» » Today We Choose Faces / Bridge of Ashes

Download Today We Choose Faces / Bridge of Ashes epub

by Roger Zelazny

Book by Zelazny, Roger
Download Today We Choose Faces / Bridge of Ashes epub
ISBN: 0451099893
ISBN13: 978-0451099891
Category: Fantasy
Subcategory: Science Fiction
Author: Roger Zelazny
Language: English
Publisher: Ace; 4th Printing edition (August 4, 1981)
ePUB size: 1803 kb
FB2 size: 1948 kb
Rating: 4.2
Votes: 861
Other Formats: lrf lrf mbr lit

I am going back and re-reading Roger Zelazny. All of his works. Some of which I missed when I read him in my college days and early adulthood - if you start trying to count years on me, I will come for you.

There is relevance to these works that becomes more evident as the years pass. It is still a little abstract, but the 'science' is rapidly taking the 'fiction' out of it. Personally, I enjoy trying to keep track of several plot development pieces and engaging in what was described in past literature as the "suspension of disbelief" (An interesting wiki in itself).

Anyway, Zelanzny gives your mind the long legs needed to run/leap again or for the first time. These two stories are good examples and are highly recommended. At the time they were published, the length was problematic for publishers, since they were too short for novels and too long for short stories.Hence, the two-for format of this book. But, in life you walk around a corner and may become involved with a group of strangers and actually travel for a time with them, involved in their story and letting them become part of your journey for a sometimes short space of time. Their story is no less compelling for the actual temporal coinage spent with them. This is the way of Mr. Zelazny, in some of his works, and I am the better for it. I won't review the actual stories here. They are best taken at face value and the initial experience is best tasted, fresh. I sat and smiled an smile I had not engaged in for several years, after reading this little assortment of pages. Thanks again, Mr. Zelazny.
This book breaks out into two distinct halves. The first part is a convoluted mix-mash of ideas and short blurbs as the main character, Dennis, goes through years of discovering himself. It's largely told by others, mainly his psychiatrists, because until he's a teenager he has no personality. None at all. The kid is so advanced in telepathy that he can't shut off the bombardment of thoughts of other humans. They can tell his mind is working but nothing of his body does. He's washed and fed and taken care of but doesn't respond to any stimuli because he's randomly flipping through the channels of humanity. Eventually it's realized his problem knows almost no limits as he's first isolated in the desert of New Mexico, then the Moon. But then they figure out neither distance nor time can stop him as he starts channeling Da Vinci and other great minds. Sometimes you have no idea who he is channeling though as the writing just picks up in mid thought, goes for a bit, and then the chapter ends. Annoying.

The second half of the book is where it almost gets interesting as the kid becomes aware of himself in relation to all of the others that have occupied his mind. But then... well, I'm not sure what happens. He returns to Earth to find someone he's been dreaming about/ inhabiting that may or may not be his future self in order to stop aliens from continuing to pollute the planet with technology in order to make it more habitable for their lifeforms. (And this is a huge cop-out on Zelazny's part as the aliens only appear as orbs rising up from the Indian Ocean.) Apparently they've been trying to steer humanity for eons to this end instead of just coming up with a super pollution bomb. I also don't get why only Dennis can or does stop them. There is no battle. They just look at him and then decide, dang, THIS planet won't work.

I read this book in an afternoon (it's only 160 pages or so) and it left me wondering. A lot. And not in a good way. Didn't really care about the characters. Still don't know if his first psychiatrist is actually the person pulling all the strings or what. There are a few cool scenes, such as the lecturer agreeing to put himself back in the path of a bullet after time is slowed enough for him to move aside, or when Dennis is drawing as Da Vinci, but by and large this is just a sketch of a story. The aliens are pathetic, pretty much any character aside from Dennis, his doctors, and his parents isn't flushed out at all, and the story progresses WAY to slowly. There is a strong ecofriendly message in there too but it's not developed all the way either.

This book is the kind of thing assigned to freshman writing students to give them a framework to build upon. "Take this and make another part of it that both fits and expands the story." That's what this book is, a frame of other stories waiting to be told.
In a future world where telepathy is a rare but known phenomenon, Dennis Guise is a young boy whose unprecedented mental power is not a blessing, but a curse. Unable to control the myriad external thoughts and personalities that flow into his consciousness, the constant influx of telepathic information leaves him in an autistic state, from which he only very rarely awakens. His therapist, Lydia, herself a telepath, seems to have some limited success in helping Dennis filter out the powerful minds whose thoughts span across time and distance. After acquiring, (and eventually dispelling) the personalities of a number of strong-minded individuals (including some famous ones), Dennis finally grows up to realize his purpose on Earth - to serve the mysterious stranger called The Dark Man in his fight against alien invaders. Peculiarly, Zelazny doesn't tell us much about the invaders, except that they are secretly manipulating mankind into turning the world into the kind of post-industrial wasteland that is their natural habitat, and they don't even appear in the novel until the very end. A smattering of interludes where we get to see the invaders at work might have made this novel more entertaining, although admittedly it might also have been a little too confusing in this already convoluted story.
The most interesting sections are in the middle, where Dennis' young mind is repeatedly being taken over by the thoughts of others, although while reading it, it's very difficult to see exactly where this unusual story is headed, and that can make the reader feel that the plot is progressing rather slowly, or, one might even suspect, not really progressing at all, but merely delaying the ending. Some of the personalities are just fragments, and many of them only last a few pages before being put to rest and then dropped from the story altogether, having served no real purpose except to show how utterly bewildering Dennis' situation is. Fortunately, there are also some gripping chase sequences that shake up the otherwise very cerebral story. As is too often typical of Zelazny's novels, the book feels like a short story that dragged on past its ideal length. The conclusion seems a little too pat and too simple, and too abrupt after the long and elaborate buildup (spanning the Earth, Luna, and also several millennia), but that doesn't keep this book from being a fascinating read. Rabid proponents of environmentalism might find this story particularly to their liking.