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Lord of Light by Roger Zelazny

Lord of Light (original 1967; edition 2004)

by Roger Zelazny

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3,755771,386 (4.08)120
Title:Lord of Light
Authors:Roger Zelazny
Info:Harper Voyager (2004), Paperback, 304 pages
Collections:Your library

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Lord of Light by Roger Zelazny (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
    The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula K. Le Guin (WildMaggie)
  3. 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.
  4. 00
    The Quantum Thief by Hannu Rajaniemi (Lucy_Skywalker)
  5. 00
    Gather, darkness! by Fritz Leiber (LamontCranston)
    LamontCranston: The same premise of advanced science mimicking religion
  6. 00
    Shield by Poul Anderson (MinaKelly)
  7. 00
    WebMage by Kelly McCullough (aqualectrix)
  8. 00
    Cybermancy by Kelly McCullough (aqualectrix)
  9. 12
    Silverlock by John Myers Myers (boneslv)
    boneslv: It also has many famous literary characters in it.
  10. 01
    The Years of Rice and Salt by Kim Stanley Robinson (LamontCranston)

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English (75)  Spanish (1)  Italian (1)  All (77)
Showing 1-5 of 75 (next | show all)
What an amazing book! I had started it in college when I bought it as part of joining the Science Fiction book club (remember those days? 8 books for $1, and then you could buy more every month for cheap? A great way to start a library, and there are probably some books on my shelf from those days that are long out of print. Sadly. So this book was one of the buys, and I know I started it in the late 80's/early 90's, because the book jacket was in between pages 9 and 10. And it's definitely one I understand much, much better now than I did then. It's a series of short stories based on the premise that humanity has left Earth and settled on another planet. They have displaced the original inhabitants, here referred to as demons (an air/fire non-corporeal life form) and set themselves up as the pantheon of Hindu dieties. And lo and behold, there is a Buddha in their midst referred to by his nickname "Sam" who challenges the soveriegnty of the Dieties. They have set up temples where death and re-birth are pre-programmed for all who die, even them, and the Dieties take on Aspects that are directly sourced from their chosen Diety: Kali brings destruction, Brahma is the most noble, Yama is the death god, Taska is the archivist (always appears as a monkey), etc. And interwoven within the short stories are hints of the history of the Dieties as well as the conflict between them and the task Sam has set for himself: to destroy the hold that the Dieties have on the human inhabitants of this new planet so that the humans can evolve some basic technology instead of living constantly in the Dark Ages.

The language is the other gripping aspect of this book and it kept me going, even when a story seemed to drag (some do near the end when the wars heat up between the Dieties) or when an individual or a Diety is going through a new story that is almost incomprehensible. I just ease into a well-written book whose language is well-used, sort of the way one would ease into a nice, warm bath. This is one of the best and I am very glad Zelazny did his research and just stood back to see where his imagined/researched characters would go on their new journeys." ( )
1 vote threadnsong | Jun 18, 2016 |
I found this a bit confusing and jumbled... chock full of ideas, but the characters did feel interchangeable... ( )
  jkdavies | Jun 14, 2016 |
If this book was published today, it might be quite problematic. In the 60s? Perhaps forward thinking--I'm not sure.

It was enjoyable, but I'm not sure the ending worked as well as he wanted it to. ( )
  adamwolf | Jun 7, 2016 |
Zelazny had a style all his own. I wish he were still around giving us more of his unique take on things. Lord of Light is a somewhat challenging yet rewarding read. The fractured timeline adds to early confusion as we start near the end with the back-story subsequently told in flashback form over the next 2/3 of the book. Populated by memorable characters and humorous situations, this is a seminal work of sci-fi/fantasy.

Highly recommended. ( )
  ScoLgo | Jun 6, 2016 |
A fabulous book ...re-read many many times.  Highly recommended! ( )
1 vote GeetuM | Jun 3, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 75 (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 (15 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Roger Zelaznyprimary authorall editionscalculated
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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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.
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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A new trade paperback edition of the late science-fiction master's Hugo Award-winning classic, telling of a band of men who through technology made themselves immortal.

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