Roger Zelazny made his name with a group of novellas which demonstrated just how intense an emotional charge could be generated by the stock imagery of sf; the most famous of these is A Rose for Ecclesiastes in which a poet struggles to convince dying and sterile Martians that life is worth continuing. Zelazny continued to write excellent short stories throughout his career. Most of his novels deal, one way or another, with tricksters and mythology, often with rogues who become gods, like Sam in Lord of Light, who reinvents Buddhism as a vehicle for political subversion on a colony planet.
The fantasy sequence The Amber Chronicles, which started with Nine Princes in Amber, deals with the ruling family of a Platonic realm at the metaphysical heart of things, who can slide, trickster-like through realities, and their wars with each other and the related ruling house of Chaos. Zelazny never entirely fulfilled his early promise -who could?- but he and his work were much loved, and a potent influence on such younger writers as George R. R. Martin and Neil Gaiman.
He won the Nebula award three times (out of 14 nominations) and the Hugo award six times (out of 14 nominations).