Saturday, May 5, 2018

U is for Unicorn: Zelazny A to Z



 A mythical animal typically represented as a horse with a single straight horn projecting from its forehead.

Unicorns aren’t overrepresented in Zelazny’s work (I’d suspect a rigorous analysis would show more dragons than unicorns, for instance), but they do feature prominently in two of his best-known works, so I’d go so far as to say that they are the mythical creatures most associated with his writing.
And the packet bore a device which caused me to stiffen where I knelt, perspiration suddenly wetting my brow and my breath coming rapidly.
    It bore a white unicorn on a grass field, rampant, facing to the dexter.
    And I knew that device and it hurt me that I could not name it.

I love the meter of that passage. It seems so dreamlike.

A bizarrerie of fires, cunabulum of light, it moved with a deft, almost dainty deliberation, phasing into and out of existence like a storm-shot piece of evening; or perhaps the darkness between the flares was more akin to its truest nature—swirl of black ashes assembled in prancing cadence to the lowing note of desert wind down the arroyo behind buildings as empty yet filled as the pages of unread books or stillnesses between the notes of a song.

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