May 13

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    Roger Zelazny

    Roger Zelazny

    On this date in 1937, Roger Zelazny was born in Euclid, Ohio. Zelazny received his B.A. in English literature from Western Reserve University. He went on to study Elizabethan and Jacobean drama at Columbia, where he graduated with a master’s in English and comparative literature. Zelazny’s writing career blossomed in the early 1960s. All of his shorter works have been published in a six-volume set (The Collected Stories of Roger Zelazny) by NESFA Press (2009). The set includes an integrated biography (… And Call Me Roger) by Christopher Kovacs.

    Zelazny was also famous for his novels. Perhaps the best known were the two Amber series, comprised of five novels each. Though death cut short his career, awards for his writing were impressive. They included three Nebulas (out of 14 Nebula nominations), six Hugos (out of 14 Hugo nominations), two Locus Awards, two Seiun awards, and one Prix Tour-Apollo award.

    Zelazny had a fascination with mysticism and was an expert on religion and mythology. In fact, he frequently employed myth as a basis for his stories, including the seasonal death and resurrection themes that often characterized gods. Not prone to sharing details of his personal life, people speculated about what Zelazny believed in and if it was reflected in his writings.

    Zelazny was married twice, first to Sharon Steberl in 1964 (divorced, no children), and then to Judith Alene Callahan in 1966, with whom he had two sons, Devin and Trent. He died at age 58 of kidney failure secondary to colorectal cancer. (D. 1995)

    “I did have a strong Catholic background, but I am not a Catholic. Somewhere in the past, I believe I answered in the affirmative once for strange and complicated reasons. But I am not a member of any organized religion. If you mention my Catholic background, I hope you also mention that I became a retired Catholic at age 16. I do not consider myself a Christian.”

    —"... And Call Me Roger: The Literary Life of Roger Zelazny" by Christopher S. Kovacs (2009)
    Compiled by Dean Schramm

Freedom From Religion Foundation