kindle Lord of LightAuthor Roger Zelazny – Stg2bio.co

Earth is long since dead On a colony planet, a band of men has gained control of technology, made themselves immortal, and now rule 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


10 thoughts on “Lord of Light

  1. Nandakishore Varma Nandakishore Varma says:

    Prince Siddhartha attained enlightenment at the foot of the Bodhi tree and became the Buddha his teachings swept across India, striking at the roots of decadent Brahmanism The Hindu priests were understandably alarmed, but were helpless against the doctrine of the eightfold path as the stale air inside a room against the tempest raging outside So they did the clever thing after the Buddha s passing, they assimilated him and made him an avatar of Vishnu in fact, they licked him by joining hi Prince Siddhartha attained enlightenment at the foot of the Bodhi tree and became the Buddha his teachings swept across India, striking at the roots of decadent Brahmanism The Hindu priests were understandably alarmed, but were helpless against the doctrine of the eightfold path as the stale air inside a room against the tempest raging outside So they did the clever thing after the Buddha s passing, they assimilated him and made him an avatar of Vishnu in fact, they licked him by joining him Perhaps this is the fate of all reformers This much is history Roger Zelazny takes the bare bones of this story, adds the exotic ingredients of Indian myth and legend haphazardly, seasons it with the spirit of Prometheus who moved against heaven, and serves it up as a science fiction novel For people who have not tasted exotic and spicy Indian dishes at least not regularly , this is extraordinary fare indeed alas, for my jaded palate, this is quite ordinary.Zelazny writes superbly The novel is structured imaginatively as Adam Roberts says in the introduction, the author deliberately wrong foots us with the flashback The language is rich and lush and a bit cloying, like India at its exotic best or worst , seen from an Orientalist perspective In an age when characterization was almost nonexistent in SF, Zelazny gives us rounded characters who behave consistently The SF elements are also well developed and consistent with a technology so far advanced that it is indistinguishable from magic to borrow from Arthur C Clarke.That the author is well acquainted with India is obvious He knows the names of a lot of Indian gods not only the Vedic pantheon Murugan is a Tamil god From the way the Kathakali performance is described in detail, I am almost sure that Zelazny has travelled in Kerala my native place The way each god s Attribute defines him or her isor less consistent with Hindu mythology and it has been translated into scientific terms quite convincingly And the way the Rakasha the Rakshasa s and Asuras of Indian myth have been described as elemental spirits of the planet, subdued and imprisoned by the human colonisers, closely parallels the real origin of these demons in folklore.But once all the bells and whistles were removed, I found the story of a renegade god moving against the celestial dictators quite ordinary If the whole Indian pantheon were not in the story, if it was just the tale of a plain Sam s rebellion, I do not think this book would have merited a second glance at the awards It was sold under the label of exotic India, like many other orientalist offerings One might argue that this was Zeazny s intention, and that there is nothing wrong in it I would tend to agree His vision of using Indian myth to flavor a science fiction novel was at the time of its publication a bold, path breaking move Only thing is, I am not one of the intended audience I have onecaveat Zelazny mixes and matches the gods and their attributes with a free hand especially towards the end Since these are not true gods but human beings who have taken on these attributes, this is technically OK, but it soon becomes a pot pourri very difficult to follow Also, in the process, he saw many of the gods only single dimensionally this is most notable in the case of Krishna, who is seen only as a lecher.I would recommend this book for people unfamiliar with Indian mythology I am afraid those who are well read in the same may feel disappointed


  2. Kevin Kuhn Kevin Kuhn says:

    Lord of Light was published in 1967, won the Hugo in 1968, and is often considered a science fiction masterwork More than once, I have seen it referred to as a top ten all time science fiction novel and many people consider it their favorite science fiction book I believe it to be important, influencing writers such as George R R Martin and John C Wright I did not enjoy the book, finding it difficult to follow and the story failed to ever come alive in my head There is much to appreciat Lord of Light was published in 1967, won the Hugo in 1968, and is often considered a science fiction masterwork More than once, I have seen it referred to as a top ten all time science fiction novel and many people consider it their favorite science fiction book I believe it to be important, influencing writers such as George R R Martin and John C Wright I did not enjoy the book, finding it difficult to follow and the story failed to ever come alive in my head There is much to appreciate, and maybe a second read would befruitful, but I never cared about the characters and honestly had to force myself to complete it.Let s start with the positive The book has an excellent premise Humans have migrated to another world and many of the original crew call them Firsts , have not only discovered a technology that allows them to be immortal through reincarnation, but also have materially become gods They developed near magical abilities in order to fight off and eventually imprison the original inhabitants beings of pure energy Their descendants now live in a near medieval society worshiping the Firsts in the form of Hindu gods The gods ultimately control the process of reincarnation and force the population into a mind scan at the age of 60 to determine their reincarnation result People that are found unworthy largely in serving the gods may return in diseased bodies or even as animals such as primates or dogs The plot follows the main character, named Sam, who embraces Buddhism over Hinduism, and looks to give the population the same technology the gods enjoy The story is complex and nuanced Fight scenes are very well written.So, what did I dislike To begin there is a massive amount of exposition and info dumps I guess these are somewhat necessary due to the scale of the story, both in term of time, as well as world building But still, I couldn t go a chapter without feeling like I was constantly being reminded that this was a story, I almost never lost myself in the characters and the story The prose often seems intentionally obscure Characters have many names and it s likely that many subtle references around Hindu and Buddhism were lost on me We begin with a flashback, that s very thinly introduced The story meanders and for me, fails to find any strong buildup of tension or climax I must document that I read this during the beginning of the Covid 19 Global Pandemic It s a time where I m highly distracted and struggling to stay positive, which likely influences my impressions of this work As I said, a reread in the future may change my viewpoint, however, at this point in time, I m giving it 3.5 stars round up to 4 for the strong premise and cultural influences it created Imaginative and epic in scope, but also murky, and too unfocused for my tastes


