I’m still working my way through the second Amber book and Dickson’s Mission to Universe. The sequel to Nine Princes in Amber is thus far kind of reinforcing the point that BD made not too long ago, about the sons of Oberon being kind of morally ambiguous. They’re not sociopaths. They have consciences and care for one another (and others) to varying to degrees. Spoiler warning here.
Corwin deciding to spare Benedict when he could have easily finished him off and cleared a potential obstacle from his path earned an approving nod (reminiscent of when he spared Julian, though he cares much less for that particular brother) . It was also refreshing to see Gerard’s relief and touch of happiness at seeing Corwin alive and healed. Although you wouldn’t know it from his inaction when Eric had him blinded and thrown in prison to rot. Oh well, I guess we can still only expect so much loyalty and compassion from these guys.
The story is also reinforcing the whole #ShadowLivesMatter thing for me.
We learn that Oberon has had a number of brides from the shadow. From thus came his children. So the princes and princesses are at least *part* shadow? Similarly Dara is possessed of the family gifts; she can shadow shift and eventually will be able to walk the Pattern, presumably. And yet her blood is even thinner – she’s the great, great granddaughter (give or take a “great”) of one of the princes, born outside of Amber. And yet she is Substance, I suppose? Much is unclear.
Furthermore, we get to the point where Benedict races after Corwin to avenge his slaughtered servants. I don’t have all the info yet; perhaps they were concealed family members similar to Dara, and that’s why this is such a biggie to him. But if not, is it reasonable that a prince of Amber (and one of the more honorable ones, we’re told) would kill one of his brothers over a few not-quite-people?
Again, it just feels like “shadow people” are actually just people. And it feels like Corwin and at least some of his kin realize this on some level.
As for my current scifi read, two thoughts so far – when your captain tells you not to get off the ship because it could be dangerous, you should probably listen to him. Also, when you’re running low on food and the first life-supporting planet you happily encounter just happens to be a peaceful “park planet” seemingly populated entirely by walking pork chops…yeah, proceed with caution. So good on General Ben, there.
I’m really itching to get back to some Vance and maybe some Burroughs when I’m through with these, but my curiosity about Leigh Brackett may win out. I’ve also been eyeing those super short H Beam Piper, Saberhagen, and Fritz Leiber books I’ve got stacked in my room. Decisions, decisions.