Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Roger Zelazny - The Great Slow Kings (Short Story Review)

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"Masters," suggested Zindrome, "the half-life of radioactive materials being as ephemeral as it is, I regret to report that only one spaceship is now in operational condition."
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Before leaving work today I thought to myself: "Wouldn't it be nice to read some good short story on the way home?" This of course led to me printing the above mentioned tale (for those touchy on the subject of copyrights, I own at least one tome containing said tale :) ) and a fun bus ride home.
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Like a lot of Zelazny's short stories, "The Great Slow Kings" is concise, witty and most importantly well writen. And while some may disagree I find it slightly satirical.
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We are shown a very busy day of the last two creatures belonging to a highly advanced decadent civilization. Having deduced there might be other life forms "out there", one proposes they might populate their barren planet, thus providing them with some loyal subjects yearning for their wise leadership. The other having agreed to the proposal, they employ their loyal robot helper, the only other inhabitant of their lonely planet, to go forth and find them some subjects. Their life cycles being what they are, the two appear to be immortal and slightly unaware of the passage of time...leading to a very entertaining read.
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Highly recommended even if it would take you more than a meager few minutes to read.
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~ Madwand ~

5 Comments:

ThRiNiDiR said...

I don't know if it's legal or not, but the short story is available on the following link - http://www.lib.ru/ZELQZNY/TheGreatSlowKings.txt

Jacklyn said...

I've read the short story. Of course it's witty and satirical. Who wouldn't agree on that point?

This story clearly reflects Cold War sentimentality. It's great.

Madwand said...

Thanks for dropping by Jacklyn;
Well, while writing this post, I was reminded of a debate I had with some friends, about what makes a satire...and there were disagreements. :)
Agreed, Cold War was one of the first things that popped into my mind. Seems like the period was a great inspiration for many masters of the SF genre. Makes sense, really.

Jen said...

I've never noticed the Cold War allusion. Then again, I live in a country where the Cold War was just another piece of news.

Anyway, I am very glad to see Zelazny mentioned, since he is my favorite author and he doesn't get near enough attention - or he gets it for the novels. However I don't like this particular story that much - it's ok, but I have other favorites.

Christopher said...

I read this story in the eighth grade. Sometime in my Junior year it hit me. It changed the way I look at the world and still affects me 47 years later.

 

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