As I’ve dug back into the authors whose work has inspired my favorite authors, the name Roger Zelazny consistently appears.
Zelazny was a poet and a writer of fantasy and science fiction, often blurring the lines between those two genres. His best known works are The Chronicles of Amber and The Lord of Light.
If you’re a fan of either sci-fi or fantasy, or both, check out his work. Zelazny’s worlds are masterful creations, filled to the brim with interesting characters and unique settings.
But for the purpose of this article and to fit our Halloween theme, I’m going to spotlight his final novel, A Night in the Lonesome October.
First published in 1993, A Night in the Lonesome October is the story of Snuff, a faithful guard dog, and his master Jack, as they navigate the Game, a complex magical ritual that either ends with the return of the Elder Gods, or the preservation of the Earth as it is. Along the way, they contend with the other Players; a mysterious and powerful Count, a Man of Science and his monstrous creation, various druids, mystics, possible werewolves, cultists, and witches. Making things more complicated is the intervention of a great Detective, who seeks Jack in connection with some grisly nighttime activities.
Yes, this is a novel where Jack the Ripper and his dog contend with Dracula, Frankenstein, the Wolfman, Sherlock Holmes and others to stop the rise of Cthulhu.
It’s more light-hearted than that sounds. The novel is divided into 32 chapters; an introduction and then one for each day of October. Snuff is an interesting narrator. This isn’t his or his master’s first time through the Game, and his matter-of-fact telling of events provides some nice humor when things get truly bizarre.
A Night in the Lonesome October isn’t a terrifying read, and I don’t think it was meant to be. But it was perfect reading material for getting into the Halloween spirit. Definitely check it out.