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5.0 out of 5 stars Bits and pieces, variable... but it's *Zelazny*!
The title of this collection of short stories is very apt for those of us who long ago devoured all Roger Zelazny's novels and better-known shorts, and began looking around (in growing desperation) for our next fix. Copyright 2003, "Manna from Heaven" runs to about 240 pages and includes five (very) short stories from the Amber series, plus another 17 miscellaneous shorts...
Published on 6 April 2010 by T. D. Welsh

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3.0 out of 5 stars So-so collection
If you're a Zelazny fan, you will buy this because of the short stories about Amber. They all take place after the last Amber stories; clearly Zelazny was thinking about another Amber series. The exception is a couple of pages which describe Merlin's first trip through the Logrus. All these Amber items are tantalising, but ultimately add little. That said, anyone who...
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Bits and pieces, variable... but it's *Zelazny*!, 6 April 2010
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T. D. Welsh (Basingstoke, Hampshire UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Manna from Heaven (Hardcover)
The title of this collection of short stories is very apt for those of us who long ago devoured all Roger Zelazny's novels and better-known shorts, and began looking around (in growing desperation) for our next fix. Copyright 2003, "Manna from Heaven" runs to about 240 pages and includes five (very) short stories from the Amber series, plus another 17 miscellaneous shorts ranging in length from one page to 37. There is also the brief prologue from the original edition of "Trumps of Doom" (one of the Amber series), which was previously available only in a limited edition of that book.

"Blue Horse, Dancing Mountains" briefly shows us Corwin some time after the cosmic showdown depicted in "The Courts of Chaos", when he declined the throne of Amber, engaged in an epic hellride on a sentient horse (reminiscent of Dilvish the Damned's Black). "Hall of Mirrors" carries this storyline forward a long way, with Corwin and Luke meeting in Castle Amber, only to find themselves under an enchantment and forced to duel to the death. "The Salesman's Tale" focuses on Luke, while he waits for Corwin's return and their fated clash. "The Shroudling and the Guisel" describes Merlin's unexpected meeting with an old flame (the shroudling of the title) and a virtually indestructible monster (the guisel) which has been sent to kill him. Last but not least, "Coming to a Cord" is told from the point of view of Frakir, Merlin's sentient strangling-cord, and takes up the story when Merlin's own guisel, homing in on the sorcerer who tried to assassinate him, oozes out through a mirror in Castle Amber itself. This story ends with a characteristic Zelazny aside, which serves very well to sum up the whole Amber series. "What do you think is going on, anyway?" Some horrible Wagnerian thing, I told him, full of blood, thunder, and death for us all. "Oh, the usual," Luke said. Exactly, I replied.

The other 17 stories are a mixed bag, covering a full three decades from the mid-1960s right up to Zelazny's death in 1995. The ones that impressed me most were "Come Back to the Killing Ground, Alice My Love", "Mana from Heaven", "Godson", and to some extent "The Furies" and "Kalifriki of the Thread" - although I have a feeling that I had read them all previously (with the possible exception of "Godson"). All five of those are good, solid tales written with genuine Zelazny ingenuity and flair, but for my money "Come Back to the Killing Ground..." is easily the best. A sequel to "Kalifriki of the Thread", it features a professional killer and troubleshooter who has domesticated a cosmic string. Very few writers other than Zelazny - perhaps none at all - could seamlessly combine the genres of serial murder, fantasy, detection, and science fiction so convincingly in a mere 37 pages. Those who read and appreciated "The Dream Master" may see a development of its themes in "Come Back to the Killing Ground..." "Mana from Heaven" (not a misspelling, rather a pun) is another fascinating adventure, about an undercover sorcerer who suddenly finds, when confronted by a pillar of fire, that his cover has been blown. But he doesn't know which of his colleagues wants him dead - and asking around could prove instantly fatal.

The remaining dozen stories are less satisfying, although some of them have the ring of genuine Zelazny. Others seem more like more or less tentative experiments. However, if you like Zelazny - or science fantasy and SF - you will find this book worth the investment of time and money.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Manna fro heaven, 28 Sep 2013
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This review is from: Manna from Heaven (Hardcover)
I bought this book for my husband's birthday. He has always been a sci-fi fan and has said that this is a good book to read.
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3.0 out of 5 stars So-so collection, 13 July 2013
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This review is from: Manna from Heaven (Hardcover)
If you're a Zelazny fan, you will buy this because of the short stories about Amber. They all take place after the last Amber stories; clearly Zelazny was thinking about another Amber series. The exception is a couple of pages which describe Merlin's first trip through the Logrus. All these Amber items are tantalising, but ultimately add little. That said, anyone who read the John Bettancourt prequels will be relieved to see how Zelazny did it properly. The other stories did not linger in my mind, but were, I felt, rather better than the Amber stuff. I didn't regret buying it, anyway.
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Manna from Heaven
Manna from Heaven by Roger Zelazny (Hardcover - 10 Nov 2003)
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