Quotations by Zelazny, Roger


Insofar as I may be heard by anything, which may or may not care what I say, I ask, if it matters, that you be forgiven for anything you may have done or failed to do which requires forgiveness. Conversely, if not forgiveness but something else may be required to insure any possible benefit for which you may be eligible after the destruction of your body, I ask that this, whatever it may be, be granted or withheld, as the case may be, in such a manner as to insure your receiving said benefit. I ask this in my capacity as your elected intermediary between yourself and that which may not be yourself, but which may have an interest in the matter of your receiving as much as it is possible for you to receive of this thing, and which may in some way be influenced by this ceremony. Amen.

Roger Zelazny (1937-1995) American writer
“Agnostic’s Prayer,” Creatures of Light and Darkness (1969)
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Used by a character to shrive a person about to commit a public suicide. Also called the "Possibly Proper Death Litany."
Added on 11-May-22 | Last updated 1-Jun-22
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“What do you think is going on, anyway?”

Some horrible Wagnerian thing, I told him, full of blood, thunder, and death for us all.

“Oh, the usual,” Luke said.

Exactly, I replied.

Roger Zelazny (1937-1995) American writer
“Coming to a Cord,” Pirate Writings, #7 [Frakir] (1995)
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Life is full of doors that don’t open when you knock, equally spaced amid those that open when you don’t want them to.

Roger Zelazny (1937-1995) American writer
“Blood of Amber, ch. 2 (1986)
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Sleep is perhaps the only among life’s great pleasures which need not be of short duration.

Roger Zelazny (1937-1995) American writer
Knight of Shadows, ch. 3 (1990)
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That’s life: Trust and you’re betrayed; don’t trust and you betray yourself.

Roger Zelazny (1937-1995) American writer
Knight of Shadows, ch. 3 (1990)
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Besides, 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 (1937-1995) American writer
Nine Princes in Amber, ch. 3 (1977)
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“Yes,” he said. “But I wonder … I’ve a peculiar feeling that I may never see you again. It is as if I were one of those minor characters in a melodrama who gets shuffled offstage without ever learning how things turn out.”

“I can appreciate the feeling,” I said. “My own role sometimes makes me want to strangle the author. But look at it this way: inside stories seldom live up to one’s expectations. Usually they are grubby little things, reducing down to the basest of motives when all is known. Conjectures and illusions are often the better possessions.”

Roger Zelazny (1937-1995) American writer
Sign of the Unicorn (1972)
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Bill Roth speaking with Corwin.
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And I, of course, am innocent of all but malice.

Roger Zelazny (1937-1995) American writer
Sign of the Unicorn [Fiona] (1975)
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To paraphrase Oedipus, Hamlet, Lear, and all those guys, I wish I had known this some time ago.

Roger Zelazny (1937-1995) American writer
Sign of the Unicorn, ch. 3 [Corwin] (1975)
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I worked my way back into a stony declivity and settled myself upon a low ledge. I began the troublesome shapeshifting work, which I paced to take me half an hour or so. Changing from something nominally human to something rare and strange — perhaps monstrous to some, perhaps frightening — and then back again is a concept some may find repugnant. They shouldn’t. We all of us do it every day in many different ways, don’t we?

Roger Zelazny (1937-1995) American writer
The Blood of Amber, ch. 3 (1986)
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Where shall wisdom be found, and where is the place of understanding? If I knew, I’d walk over and stand there. As it was, I felt as if I stood in the midst of a large map, surrounded by vague areas wherein were penned the visages of particularly nasty-looking random variables. A perfect place for a soliloquy, if one had anything to say.

Roger Zelazny (1937-1995) American writer
The Blood of Amber, ch. 5 (1986)
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Quoting Job 28:12.
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I have run into this difficulty with Scripture in the past. It tells you enough to get interested, but never enough to be of any immediate use. It is as though the author gets his kicks by tantalizing.

Roger Zelazny (1937-1995) American writer
The Courts of Chaos, ch. 5 [Corwin] (1978)
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“I am going to tell you something Benedict should have told you long ago,” I said. “Never trust a relative. It is far worse than trusting strangers. With a stranger there is a possibility that you might be safe.”

“You really mean that, don’t you?”

“Yes.”

“Yourself included?”

I smiled. “Of course it does not apply to me. I am the soul of honor, kindness, mercy, and goodness. Trust me in all things.”

Roger Zelazny (1937-1995) American writer
The Guns of Avalon [Corwin to Dara] (1972)
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In the mirrors of the many judgments, my hands are the color of blood. I am part of the evil that exists in the world and in Shadow. I sometimes fancy myself an evil which exists to oppose other evils […] and on that Great Day of which the prophets speak but in which they do not truly believe, on the day the world is utterly cleansed of evil, then I too will go down into darkness, swallowing curses. Perhaps even sooner than that, I now judge. But whatever … Until then, I will not wash my hands nor let them hang useless.

Roger Zelazny (1937-1995) American writer
The Guns of Avalon, ch. 3 (1972)
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Acts and their consequences are the things by which our fellows judge us. Anything else, and all that you get is a cheap feeling of moral superiority by thinking how you would have done something nicer if it had been you. So as for the rest, leave it to heaven. I’m not qualified.

Roger Zelazny (1937-1995) American writer
The Hand of Oberon, ch. 13 (1976)
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Added on 16-Feb-22 | Last updated 16-Feb-22
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As I was finishing, I heard a crashing noise. A horned and tusked purple thing went racing along the ridge to my right pursued by a hairless orange-skinned creature with long claws and a forked tail. Both were wailing in different keys.
I nodded. It was just one damned thing after another.

Roger Zelazny (1937-1995) American writer
Trumps of Doom (1985)
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Power is like money. You can usually get it if you’re competent and it’s the only thing you want in life.

Roger Zelazny (1937-1995) American writer
Trumps of Doom, ch. 3 [Merlin] (1985)
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Added on 9-Mar-22 | Last updated 9-Mar-22
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When inspiration is silent reason tires quickly.

Roger Zelazny (1937-1995) American writer
Trumps of Doom, ch. 6 (1985)
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I try to write every day. I used to try to write four times a day, minimum of three sentences each time. It doesn’t sound like much but it’s kinda like the hare and the tortoise. If you try that several times a day you’re going to do more than three sentences, one of them is going to catch on. You’re going to say “Oh boy!” and then you just write. You fill up the page and the next page But you have a certain minimum so that at the end of the day, you can say Hey I wrote four times today, three sentences, a dozen sentences. Each sentence is maybe twenty word long. That’s 240 words which is a page of copy, so at least I didn’t goof off completely today. I got a page for my efforts and tomorrow it might be easier because I’ve moved as far as I have.

Roger Zelazny (1937-1995) American writer
Interview, Phlogiston #43 (1995)
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 1-Feb-04
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