[For the October 12th highlight, click here.]
The thirteenth segment of Zelazny’s novel introduces a new character who seems hellbent on bringing misfortune to the rest of the cast. Vicar Roberts, “convinced there’s something unnatural in the neighborhood,” has taken “to running about the parish by night, armed with a crossbow and a quiver of bolts–‘flying stakes.'” His religious rampage sends the bat Needle desperately seeking sanctuary at Jack and Snuff’s residence, and the vicar shows up on the doorstep soon thereafter, ranting (Snuff says) about “Creatures of the Night and Unholy Practices and Living Blasphemies and Things Like That.” Vicar Roberts is presented as a religious zealot, but his claim “to have had a vision concerning a society of wretched individuals and their familiars preparing for some big psychic event which will place them at odds with each other and threaten the safety of humanity” isn’t dismissed as delusion. Instead, it leads Snuff to comment: “I wonder what busybody sent him that vision?” The suggestion of the sinister subterfuge to which players are willing to resort in order to seize advantage over their opponents in the Game clearly emerges, in my estimation, as the highlight of this night.