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Lord of Light

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Book Overview

"Funny, wise, and infused with a sense of wonder and knowledge....Nobody else made myths real and valuable in the way Roger Zelazny could."--Neil Gaiman Lord of Light is a classic tale of the far... This description may be from another edition of this product.

Customer Reviews

6 ratings

The best written by one of the greats + adored by Neil Gaiman!

An exceptional telling of a timeless tale concerning love, life, freedom, responsibility and THE fundamental question we all face ~> what do I want bad enough to sacrifice everything. Smoothly told with elegant prose and no small amount of certifiably huge ideas reduced to accessible & understandable scenarios. My favorite fiction book Not Written by William S. Burroughs! Order. Read. Enjoy! Cheers from Texas, Billy ๐Ÿดโ€โ˜ ๏ธ๐Ÿ’š๐Ÿณ๏ธโ€๐ŸŒˆ๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ฆ๐Ÿ––โœŒ๏ธ

Difficult but incredibly rewarding classic

This Hugo award-winning science fiction classic turns the usual technological approach to the genre on its head. "Lord of Light" reads much more like fantasy than science fiction, and like Frank Herbert's classic "Dune," it's a rare example of a science-fiction novel deeply concerned with spirituality and metaphysics.It is also a difficult novel. Readers more interested in adventure or hard science fiction will find Zelazny's dense, intricate style tricky to maneuver or concentrate on. The cast is huge, and most characters either go by multiple names, or switch names and bodies as they are reincarnated. This is the sort of novel that requires focus and attention to appreciate. Those who give it the time it deserves will discover a true classic, and a strange experience unique among science-fiction books-even for Zelazny, who lead the field of the new-wave authors of the 1960s.The story follows the inhabitants of an Earth-colonized planet long after Earth has ceased to exist. The colonial leaders have developed the technology to turn themselves into god-like figures, based on Hinduism, and rule the lesser people in a metaphysical tyranny. The hero, Sam (only one of his many names, such a Buddah) returns from banishment to lead the struggle to free the people and spread technology to make everyone "gods." He finds strange allies along the road, including the original alien inhabitants of the planet, known as Rakashas (demons) in the pseudo-religion invented by the rulers. In a short space, a great deal happens and Sam wages both war and peace against the "gods.""Lord of Light" is definitely a trip...and milestone in science fiction, but it isn't for the casual fan. People interested in religion and veteran science-fiction readers will get the most out of it, and should definitely get themselves a copy. For somewhat more accessible Zelazny books to start with, try "Damnation Alley" or his large fantasy series, "The Books of Amber"-but you'll need to visit "Lord of Light" eventually; it's his best novel.


Occasionally a science-fiction book is written that reminds everyone why the genre is so important. A book so extraordinary, so inventive, so full of wit, imagination and intriguing possibility that it just shines out of every page.Lord of Light is such a book.Here in the UK, it has recently been one of the first books to be re-released in the 'SF Masterworks' series. Not only does it fully derve this title, it stands head and shoulders above most of the other titles on this list and indeed all of Zelazny's extensive back-catalogue. Put as simply as possible, the story is one of the way in which ideological factions diverge and conflict over the human colonisation of a distant planet,how over a long time the differences within the human society - and between humans and the indigenous inhabitants - become fossilised and reconstructed into a parody or recreation of Hindu myths, and finally how this decadent parody is challenged from within by one of the original colonists - Mahasamatman, or Sam, the Lord of Light - who takes on the form of the Buddha. Around this central tale, Zelazny manages to weave so many themes. It is a sensitive and compassionate re-imagining of Hindu mytholology, yet aware of the shortcomings and the challenge posed to traditional Hinduism by Buddhist teachings. It is a tale of technologically-facilitated decadence and moral decline, of the way in which technical abilities can become more important than the purposes for which they were developed. It is a fable about how inequality and class division emerge, are structured, fossilized and challenged. It is story of memory and forgetting, of how history can be constantly rewritten -consciously and unconsciously - by the powerful, and lost to the weak. It is a classic tragedy, the oldest story of all: hubris, nemesis and catharsis. Zelazny not only manages all these themes with seemingly effortless structural ability, but also produces lush and stylish prose entirely appropriate to the parodic Hindu world, which is a joy to read. Everyone should read this whether you think you like sci-fi or not. Lord of Light is a unique and extraordinary creation and I don't think I am exaggerating in describing it as one of the greatest and most original acheivements in Twentieth Century literature.

Characters you'll love, a plot that moves...

This is one of the greatest Science Fiction books ever written. Most of the reviewers and I agree on that. I'd like to point out three areas that make this book special. 1. Characters--Zelazny gives us a range of characters that we can love, sympathize with, and suffer with. Sam, of course. For me, though, Sugata--the assassin turned enlightened one was even more real and powerful. Yama the deathgod was, in many ways, the real hero. Ever-faithful Tak. I could go on. The point is that each of these characters is fully developed and realized. This isn't a one dimensional book.(2) the plot. It's exciting yet complex. The use of flashbacks makes it hard to follow from time to time (you have to read this more than once), but it's big and it draws you in. You want Sam to win even when you know he can't.(3) the religion--the intellectual and moral battle (as well as the physical and magical battles) between Hinduism and Budhism are so compelling that I researched both religions after reading this.I just re-read LORD OF LIGHT (all right, I'm not sure what number it is any more) and it's every bit as powerful as it was when I first read it decades ago. Zelazny's best--and that's saying a lot.

Lord Of Write

Lord Of Light was first published in 1967. It proceeded to win the Hugo award as best novel. In this book Zelazny demonstates his amazing gift of character creation and writing stylization that make this novel seem at times to be almost one long poetic dream on par with "Xanadu". His writing style combined with the imagery set forth in this masterwork to create a totally believable tale, for it deals with the struggle of man to ovrcome his baser self as well as his opressive fellow man. As a personal note I must say that this is by far my favorite single novel by Mr. Zelazney. It's blending of hard SF with the Hindu religion is seamlessly done, and of course it was an inspired choice to set the Buddha in the role of prime antagonist, allied with Death Himself. The rich scene settings only add to the over all depth of this amazing story. This is truly one of the milestones of SF writing, a must read for anyone interested in the genre.

A book of surpassing significance and great humanity

Hyperbole piled upon superalative. Yet even so, the reviewers barely mark the depth and narrative scope of this most meaningful of novels. Lord of Light is science fiction in genre only. A deeply humanistic novel examing the forces affecting the common man/woman, a secular novel questioning the mealy mouthed hypocrisy presenting itself as "true religion", a religious novel challenging the pat truisms passing themselves off as "science", it is all of these things and more.Zelazny's mastery of the written word and soul-deep understanding of the human condition vie for supremacy in this, perhaps his finest, novel. Those who have not yet read it are far, far luckier than those of us who have...maybe many times so. A joyous voyage through the subtle, textured vagaries of Zelazny's world view lies ahead. An art and artifice yet unexperienced-- a young lover's first kiss. I envy them.This is politics, religion, philosophy, comedy, tragedy, and triumph of the highest caliber. The reviewer who compared it to "Dune" was 100% on target. Lord of Light belongs with the greats of western literature. Perhaps I should say world literature but I am uneducated in meaningful works of other languages, thus unqualified to judge.To pigeonhole this work as science-fiction/fantasy, accurate though it may be, is equivalent to labeling "Hamlet" historical fiction. It is that and so, so much more. I read far to much to re-read books of fiction. I live far to little to read Lord of Light only once.

Lord of Light Mentions in Our Blog

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