I *hated* Corrida at first, because I didn't understand it and it seemed like it showed up in every collection of Zelazny work there ever was. Now that I can look it up in the IDES OF OCTEMBER, I can see that it's not nearly as widely publicized as I had thought; it's just represented disproportionately in the books that comprised my library early on.
"Running of the Bulls"has a better fate for himthan "Corrida" does.
So what the hell _is_ going on in Corrida? I still don't get it. Unburden me of my ignorance!
I just figured it was a man in the role of the bull in a bullfight, based on the title and the fact that his ears are chopped off at the end. If there's anything more going on than that, I've missed it completely.
Now you've got me second guessing myself. *IS* there something more going on?
Well shit, there's gotta be! Dude's a lawyer. Sometimes his antagonist is a woman. Then he thinks it's God -- "Or are you?"Maybe not. "Where am I?"Then the ears.
I really have no idea where to begin on this one, so I'm just gonna start throwing out ideas and see if someone can make something of 'em.1. Going with the mythology angle (which generally seems like a safe bet with Zelazny), the only bull-related thing I can think of is the minotaur, which was the offspring of Minos's wife and a bull provided by Poseidon. No idea if that applies here, but whatever.2. The dark figure is said to be seven feet tall with two pairs of arms, which immediately made me think of the green Martians from Edgar Rice Burroughs's John Carter stories. Although that has nothing at all to do with bulls.3. Jim Carrey played a lawyer in Liar, Liar. I'm almost positive this is significant in some way.4. "Corrida" could be another take on the "Am I a butterfly dreaming he's a man?" thing. (I forget who the quote's from, but everyone on this blog is more well read than me, so I assume you all know what I'm talking about.) Are we reading about a lawyer dreaming he's a bull, or a bull dreaming he's a lawyer?That's all I've got. Someone make something of it!
I think the most straightforward explanation is that, instead of the stereotypical abduction by aliens in order to be subjected to the anal probe or put in an alien zoo, this man is abducted in order to be put in a corrida in which he is killed by an alien matador in front of an alien crowd. The nude woman and other things are used to incite him in the same way that a red cape etc. are supposed to incite a bull. And as he lays dying at the end, the matador cuts off his ears as a trophy. To these aliens we humans are the equivalent of bulls, to be killed for sport.He still stands and has hands, bare feet, etc., and so he is not in the mind of a bull but remains in his own body. He is a human on alien turf, in the midst of a nightmarish corrida in which he is the animal to be prodded and killed for entertainment.It's also possible that it's a revenge story that echoes Zelazny's The New Pleasure, in which the woman becomes a black widow spider in a virtual reality system in order to kill the man who has been a hated rival and womanizer.But I favor the straightforward interpretation.