I haven’t read too many books by Roger Zelazny, but the ones I read I did enjoy. And of them all, The Chronicles of Amber remained the most important to me. They might be the first example of the multiverse, somewhat similar to the many-world interpretation, that I’ve personally had experience with, in either science or fiction works, and has remained influential for me to this day. But my memories, of both the “Corwin cycle” and “Merlin cycle” (first 5 books and second 5 books), were quite fuzzy by now, with only the main events, main ideas, memorable scenes intact, and I was curious to read them again. And, for the first time, the way they were written – in English, – since my original teenage experience was with the (pretty solid) Russian translations of the books. Hopefully, I won’t get disappointed…
Last year I was finishing up reading A song of Ice and Fire series (the published books, I mean) and went on to read The Witcher books. And something about that experience felt… off. Something that made me think about how I “consume” art/entertainment, what I look for in it. And it struck me then – The Witcher book series didn’t have simple stories, or simple characters, but something about how different layers of stories and events connected was too… simple. I started looking at other books I like, movies, games, music, food even and it often led down to this simple word – layers. And how well they connect, of course.
The last story expansion/DLC to The Witcher 3 is upon us. And I haven’t played the game yet because I’m waiting for it. That’s despite the fact that I still remember how The Witcher 3 was launched from within the office of CD Projekt, as I was working at GOG back then. There was much rejoicing *yaaaay*. That’s also despite the fact that I’ve played the first The Witcher game about 3 times in just a few months after it was first released, that’s how much I loved it. But that love for the first game was a surprise to me – I never read the books. They were super popular here in Ukraine, probably less so than in Poland, of course, but we had fans, we watched the TV series… Well, I didn’t. So I wanted to read the books, finally. And so I did. And the books were a bit of a mixed bag.
My parents always were proud of the fact that I was a reader since very young age. From children books on ants and dogs in the pocket, to classic adventure literature of Jules Verne, Conan Doyle or Alfred Szklarski I read and re-read everything I found to be interesting in our home library. And I’ve been doing this as one of my main means of “story kicks” up until about 10 or more years ago when games finally started upping their story quality. BioWare, who feel so pop and simplistic today, Obsidian, new and old projects from western and eastern developers I would discover for the first time with exciting wonderfully told stories. I knew that I’m not a particularly good writer myself, but had a bit more talent with games, so I spent more time with games, and less with books. And, eventually, decided to write about games. Nowadays, I rarely read books and watch movies/shows, having occasional exceptions for something that I feel is especially interesting or just “fitting the mood”. And spend more time with games trying to find my place with them. Now, when games are telling really amazing stories more commonly, I’m glad we’re getting more and more fantastic worlds, characters and stories. Yet, when I read George Martin’s “A Song of Ice and Fire”, I finally noticed something that wasn’t just about that. These books don’t just have amazing world, character and stories, they’re also one of the best examples of storytelling I’ve ever seen.