Publication Year



Literature, contemporary, short stories, Zelazny, beginnings, endings


Comparative Literature | English Language and Literature | Fiction


William Shakespeare's The Tempest provides an excuse for me to talk about three short stories about the end of the world by Roger Zelazny, "Exeunt Omnes," "Fire and/or Ice," and " A Very Good Year." Juxtaposing these four stories allows me to notice something I might not have otherwise paid attention to: beginnings, endings, ant the storms which frame life as we know it. "Exeunt Omnes," at the center of Zelazny's trilogy, expropriates Shakespeare's characters to demonstrate that the same magic which caused the storm in Shakespeare's play either supports life as we know it or erases the world. The power of the perceptions of Zelazny's Prospero, not only to affect what occurs on stage, but also to reach out into the audience, further indicates a blurring of the distinction between the play and the audience. The other two short stories and The Tempest also portray crossings of these bounds. From these four texts a fiction emerges which places the lives of the characters within a cycle of stormy endings and beginnings. I ask not only what endings and beginnings are, but also what the world is, what ends when the world does, and what guides these fictional universes between the storms of commencement and conclusion.

Department 1 Awarding Honors Status

English: Literature and Writing