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Donnerjack [Mass Market Paperback]

Roger Zelazny , Jane M. Lindskold
3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Aug. 1 1998
In our world, called the Verite, he is a Scottish laird, an engineer, and a master of virtual reality design. In the computer-generated universe of Virtu, created by the crash of the World Net, he is a living legend. Scientist and poet with a warrior's soul, Donnerjack strides like a giant across the virtual landscape he helped to shape. And now he has bargained with Death himself for the return of love.

The Lord of Entropy claimed Ayradyss, Donnerjack's beloved dark-haired lady of Virtu, with no warning, leaving a hole in the Engineer's heart. But Death offered to return her to him for a price: a palace of bones...and their first-born child. Since offspring have never before resulted from any union of the two worlds, Donnerjack accepts Death's conditions--and leads his reborn lover far from the detritus and perpetual twilight of Deep Fields to his ancestral Scottish lands, hoping to build a sanctuary and a self for Ayradyss in the first world.

But there is no escaping, because cataclysmic change is taking place in Virtu. A bizarre new religion is sweeping through this ever-shifting universe where the homely can be virtually beautiful, the lame can walk and the blind can see. Now it's threatening to spill over into Verite. And its credo is a call for a different kind of order. For all the ancient myths still occupy Virtu. And the Great Gods on Mt. Meru are amassing great armies in anticipation of the time when a vast computer system attempts to take over the reality that constructed it.


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From Amazon

This "new" Roger Zelazny work was finished posthumously with the help of his coauthor and friend, Jane Lindskold. Unlike some after-the-fact "collaborations," this one has Zelazny written all over it. It's a typical tale from one of science fiction's greats, a world-spanning story that deals heavily with mythology and the ability to cross between two realities. In this case the realities are the real world, Verité, and the virtual world, Virtù. When Donnerjack--one of the architects of Virtù--loses his lover Ayradyss, he makes a pact with Death to return her from the dead. In return, Death demands their first-born child, who will be the first baby born from a Verité/Virtù union, and a force to be reckoned with in both worlds. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

