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Biased and superficial Science Fiction reviews

       
Lord Of Light

Copyright 1967 by Roger Zelazny

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SOJALS rating:     
one SOJALS point one SOJALS point one SOJALS point one SOJALS point one SOJALS point    Perfect (5/5)

I first read this in 1969 and most recently in March 1998.

Millennia after the death of Earth, humanity survives on a colony planet but progress has ceased. Technological reincarnation ensures that one can, if one's karma is good, live forever. Members of the original colony ship's crew seized power back in the early days and now live on as gods of a Hindu pantheon.

Some have struggled for change down through the centuries, and perhaps the time has come to try again.

Mahasamatman, Binder of Demons, Lord of Light, "Sam" to his friends, embarks once more on his crusade of freedom.

For me, this is in the all-time top ten of SF novels. Zelazny was of course brilliant, most especially in his earlier works - make a point of reading "This Immortal" or "To Die in Italbar". Of all of them, this is his most magical work with the most excellently imagined world. I even thought this on my first reading although I had gone through the whole book in a state of near-total confusion because I had been completely unaware that much of it is a flashback. To my mind this work is so much better than the "Princes of Amber" stuff he churned out in later years. Of course, I read those but always with disappointment. They lack the contrast of the technological and the ordinary against the magical and the heroic in which "Lord Of Light" luxuriates. Read this book and then go to the source and read the "Mahabarata" (or watch the the six hour video production).

OK, thirty years on (thirty years on? I can't believe this!), it may have felt a little dated and possibly not quite as mature and profound as I had believed back on the first reading, but it still rocks with a vengeance.

Play it again, Sam.

Loaded on the 18th February 2001.
    
Cover of Lord Of Light