Thursday, April 12, 2018

H is for Home and Hangman: Zelazny A to Z



The place where one lives permanently, especially as a member of a family or household.



 An executioner who hangs condemned people.

I've always had difficulty with titles. I'm very happy with my Doctor Who story "Forever Fallen", but I feel like I could have done better with the title. It’s not bad; it’s just not the best title for the work.

It's tricky encapsulating a work in a single phrase. There are only so many pithy epigrams to go around in the English language, and consequently you occasionally this leads to two books with the same title.

Richard Laymon’s A Night in the Lonesome October is probably fairly well-known to fans of Zelazny’s work. I’ve personally encountered it on bookshelves, and first I was elated to find a version of the classic with a new cover and then quickly dashed when I realized what was going on.

Now both books take their name from Poe’s Ulalume, so it’s not as huge a coincidence as it may seem.
The skies they were ashen and sober;
The leaves they were crisped and sere—
The leaves they were withering and sere;
It was night in the lonesome October
Of my most immemorial year:

Chris DeVito brought another book with the same name to my attention. Home is the Hangman, by Richard Sale. I haven’t read it yet, but I plan to do so once I wrap up April’s posts and I’ll report back it if the book contains any parallels with Zelazny’s story of the same name or if it’s just one of those coincidences that occurs from time to time.

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