Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Blast From the Past

I'm fascinated by how memories work. While standing in the shower this morning I had a sudden burst of memory about a guide to a book series that I never read. Well I read the guide, just not the series. I'm sure my mother thought they were too adult for me or something. It was a series of books following a royal family in a fantasy world. I remember spending hours with the guide, looking at the characters and reading up about them. Considering I had never read their stories I wonder why this particular book and the characters fascinated me so much. But it had, and I knew that I had to find the book again.

I spent my shower trying to figure out anything about the guide that I could remember. I didn't remember which series it referenced or what the title of the guide was. I could only remember that the authors last name started with Z. Promising beginning huh? I ran through the list of Z last names I know. My first thought was Zindel but I knew that wasn't right. Then Zelinsky came to mind. But it certainly wasn't Paul Zelinsky, one of my favorite children's book illustrators. Then the name Roger popped into my head. And I instantly knew it was right. I knew that was the first name of the author. Zelazny quickly followed. Seriously, how do I know these things without conciously knowing them?

A brief internet search found me not only the series, but the guide. Roger Zelazy is best known for his Chronicles of Amber series. He mixes mythical characters into his fantasy novels to create a superhuman royal family whose exploits the books follow. The Wikipedia page tells me that there were 10 original Amber stories. Again I haven't read a single one, although I have The Guns of Avalon on my shelf to be read for some odd reason. The guide I was thinking of was The Visual Guide to the Castle Amber. At least I think. I can't for the life of me remember the title. But I know the cover above, and I would know the pages in an instant. Each character had an illustration and a biography. I remember reading about the brothers and sisters and seeing the images. It's a book that I pored over. And now I have to find it. I must own this guide. Even if I never read any of the books that inspired it, I know I have to own the guide, something I read and loved 25 years ago. I just have no idea why it popped into my head this morning. Memories are funny things.

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