A Night in the Lonesome October

April 13, 2018 at 5:00 pm (Reads) (, , )

lonesomeA Night in the Lonesome October by Roger Zelazny

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This is one of those books I’ve owned for years, decades, even. It’s a holdover from my “All Horror, All the Time” phase, but I’ve kept it over several moves and purges because it was a Roger Zelazny book. I finally got around to reading it, namely because I was shifting some books around on my shelves, and this was the one book I couldn’t fit onto the shelf once I had reorganized everything. Hey, it’s not the weirdest reason I’ve decided to read a book.

The story is comedy horror, an homage to classic horror stories and authors like Mary Shelley and Frankenstein, Jack the Ripper, and Lovecraft’s mythos. It manages to straddle the line of comedy and horror well, with the laughs and chuckles genuine, even as the story becomes more and more serious as the story progresses. It’s narrated by Snuff, a dog whose master is named Jack. They’re part of a coven of sorts, and the most important month of the year — October — has just begun. What makes the month so important only becomes clear as the story progresses, and this is apparently a common characteristic for a Zelazny novel — figuring out what’s happening.

As fun as the story is, it wouldn’t be complete without Gahan Wilson’s illustrations. The book is broken down into 31 chapter, each one accompanied by a full-page illustration. Sometimes the illustration occurs before its context appears in the story, but for the most part, they happen at the same time. Even when they don’t, though, they don’t spoil the story.

The book is compelling and readable, funny and serious, and a real joy for anyone who enjoys horror. It’s a fun ride, suitable for readers of all ages, but readers who are familiar with the source work Zelazny pastiches here will get the most out of it. It was apparently one of Zelazny’s own personal favorites of his books, as well as one of the last he wrote. It’s a good book with which to leave his legacy.

Started: January 17, 2018
Finished: January 19, 2018

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