A Night in the Lonesome October is not Roger Zelazny’s final novel1, but it was written in a decade when he mainly focused on collaborations. It was the last novel he wrote without a partner.
It’s also pretty good, which is fortunate for me because I would hate to have to write a Graveyard Orbit review of an author’s last book if that book was … ah … not up to their usual high standards.
Every year, in the month leading up to the last full moon in October, two factions—the Openers and the Closers—gather to determine the course of the world for the next year. It is in their power to determine which eldritch gates will be opened or very firmly closed.
In 18872, that last full moon fell on Halloween, which, one must admit, is a very good date on which to determine the fate of the world.
The participants are not always named, but they are all archetypes with whom readers will be familiar: the brilliant professor and his Monster, the Balkan aristocrat with an affinity for bats and a dislike of sunshine, the mad Russian Monk, the Great Detective, and of course the Londoner Jack and his marvellously sharp knife.
But this story isn’t about Jack. It’s about his dog, Snuff.