Amber – the Books and Roger Zelazny

The Chronicles of Amber

The Chronicles of Amber are a series of fantasy novels and short stories by American writer Roger Zelazny. The main series consists of two story arcs, each five novels in length (the Corwin cycle and the Merlin cycle). Additionally, there are a number of Amber short stories and other works.

The series is based on the concept of parallel worlds, all of which originate from the kingdoms at the extreme ends of the multiverse – Amber, the one true world of Order, and the Courts of Chaos. All other worlds are reflections of these “true” realities, and are known as Shadow.

Amberites of royal blood—those descended from Oberon, the ruler of Amber (and ultimately his parents: Dworkin, formerly of the Courts of Chaos, and the Unicorn of Order herself) —are able to “walk in Shadow”, mentally willing changes to occur around them. These changes are, in effect, representative of the Shadow-walker passing through different realities. There are apparently infinite realities, and the characters in the novels are not sure if these different universes are created as one walks through Shadow, or if they already exist and a Shadow-walker is able to slip from one to another.

Within this multiverse, Zelazny deals with some interesting philosophical concepts about the nature of existence, compares and contrasts the ideas of Order and Chaos, and plays with the laws of physics—they can differ from Shadow to Shadow; for instance, gunpowder does not ignite in Amber, which is why the characters all carry swords. Other Shadows have green skies and blue suns, cities of glass, and worlds out of our own fiction can come to life.

The Corwin Cycle consists of:

The Merlin Cycle consists of:

You can read more here.

Roger Zelazny

Roger Joseph Zelazny (May 13, 1937 – June 14, 1995) was an American poet and writer of fantasy and science fiction short stories and novels, best known for The Chronicles of Amber. He won the Nebula Award three times (out of 14 nominations) and the Hugo Award six times (also out of 14 nominations), including two Hugos for novels: the serialized novel …And Call Me Conrad (1965), subsequently published under the title This Immortal (1966) and then the novel Lord of Light (1967).

You can read more about him here.