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Lord of Light Paperback – March 30, 2010
A network of beacons allows ships to travel across the Milky Way at beyond the speed of light. The beacons are built to be robust. They never fail. At least, they aren't supposed to. Learn more
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From the Back Cover
Earth is long since dead. On a colony planet, a band of men has gained control of technology, made themselves immortal, and now rules their world as the gods of the Hindu pantheon. Only one dares oppose them: he who was once Siddhartha and is now Mahasamatman. Binder of Demons. Lord of Light.
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Top Customer Reviews
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.Read more ›
From this opening, the books shifts to a series of tales, in flashback form, recounting Sam's past and explaining the history of the battles among the gods. Although these divine rulers share the names and personae of the Hindu pantheon, it soon becomes apparent that the "gods" are simply the original colonists who came from Earth millennia earlier, who keep the planet's present occupants in a sort of medieval fiefdom, and who have acquired immortality by transmigrating from body to body. But there is an ongoing struggle in "heaven" between the Accelerationists (led by Sam), who want to share technology with the rest of mankind, and the Deicrats, those gods who want to maintain their lives of luxury and oppression.
Many of the earlier chapters are told in the form of disjointed legends, but halfway into the book the pace evolves into a continuous storyline. Those readers who argue that "Lord of Light" belongs to the fantasy genre more than to science fiction have a point: beyond the futuristic technology practiced by the "gods" (which is more of a sideshow than a major plot element), the novel's prose style, structure, characters, and action resemble what you'd find in many a medieval saga.Read more ›
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.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
The story and style of presentation have stood up over time. This novel by Zelazny is probably my favorite one of his.
The actual physical book was a little musty smelling. Read more
This is a wonderfully imaginative story. It moves quickly and is full of rich, well developed characters. Read morePublished 3 months ago by Mark Brower
Loved it. It blows my mind how good all these scifi books written in the 60's are. If you like the Book of Amber I think you'll like this as well.Published 6 months ago by persiaprince
Bought this for my daughter, who is interested in Eastern philosophy. Been a fan of Zelazny's for decades, & wanted to share this one with her.Published 6 months ago by Gloria N. Edwards
Which of these words best describes the mood?
Hopeful Dark Nostalgic Light-hearted Suspenseful Thoughtful
Ummm all of the above
My favorite sci-fi book ever. I read every couple of years.Published 7 months ago by Amazon Customer