Roger Zelazny specializes in devil-may-care, chain-smoking, hard-drinking, appealing young men and his "Doorways in the Sand" features Fred Cassidy, the eternal undergraduate with a very strong case of acrophilia--he loves to climb things. We meet him as he drops into the third-floor office of his latest advisor---through the window of course. Fred has gone through many advisors in his twelve-year stint as an undergraduate--his late uncle's estate will only support him up to the moment when he is awarded a degree--but this particular advisor seems to have a grudge against him. He thinks he has Fred trapped in a schedule that will force him to graduate.
Fred manages to escape the dread specter of graduation one more time by signing up for field work in Australia, a literature course on troubadours, and two hours credit for advanced basket weaving.
He has other problems, though. There are the strange messages that sometimes appear as sky-writing: "DO YOU SMELL ME DED?" His old roommate gets married, and when Fred attempts to lure a newer, more beautiful model into his apartment, she bolts upon encountering a state of total dishevelment. It's not Fred's fault. Someone has done a thorough job of ransacking his digs. Furthermore, that someone is now waiting for him in his bedroom closet.
Where is the starstone, Fred?
Many shootings, beatings, narrow escapes, eccentric professors, and aliens-on-a-mission later, we (and Fred) finally discover the missing starstone.
Fred's nasty, pipe-smoking advisor finally figures out a way to make him graduate.
Then Fred's adventures really begin.
"Doorways in the Sand" is vintage Zelazny, which is to say it is like taking a course in philosophy while crawling about between the gargoyles on the cathedral of Life, dodging the slings and death-rays of outrageous villains, some of them bug-eyed monsters. This author makes you smile, engage in a bit of late-night philosophizing over a few cold ones, and root wildly for his cocky-but-likeable heroes.