Wizard World Critical Essays

Roger Zelazny


(Critical Survey of Science Fiction and Fantasy)

Roger Zelazny originally planned at least three books in the series. Changeling and Madwand were to be completed by Deathmasque. Until his death, it was thought that he might well finish the series with one or more books; he did, after all, complete the “Dilvish, the Damned” stories after a twelve-year hiatus.

Little has been written about either Changeling or Madwand. One review described Changeling as a good, competent novel but not up to Zelazny’s best work. These novels nevertheless are important in Zelazny’s career, marking a conscious effort to return to using myth, a predominant aspect of his earliest, and some feel his best, work. In Changeling, he uses the myth of the twins to provide structure. In the prototypic story, twins acquire great powers, abuse them, and become sickened or frightened of the power of power itself to corrupt. Either they agree to live in a state of permanent rest or one of them dies. Either resolution reestablishes the equilibrium of the remaining individual and the community. The plot of Changeling is Zelazny’s version of that prototypic story.

Madwand carries Pol’s personality development to the next logical level. Like Ged in Ursula K. Le Guin’s A Wizard of Earthsea (1968) and Mickey Mouse in Walt Disney’s film Fantasia (1940), Pol is the sorcerer’s apprentice, participating in an involved and symbolic rebirth and learning to discipline his...

(The entire section is 621 words.)