Saturday, April 18, 2015

Remembering Roger: Roger Zelazny Tribute at George Martin's Jean Cocteau Cinema

From George Martin's Livejournal. Click over, because the post is quite a bit longer than this brief excerpt. 

On Sunday night, May 31, the Jean Cocteau Cinema in Santa Fe will offer a special one-time only night of readings and reminiscences we're calling "Remembering Roger."

Roger's son Trent, a fine writer in his own right, is organizing the event for us, and other members of Roger's family are also expected to attend, along with lots of us from the New Mexico science fiction community and Albuquerque fandom. I will be there, as will Jane Lindskold, Melinda Snodgrass, Walter Jon Williams, John Jos. Miller, and many many more. We have lots of folks coming in from out of town as well. Neil Gaiman is trying to make it, if his schedule allows. Joe Haldeman is flying in. So is Michael Cassutt. And many folks who cannot come to New Mexico in person will be Skyping in to join us, or sending video greetings and readings. Joe Lansdale, Steven Brust, Howard Waldrop, and others will be heard from.

 I had no idea and this sounds like a wonderful memorial.


  1. And I see I'm behind the times, as Chris Kovacs is already part of the original conversation.

  2. Are you going to be there? I think I'll be able to make it.

    1. At this point it looks unlikely, because I have some things I just can't move around. We'll be celebrating our wedding anniversary that weekend. If you do attend, I'd dearly love to hear all about it.

    2. I had planned to attend and hoped to be able to participate by sharing interesting anecdotes that I’d learned about Roger and his writing when I was researching the "...And Call Me Roger" biography. Trent’s initial response to me seemed enthusiastic. I held off on booking airfare while awaiting any confirmation. However, in the more than two weeks since the event was announced, there has been no confirmation, the very limited tickets have not gone on sale, and the estimated non-refundable airfare cost for my transborder travel has tripled to about $3,000. I don’t want to book airfare and later find out that I’m not a participant and that I’ve not been able to purchase a ticket for one of the 130 seats (it’s a very small theater). Therefore, I’m unlikely to attend now. It’s been very frustrating.

    3. I'm sorry to hear that. That's really lousy.

    4. Several days after I posted this, I received an email from Trent (cc’d to several other people) in which he said that he didn't want me to attend. He claimed that for years I've been publicly slamming, insulting, and belittling him and the Estate. I don’t know what he's referring to and he didn’t explain.

      If it’s about the Roger Zelazny biography published in 2009, every point made cites either Roger’s own words or the words of someone who knew him well. It’s about Roger with just a few necessary brief words about the family. Moreover, Trent had cooperated in the writing of the biography, providing answers to questions I’d posed, and he'd told me that his answers had the prior approval of the family (but that there were some questions his family wouldn’t let him answer). Maybe he regrets giving those answers now. If it’s something that I wrote outside of the biography, I don’t know what that could be because I hadn’t written publicly about Trent at all.

      On several occasions I’ve been asked why there were (until recently) no Zelazny ebooks, or (even now) no ebooks specifically of the six-volume collection, and I replied then that the Agent had told NESFA Press that the Estate was not permitting any ebooks. I’ve also at times pointed out (as have Neil Gaiman and others) that Roger Zelazny publicly asserted he did not want anyone writing in the Amber universe, but the Estate authorized the prequels against his wishes. I don’t think any of that is public slamming, insulting, or belittling, etc., it’s simply relaying the correct and well-documented information.

      On George R. R. Martin’s blog, the post you’ve referred to, Martin stated that the upcoming performance of Godson would be the first performance anywhere. I corrected him by explaining that the play had been publicly performed at Boskone in 2010 and at Worldcon (Renovation) in 2011. George had replied that it was odd that the Estate seemed not to know about these performances, which left it looking like NESFA (who produced the play) and all the participants had done something illegal, or at least, without authorization. And so I responded that since the play had been approved in advance by the Estate each time, obviously the Estate must have forgotten about those not-for-profit performances. Perhaps Trent is mad about that because it must be embarrassing for the Estate to have their error publicly revealed. I’ve also learned that the Estate didn’t know if Zelazny’s script for the play still existed and had to hunt to find a copy -- even though it was published in volume 6 of The Collected Stories (The Road to Amber), and it is referenced in the bibliography The Ides of Octember. The Estate have copies of all of those volumes.

      Several people close to the situation have told me that they think Trent has mistaken me for someone else. Perhaps there are trolling comments out there on the web that he’s attributing erroneously to me. I don’t know.

      It may simply come down to the fact that a biographer is unavoidably an intruder in the affairs of the biographee’s family.

      Anyway, for what it was worth, I replied to Trent by offering my unconditional apology for whatever offenses that he or his family perceived to have occurred. However, I don’t know what they are or even if I’m responsible for them; I simply know that none were intended by me.

    5. Good grief.

      I'm reminded of that old saying: "No good deed goes unpunished."

    6. I know you almost entirely through the COLLECTED STORIES, and our exchanges here, but you've always struck me as dedicated and vigorous defender of Zelazny's legacy. In particular, I remember when you stepped up to correct the record when someone characterized Zelazny as "penniless" at the time of his death. The impression that I've taken from your work is that you greatly respected and admired the man.

    7. I agree with and thank you both. I do highly respect Roger and his work; that's what got me interested in the project in the first place. However, I am not a sycophant, but have been as objective and critical as allowable in the biography and other essays that I've written. Consequently, some unavoidable "warts and blemishes" have been shown as I have written about his life and work.

      The thought that I've spent years publicly slamming, ridiculing, insulting (etc.) Trent and the Estate is absurd. First, because many people (including professional editors and critics) have spontaneously told me directly, or through their reviews, that I've done a lot to help revitalize Zelazny's literary legacy and awareness in readers' minds. Second, because as busy as I am with the various things that I do in my professional life, I haven't had the time or inclination to even think about Trent or the Estate until this issue came up, much less post something about him or it. I'm not on Facebook, I don't really do social media, and this is one of the few blogs that I track and occasionally post on.

      What may be even more interesting than all of this is that in his "private" Facebook postings, which have been forwarded to me, Trent has been slamming George R R Martin for advertising the event on his blog, and slamming his mother for ruining his inheritance for apparently mishandling the estate. And so I'm not the only one being singled out, rightly or wrongly. I stand in interesting company with GRRM.