[For the October 6th highlight, click here.]
And on the seventh night, Zelazny adds a lot of new information to the storyline of his novel. Rules of the Game are clarified: when Snuff discovers the rat Bubo inside Jack’s residence, the dog tells the intruder that “entering another player’s home without invitation lays you open to immediate reprisal.” Bubo redeems himself somewhat by leading Snuff to the ruined crypt where the Count (Dracula?) allegedly goes to ground each day. Later, our narrator Snuff reveals that “with midnight’s chimes speech comes to me”: he is able to converse with his master Jack, catching up on recent events and discussing Game strategy. At chapter’s end, Snuff also mentions that when he lies down to sleep, he can visit someone/something named “Growler, for a workshop in advanced stalking.” For me, though, the best part of the October 7th segment occurs at the start of the chapter. Noting that Jack went out overnight to gather further ingredients for the “Great Work,” Snuff says: “Why his list of materials required the edge of a green cloak worn by a red-haired lady on this date at midnight and removed while still upon her person, I am uncertain. Magical rotas sometimes strike me as instructions for lunatic scavenger hunts.” That last line perfectly captures the sense of whimsy that Zelazny brings to this dark fantasy narrative, as he craftily combines the occult with the comedic.