Zelazny died in 1995 after beginning this next-to-last hard sf collaboration with Lindskold. They have created a dazzling, 22nd-century future in which the real world, Verite, coexists with a computer-generated realm, Virtu. While citizens of Verite can visit the virtual world, denizens of Virtu cannot exist in Verite until John D'Arcy Donnerjack makes a deal with Death to save his beloved Virtual, Ayradyss. She is the first to cross over to Verite in exchange for giving their firstborn son to Death. First Donnerjack and then his son must find a way to cheat Death. In this intricately plotted novel, the authors create believable, densely populated worlds with a richness of characterization and subplots that will leave readers believing in Virtu. Highly recommended for most sf collections.
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Two master writers confront Death Dec 23 2000
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I read Zelazny as a teen, but never kept up with his stuff. A few years ago I got hooked on Jane Lindskold's SF and fantasies (I've now read all of her books), and I loved Lord Demon, her first collaboration with Zelazny. Inevitably I picked up Donnerjack, and what a great story! It's long, but it's never boring or slow.
A hero confronts Death to regain a love from his realm, in exchange for their firstborn. Donnerjack weaves together tales of computer programs and ancient prototypical gods, legends and 22nd century Americans, and manages to tie them all together with a satisfyingly pretty bow. It balances an incredibly dark subject matter (trying to beat Death and eventually to let go when one cannot - bear in mind that after a long illness Zelazny actually died before the book was finished) with great stories that inexorably twine together as the plot moves forward. While exciting, it manages to catch creepy on a really visceral level - I couldn't just blast through this book like my usual reads, but had to take it in bits.
Part of why Donnerjack is so distressing is that the subject of death touches us all, and the authors capture its horror in delicate ways as when a character's gradual deterioration necessitates the amputation of his leg. The authors present this in such an unapologetic and off-handed way that it feels uncomfortably personal - if this didn't come from life it certainly felt like it. This must have been a very painful book to write. The result is just wonderful, though. Because of the authors' real-life situation, the evolution of the book's presentation of Death from being a horrific chaotic factor to a necessary (and even well-meaning) part of the lawful order of things is particularly evocative.
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4.0 out of 5 stars LONG and boring at times June 14 2000
Format:Mass Market Paperback
In reading Donnerjack, I came upon feelings that flip-flopped and changed back and forth. Some parts were unbearably awkward, lame, and badly written, totally un-Zelazny and just plain unappealing. Then there were some parts that seemed to just flow by because they were so exciting. I know that a lot of readers have commented that Zelazny only wrote the first part, but I don't think that's true. Zelazny has a certain bold flair in his writing most of the time, as if he's utterly confident that what's he's writing won't be termed as lame or otherwise. There were certain sections in the second part of Donnerjack that I know weren't just Jane Lindskold, because Zelazny's style was so clearly stamped upon them. Although it's also true that Lindskold dominates much of the second half of the book, and her long and winding style is pretty apparent for any reader to see. I would recommend Donnerjack to only long-time Zelazny readers, or at least people who have read other Zelazny works, because this piece is definitely not his best one, and it is just so LONG and winding at times.
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2.0 out of 5 stars A Crying Shame Dec 6 1998
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Donnerjack is best described as a crying shame-first because I was practically crying reading the beginning third of the book that was so obviously Zelazny-fast, witty, engaging, unique-full of weird characters and a new computer type of mythology which is so Zelazny-ish! It was great to be reading Zelazny again years after he had died! The shame part of the book is after the first third (ended as part one) we enter part two which is obviously not Zelazny! Wordy to the extreme-boring, stupid, stupid humor (if I read "he or she or it CHUCKLED one more time I was gonna scream!) and chocked full of explanations which is one thing Roger once stated in an interview--He hated explanations!!! No wonder the book took so long to come out--it took Jane years to write the next 400 pages! As another reviewer pointed out, read the first third of the book and then stop, you'll be glad you did--Or else do as I do and read it with a handy magic-marker, its great for blacking out all the unnecessary wordiness!
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Format:Mass Market Paperback
What a horrible disappointment! I *thoroughly* enjoyed the first third of the book, with all its interesting plots and unrelated storylines that you knew would sooner or later weave together to make an intricate Zelazny tapestry. The Virtù & Verité idea is fabulous! The writing was swift and subtle and every bit the Zelazny I have recently come to know and appreciate. However, right around that bit about the Brass Baboon (perhaps written in a foggy haze near the end of his life? Fitting, since it depicts his hero fighting Death, even if only to a "draw") things start to fall apart. A few pages later it becomes O-B-V-I-O-U-S that Ms Lindskold has taken up the fallen pen to veer off in her own direction. Didn't Zelazny leave any notes on how the story was going to wind up? Couldn't they find somebody with a less.....how shall I put it?...."feminine" style to finish up a masterpiece from this impeccably masculine author? All that dialog. All that explanation of how people were feeling and dreaming and interacting..... Uck. She immediately kills off the most interesting characters (well, they're mostly dead anyhow), introduces still more unrelated characters (she's even got the old girl-dressed-as-a-man gag... puh-leeeze!) and tries to "talk like the boys" as she bludgeons us with lurid desciptions of Sayjack's depravities. These descriptions are the most telling of all: the first time she wanders into this subplot she's a bit timid; then she's foul-mouthed and disgustingly descriptive; then the language turns into a sort of XXX-rated romance novel. Read more ›
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Most recent customer reviews
2.0 out of 5 stars Good for the first half, but fizzles.
I agree wholeheartedly with the review here by Phil Thwing. Essentially, the book starts out in classic Zelaznyish fashion but suddenly shifts over to something else about half... Read more
Published on March 30 2003 by David A. Lessnau
4.0 out of 5 stars I liked it.
...I like long books, so it's length didn't trouble me. The voice of two people haunted by death are clear to hear in the pages, I had no quarrel with its emotional authenticity. Read more
Published on Nov. 1 2002 by frumiousb
1.0 out of 5 stars Not really Rodger
I think I have everything he ever wrote in my collection, and my copy of Lord of Light is getting worn out from my re-reading it, but this is not him - not after the beginning. Read more
Published on May 27 2002 by Harvey A. Lewis
4.0 out of 5 stars New Mythology
This collaboration between Roger Zelazny and Jane Lindskold, while not entirely seamless, is very smooth. Read more
Published on May 18 2001 by James K. Burk
5.0 out of 5 stars LOVE THIS BOOK!
Roger was a master of the planes. He wrote of heroes and gods who transcended space and time and realities. Read more
Published on Aug. 24 2000 by Xoandre
5.0 out of 5 stars Duel with Death...and win!
Roger and I had a complex and difficult relationship. For years he made light of me, gave me the bum's rush and the cold shoulder, even compared me to Tokyo Bay. Read more
Published on March 7 2000 by Death
3.0 out of 5 stars Not up to snuff!
I really wanted to like this book. I was a big fan of the Amber series and thoroughly enjoyed his writing. Read more
Published on Sept. 22 1998 by dittmer@value.net
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