Meta: ISFDB. This novelette appeared first in The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, June 1966. It was nominated for the Hugo and Nebula in 1967. I’ve read it in The Doors of His Face, the Lamps of His Mouth and Other Stories, my review here. Zelazny wrote a spin-off novel Isle of the Dead from this novelette.
What is a Man? This philosphical question frames the story about a storm watcher steering a city on a distant planet through the perils of a storm.
Long and slow exposition where I thought that the narration would end the same. But it developed to more action contrasting the humurous, light start with a melancholical, tragical ending of this love story.
I didn’t care much for the story itself, neither for Zelazny’s answer to the philosophical question. But I loved the brilliant, little narration gems embedded in it, like the closing lines:
Years have passed, I suppose. I’m not really counting them anymore. But I think of this thing often: Perhaps there _is_ a Golden Age someplace, a Renaissance for me sometime, a special time somewhere, somewhere but a ticket, a visa, a diary-page away. I don’t know where or when. Who does? Where are all the rains of yesterday?
In the invisible city? Inside me?
It is cold and quiet outside and the horizon is infinity. There is no sense of movement.
There is no moon, and the stars are very bright, like broken diamonds, all.
I suppose it is worth re-reading and maybe I’ll care more for the story, then.