Love Is an Imaginary Number by Roger Zelazny

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"Love Is an Imaginary Number" is a 1966 science fiction short story by Roger Zelazny. It is about a renegade who can shift through time and space.

Have you ever read The Chronicles of Amber? It is a very cool series of books and stories by Mr. Zelazny. I haven’t read all of them, but this story sure reminded me of that series. I looked several places to see if this one was actually part of the series, but I didn’t find any information. Do you know if it is? If you have any information about that please let me know.

Non-Spoiler Summary

Castle Howard by alh1, CC 2.0 license

The protagonist of this story has been duped! He has been brainwashed and trapped with a beautiful, awesome wife in the modern world. (I know, that sounds like real torture doesn’t it. đŸ˜‰ ) However, when he realizes what has happened he instantly flees. No sooner than he leaves his driveway is he pursued by the others – the ones who put him here in the first place. As they gain on him our man tries to outwit them by shifting through time, space and realities – but he doesn’t have much luck as they keep right on pursuing him. Finally he comes to a spot where he can make a stand, and is surprised by who actually shows up.

My Two Cents

  • Story: 4 stars – A very cool and unique story! It took a little bit to figure out what was happening, but I loved the way it was laid out. My only beef was that it was so short!
  • Writing: 4 stars – Well written, and in classic Zelazny fashion too. Can’t complain about that!
  • Fun Factor: 5 stars – Totally fun to read, and not a slow moment in it!

Where To Find Love Is an Imaginary Number

  • This short story was first published in the January 1966 edition (#158) of New Worlds.
  • You can read "Love Is an Imaginary Number" for free online at
  • It is also included in Zelazny’s famous collection The Doors of His Face, The Lamps of His Mouth.

Craving More SF Stories Like This One?

If you enjoyed "Love Is an Imaginary Number" then you might like “A Rose for Ecclesiastes” which is also by Roger Zelazny – about a gifted linguist who is the first human allowed to read sacred Martian texts.

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