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Today We Choose Faces (1988)

Today We Choose Faces (1988)

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3.63 of 5 Votes: 1
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0451154886 (ISBN13: 9780451154880)

About book Today We Choose Faces (1988)

Continuing my late night reads of Roger Zelazny with a fussy baby in my lap, I picked up "Today We Choose Faces." Zelazny's tale of identity and the destiny of the human race contains all of his hallmarks--a complex, highly-competent protagonist, a setting that accretes in glimpses, action interspersed with philosophical discussion and strategic and tactical thinking. He maintains a high degree of tension throughout, and the ending is oddly fitting if not terribly triumphant.The central conceit is an interesting one (in the interest of spoilers, I'll not go into details) that allows Zelazny to use his characteristic first-person prose to show a man (or men) grappling with issues of identity and self-control. One of the plot twists is a bit predictable, but since it's a short novel with high momentum, that doesn't really spoil it.And, as always, it can be read just for the language: "...Seeing the fire-flowers unfold all in a row beneath me, the final blossom covering half of the building, its target; my vehicle faltering, diving burning then, myself ejected, the cabin intact about me and moving with a life of its own, dodging, darting, firing, downward and forward, downward and forward, coming apart then and dropping me gently, gently down, my prosthetic armor making the barest of clicks as my feet touch the ground and the repellors cut off; and then my lasers lancing forward, cutting through the figures who advance up me, grenades flying from my hands, waves of protoplasm-shattering ultrasonics flowing from me like notes from some rung, invisible bell..."Like reading a scene from Iron Man turned to poetry.

Ya know when you come upon a group of people and you think you know what they are talking about but after a minute or so you realize that not only do you have no idea what they are discussing, you can't get even an inkling by the context because the language is too ambiguous and everything is "inside" so no one explains anything in a way that helps you to understand what is going on? That's what this book feels like. It's a good read once you realize how the narration works, but it's foggy like a dream that you kinda remember but not really. Sci-fi, telepathy, conspiracy, murder, other worlds, etc. Fun read but not Zelazny's best.

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I like almost nothing about this 1973 Zelazny pure-SF novel. It completely failed engage me at any point. I just struggled through it because I figured it had to get better at some point, and because is it packed with stylistic innovations that are interesting solely from an academic standpoint. But... it didn't add up for me. A huge disappointment after reading Bridge of Ashes, which has a similar -- almost identical in many ways -- stylistic point-of-view conceit at its core, but works beautifully despite requiring some effort. This one required lots of effort, and in my opinion it didn't work. One of Zelazny's rare missteps.Next on my list: either To Die in Italbar or The Dream Master, which I read the novella version of but never read the expanded book version.

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