline, he pitted Order against Chaos. Neither was good or bad, and the "heroes" of the books behaved almost as badly as the villains. Moral relativism was the main philosophy in this era, and this style has persisted in fantasy fiction to this day. Fantasy fiction is now supposed to be dark, brutal, and "gritty," full of blood, guts, sex, and betrayal. Yeah, y'know, like the old myths and tales, and like "real life." I don't know about you, but I enjoy fantasy because it's an escape from real life. But at the same time I enjoy violent and horrific fantasy sometimes. Can't quite figure that out. 

"Corwin on the Road to Chaos" is acrylic on illustration board, 9" x 7", August 1982.

No comments: