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Lord of Light by Roger Zelazny
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Lord of Light (original 1967; edition 2018)

by Roger Zelazny (Author)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
4,191901,883 (4.04)151
Imagine a distant world where gods walk as men, but wield vast and hidden powers. Here they have made the stage on which they build a subtle pattern of alliance, love, and deadly enmity. Are they truly immortal? Who are these gods who rule the destiny of a teeming world? Their names include Brahma, Kali, Krishna and also he who was called Buddha, the Lord of Light, but who now prefers to be known simply as Sam. The gradual unfolding of the story -- how the colonization of another planet became a re-enactment of Eastern mythology -- is one of the great imaginative feats of modern science fiction.… (more)
Member:NeoWayland
Title:Lord of Light
Authors:Roger Zelazny (Author)
Info:Amber Ltd (2018), 292 pages
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Work details

Lord of Light by Roger Zelazny (Author) (1967)

  1. 61
    The Lathe of Heaven by Ursula K. Le Guin (storyjunkie)
    storyjunkie: Both books carry a philosophical weight to their world-saving. A similar atmosphere to their protagonists, worlds, and occupancy of a more soul-searching lot in the science fiction spectrum make them nicely complementary to each other.
  2. 20
    Creatures of Light and Darkness by Roger Zelazny (PMaranci)
    PMaranci: Another award-winning novel by Roger Zelazny in which science fiction and classic Earth mythology intertwine.
  3. 20
    The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula K. Le Guin (WildMaggie)
  4. 00
    The Quantum Thief by Hannu Rajaniemi (Lucy_Skywalker)
  5. 11
    The Years of Rice and Salt by Kim Stanley Robinson (LamontCranston)
  6. 00
    Gather, darkness! by Fritz Leiber (LamontCranston)
    LamontCranston: The same premise of advanced science mimicking religion
  7. 00
    Shield by Poul Anderson (MinaKelly)
  8. 00
    WebMage by Kelly McCullough (aqualectrix)
  9. 00
    Cybermancy by Kelly McCullough (aqualectrix)
  10. 12
    Silverlock by John Myers Myers (boneslv)
    boneslv: It also has many famous literary characters in it.
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» See also 151 mentions

English (88)  Spanish (1)  Italian (1)  All languages (90)
Showing 1-5 of 88 (next | show all)
Such a promising concept and landscape yet the execution and writing style was confusing for me. Could not enjoy the story-line with many characters changing names it was hard to follow up on what is going on. ( )
  hivetrick | Feb 22, 2020 |
This has a deceptively simple plot - it's about a war between two opposing factions, one in favour of progress, one who wants to stay entrenched in tradition. But in reality it's so much more complex and imaginative. The use of Hindu mythology and the Buddha, the notion of science making gods out of regular people, the wonderful use of flashbacks to tell the story... just about everything in this book is unique from sci-fi and fantasy from the same era. With fully rounded characters on top, there's not much to dislike about this book. ( )
  Fardo | Oct 15, 2019 |
one of the best ( )
  ngalley | Feb 9, 2019 |
This book is a masterpiece. A definite reading choice for SF (and maybe fantasy) fans. However, it asks for a mature reader. Not in terms of sex and gore (there is not much of either compared to many current novels) but in terms of person development. At least in my case. I’ve read a Russian translation some 20 years ago and it left me cold: some strange mix of Hinduism and Buddhism, no plain answers about what’s happening and almost no blaster-shooting adventure, meh… now I see how wrong I was.
In the strange world, woven from Hindu mythos a hero returns.
“His followers called him Mahasamatman and said he was a god. He preferred to drop the Maha- and the -atman, however, and called himself Sam. He never claimed to be a god. But then, he never claimed not to be a god. Circumstances being what they were, neither admission could be of any benefit.” ( )
1 vote Oleksandr_Zholud | Jan 9, 2019 |
Inspired tale of the future (past?) where technology has reached a level allowing the select few seamless reincarnation in new bodies, weapons of incredibly destructive potential and vast potential for knowledge (and at times wisdom). Very interesting in that it makes a clear case for the mythical gods we know from the Vedas simply being humans who have lived long enough to slowly start aligning with archetypal patterns within nature. It also ties in very strongly with the sentiment from Erik Von Däniken's "Chariots of the Gods" which was published and written concurrently the "Lord of Light" in that there are several passages in the book directly drawing upon the Vedas.

Finally I believe that the books death god, Yama, is modelled directly on Oppenheimer (who in turn perhaps modelled himself on Arjuna, the hero of the Bhagavad-Gita who had access to the Brahmastra weapon which has the capability of destroying the world).

Must definitely worth a read though some of the transitions within the story line are rather opaque; the first half is by far the clearest. ( )
1 vote 8bitmore | Dec 15, 2018 |
Showing 1-5 of 88 (next | show all)
As opening lines of novels go, Lord of Light's are among the best I've ever read, and based on how many people have quoted them to me in the last few weeks, the best a lot of you have ever read, too. In twenty-five words, they capture the best-loved aspects of the book — the seamless blend of antiquated cadence and insouciant modern vernacular, of modest sincerity and dry humor — and more, they tell us, in part, what the story is about.
added by lorax | editio9, Josh Wimmer (May 9, 2010)
 
Fantasy disguised as science fiction disguised as fantasy: Roger Zelazny's Lord of Light
added by sturlington | editTor.com, Jo Walton (Nov 9, 2009)
 

» Add other authors (16 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Zelazny, RogerAuthorprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Goodfellow, PeterCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Jensen, BruceCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Johnson, MichaelCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Stone, StevenCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Walotsky, RonCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
White, TimCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
Dedication
To Dannie Plachta,
of friendship, wisdom, soma.
First words
It is said that fifty-three years after his liberation he returned from the Golden Cloud to take up once again the gauntlet of Heaven, to oppose the Order of Life and the gods who ordained it so.
Quotations
Names are not important... To speak is to name names, but to speak is not important. A thing happens once that has never happened before. Seeing it, a man looks upon reality. He cannot tell others what he has seen. Others wish to know, however, so they question him saying, 'What is it like, this thing you have seen?' So he tries to tell them. Perhaps he has seen the very first fire in the world. He tells them, 'It is red, like a poppy, but through it dance other colors. It has no form, like water, flowing everywhere. It is warm, like the sun of summer, only warmer. It exists for a time upon a piece of wood, and then the wood is gone, as though it were eaten, leaving behind that which is black and can be sifted like sand. When the wood is gone, it too is gone.' Therefore, the hearers must think reality is like a poppy, like water, like the sun, like that which eats and excretes. They think it is like to anything that they are told it is like by the man who has known it. But they have not looked upon fire. They cannot really know it. They can only know of it. But fire comes again into the world, many times. More men look upon fire. After a time, fire is as common as grass and clouds and the air they breathe. They see that, while it is like a poppy, it is not a poppy, while it is like water, it is not water, while it is like the sun, it is not the sun, and while it is like that which eats and passes wastes, it is not that which eats and passes wastes, but something different from each of these apart or all of these together. So they look upon this new thing and they make a new word to call it. They call it 'fire.'"If they come upon one who still has not seen it and they speak to him of fire, he does not know what they mean. So they, in turn, fall back upon telling him what fire is like. 'As they do so, they know from their own experience that what they are telling him is not the truth, but only a part of it. They know that this man will never know reality from their words, though all the words in the world are theirs to use. He must look upon the fire, smell of it, warm his hands by it, stare into its heart, or remain forever ignorant. Therefore, 'fire' does not matter, 'earth' and 'air' and 'water' do not matter. 'I' do not matter. No word matters. But man forgets reality and remembers words. The more words he remembers, the cleverer do his fellows esteem him. He looks upon the great transformations of the world, but he does not see them as they were seen when man looked upon reality for the first time. Their names come to his lips and he smiles as he tastes them, thinking he knows them in the naming. The thing that has never happened before is still happening. It is still a miracle. The great burning blossom squats, flowing, upon the limb of the world, excreting the ash of the world, and being none of these things I have named and at the same time all of them, and this is reality — the Nameless.
I have many names, and none of them matter.
It is said that fifty-three years after his liberation he returned from the Golden Cloud, to take up once again the gauntlet of Heaven, to oppose the Order of Life and the gods who ordained it so. His followers had prayed for his return, though their prayers were sin. Prayer should not trouble one who has gone on to Nirvana, no matter what the circumstances of his going. The wearers of the saffron robe prayed, however, that He of the Sword, Manjusri, should come again among them, The Boddhisatva is said to have heard...
His followers called him Mahasamatman and said he was a god. He preferred to drop the Maha- and the -atman, and called himself Sam. He never claimed to be a god. But then, he never claimed not to be a god. Circumstances being what they were, neither admission could be of any benefit. Silence, though, could.
It was in the days of the rains that their prayers went up, not from the fingering of knotted prayer cords or the spinning of prayer wheels, but from the great pray-machine in the monastery of Ratri, goddess of the Night.
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