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patient -- which is laid out like a Jungian tournament of the cohorts
of the self -- and takes therapeutic action from within this VIRTUAL
REALITY. But Render becomes hubristic, and when he enters the mind of
a congenitally blind woman, who is both extremely intelligent and insane,
his attempts to cope with her intricate madness from within gradually
expose his own deficiencies as a person, and he becomes subtly and terrifyingly
trapped in a highly plausible psychic cul-de-sac. All the sf apparatus
of the story, and its sometimes overly baroque manner, were integrated
into RZ's once-only unveiling of the nature of a human hero who could
not perform the moult into immortality.

After these triumphs, LORD OF LIGHT (1967), which won a 1968 Hugo, could
have seemed anticlimactic, but it is in fact his most sustained single
tale, richly conceived and plotted, exhilarating throughout its considerable
length. Some of the crew of a human colony ship, which has deposited
its settlers on a livable world, have made use of advanced technology
to ensconce themselves in the role of gods, selecting those of the Hindu
pantheon as models. But where there is Hinduism, the Buddha -- in the
shape of the protagonist Sam -- must follow; and his liberation of the
humans of the planet, who are mortal descendants of the original settlers,
takes on aspects of both Prometheus and Coyote the Trickster. At points,
Sam may seem just another of RZ's stable of slangy, raunchy, over-loved
immortals; but the end effect of the book is liberating, wise, lucid.

None of RZ's subsequent sf quite achieved the metaphorical aptness of
his first 3 novels, but Isle of the Dead (1969) and Creatures of Light
and Darkness (1969) both embody complex plots, mythic resonance and
a fluent intensity of language. Damnation Alley (1969), a darker and
coarser tale, depicts a post-holocaust motor-cycle-trek across a vicious
USA; it was filmed with many changes as DAMNATION ALLEY (1977). Jack
of Shadows (1971), though set on a planet which keeps one face always
to its sun, has all the tonality and dream-like plotting of a fantasy:
a fine one.

From the mid-1970s on, RZ's work maintained a certain consistency, and
always threatened to explode in the mind's eye; but did not quite do
so. Deus Irae (1976), with Philip K. DICK, is uneasy. Doorways in the
Sand (1976) is a delightfully complicated chase tale, involving a MCGUFFIN
and an entire galactic community. My Name is Legion (fixup 1976) --
which included the Hugo- and Nebula-winning Home is the Hangman (1975
ASF; 1990 chap dos) -- puts into definitive form the Chandleresque version
of the RZ HERO. Roadmarks (1979) engrossingly fleshes out the notion
that the turnings off a metaphysical freeway might constitute turnings
in time not space. The Last Defender of Camelot (1980 chap), which became
the title story of The Last Defender of Camelot (coll 1980; with 4 stories
added, exp 1981), Unicorn Variations (coll 1983), which included the
Hugo-winning "Unicorn Variation" (1981), and Frost and Fire (coll 1989)
-- which contained "24 Views of Mount Fuji" (1985) and "Permafrost"
(1986), both Hugo-winners -- represent competent later short stories.
Eye of Cat (1982) is a proficient sf thriller with a striking alien
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