In a recent email, I told my friend Tim that I would be seeing The Jungle Book with the family this weekend.
He replied: I look forward to your review, and finding out which Zelazny novel it most resembles in structure!
All right, smartass. Here it is.
A Night in the Lonesome October – Because it has talking animals.
The Courts of Chaos – Among them, a talking wolf.
The Long Crawl of Hugh Glass – And a bear.
The crappy Merlin books – Because it has something that you used to like. Unfortunately, I’m talking about Bill Murray of whom I wrote in 2014: I think we're nearing peak Murray. I love the guy, but dang, is he everywhere! I would hate to see the day when I see a headline about him and think, "Ugh, him again?", but, unfortunately, such a future is no longer inconceivable.
We have reached that future.
(Also, we can see the Land of Peak Walken without a telescope.)
Eye of Cat – Because the main character is harassed by something cat-like.
Damnation Alley – Because the book was better. I didn’t really like Damnation Alley, the story, but that was leaps and bounds ahead of the movie. For JB, I had been expecting an adaptation of the book, but it was, instead an adaptation of the movie from the 60s. Apparently, live action adaptations of Disney cartoons are a thing now.
Today We Choose Faces – Because King Louie is a bizarre amalgam of Marlon Brando as Kurtz and Vito Corleone.
Lord of Light – Because Fire is likened to a flower.
Names are not important... To speak is to name names, but to speak is not important. A thing happens once that has never happened before. Seeing it, a man looks upon reality. He cannot tell others what he has seen. Others wish to know, however, so they question him saying, 'What is it like, this thing you have seen?' So he tries to tell them. Perhaps he has seen the very first fire in the world. He tells them, 'It is red, like a poppy, but through it dance other colors. It has no form, like water, flowing everywhere. It is warm, like the sun of summer, only warmer. It exists for a time upon a piece of wood, and then the wood is gone, as though it were eaten, leaving behind that which is black and can be sifted like sand. When the wood is gone, it too is gone.' Therefore, the hearers must think reality is like a poppy, like water, like the sun, like that which eats and excretes. They think it is like to anything that they are told it is like by the man who has known it. But they have not looked upon fire. They cannot really know it. They can only know of it. But fire comes again into the world, many times. More men look upon fire. After a time, fire is as common as grass and clouds and the air they breathe. They see that, while it is like a poppy, it is not a poppy, while it is like water, it is not water, while it is like the sun, it is not the sun, and while it is like that which eats and passes wastes, it is not that which eats and passes wastes, but something different from each of these apart or all of these together. So they look upon this new thing and they make a new word to call it. They call it 'fire.'Godson (Musical version) – Because characters occasionally break into song.
Donnerjack – From the animal companions to the Coming of Age elements to the dead parents, Donnerjack is probably the closest match structurally.