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308 .

-Good to have you back. How was your vacation, Jack?

-Oh. Fine. Real fine.

-Meet any nice girls?

-A few.


-And here you are again. Did you miss things?

-You. know it. How does this haul look to you?

-Easy, for us. I've already reviewed the course pro- grams.

-Let's run over the systems.

-Check. Care for some coffee?

-That'd be nice.

A small unit descended on his left, stopping within easy reach of his mortal hand. He opened its door. A bulb of dark liquid rested in a rack.

-Timed your arrival. Had it ready.

-Just the way I like it, too. I almost forgot. Thanks.

Several hours later, when they lett orbit, he had al- ready switched off a number of his left-side systems. He was merged even more closely with the vessel, absorbing data at a frantic rate. Their expanded perceptions took in the near-ship vicinity and moved out to encompass the extrasolar panorama with greater than human clarity and precision. They reacted almost instantaneously to decisions great and small.

-It is good to be back together again. Jack.

--I'd say.

Morgana held him tightly. Their velocity built.

ROGER ZELAZNY burst into science fiction with his critically acclaimed story "A Rose for Ecclesiastes" in 1963.

Since then he has become a major figure in the field, winning the Hugo Award for Best Novel for This Immortal and Lord of Light and for his short stories "Unicorn Variation," "24 Views of Mt. Fuji, by Hokusai," and "Permafrost." His "Home Is the Hangman" received both the Hugo and Nebula awards; other Nebula-winning stories include "He Who Shapes" and "The Doors of His Face, The Lamps of His Mouth." Trumps of Doom, beginning a new generation of novels in Zeiazny's beloved Amber series, won the Locus Award for Best Fantasy Novel of 1986.

Mr. Zeiazny earned his B.A. in English at Western Reserve University and his M.A. at Columbia University; he worked as a claims specialist for the Social Security Administration until 1969, when he quit to write full-time.

Currently he resides in Santa Fe, New Mexico, with his wife and their three children.