  3. Lois Bujold Lois Bujold says:

    I first read this book back in the late 60s, when it was brand new and nothing like it had appeared in SF before I found it brilliant and mysterious, the latter in part because back in my teens I knew so little about the Hindu and Buddhist religions and myths Zelazny was spinning off I am at least somewhat less ignorant nowadays, if not hugely so.I still think the book is brilliant, but not nearly so mysterious It s a bit like looking at faded pictures of your parents, and realizing you are n I first read this book back in the late 60s, when it was brand new and nothing like it had appeared in SF before I found it brilliant and mysterious, the latter in part because back in my teens I knew so little about the Hindu and Buddhist religions and myths Zelazny was spinning off I am at least somewhat less ignorant nowadays, if not hugely so.I still think the book is brilliant, but not nearly so mysterious It s a bit like looking at faded pictures of your parents, and realizing you are now older than they were then One of the intellectual pleasures of this book for the reader is the putting together of the world building set up, its mysteries gradually revealed, so any thumbnail sketch of same acts as a pretty big spoiler But I want to make some comments below that depend on them, so I will do the synopsis at the end, and anyone spoiler sensitive to a half century old book can stop reading in time I was immediately, upon this reread the first in decades, and I think the first since I started my own writing career conscious of the voice, which is omniscient, with its fascinating strengths and interesting abilities to hide weaknesses Omniscient tends to be emotionally distancing, but has the advantage of being able to pack huge amounts of information into little page time, allowing for a lot of rich and relatively, because this is Zelazny, who prudently explains as little as possible detailed world building.The episodic structure, starting the story near its end and proceeding through assorted novella length flashbacks, stems from its being something of a fix up, incorporating stories that were originally sold separately to various magazines, I believe It all pulled together beautifully, however, managing to bethan the sum of its parts.The narrator s style might be described as high falutin smart ass , I suppose, florid and often beautiful language undercut by jokes and running jokes, allowing the writer to be poetic without damaging his guy street cred The sexism fairy has struck this book pretty hard in the intervening decades since my last read, I m afraid I have a high tolerance for this because I remember the original social context, and Lord of Light was hugely better than some other books of the time But the core emotional story is undoubtedly a bromance, where the two generationally dissassociated not quite rivals for a woman s love, Sam and Yama, actually end up with their most important relationship being with each other After the climax they end up off having new adventures free of any taint of domesticity, leaving the female leg of the putative love triangle entirely disempowered and put in her place Grant you, Candi Kali is a well observed example of what I have dubbed the Borderline Personality Girlfriend, which does add complexity Sam is I think correct in his evaluation that any attempt at a long term relationship with her cannot end well, and he speaks from experience But it is very convenient for the narrative that this frees our main guy pair from any on going duties in the matter It s a very blokey book Most of the chapter climaxes are epic battles, big fights to establish male male bio social dominance, aka politics For a narrative inspired by some of the ur sources of Indo European patriarchal tradition, this is actually spot on Only the few female figures who fight guy style get to share center stage for long, or else are support staff Well, it s a war story this is sort of fair.World building spoilers now The background is this alien and eerie planet was settled many generations earlier by a shipload of mainly South Asian colonists At the same time, technology was developed for electronically magically uploading personalities into new, fresh bodies, conveniently grown to adult size in vats As time went on, mutant superpowers arose among some of the colonists crew, and a cadre of same set themselves up as the Hindu pantheon, controlling reincarnation and keeping all the high tech to and for themselves Sam, our hero and formerly apparently the colony ship s engineer, given his powers over electrical phenomena is increasingly offended by this, and sets himself up as a one man but several generations long revolution against heaven, using Buddhism as his template for resistance His banner is material progress, denied by the gods who go around suppressing any tech that is discovered or rediscovered by the peons So far so good I, personally, am heavily in favor of education, flush toilets, and electricity for all.But to anyone with some biology background, the existence and maintenance of the wide spread reincarnation technology is wildly contradictory to the posited keep the masses ignorant trope I really don t see how this society, were it anything like economically realistic, could have it both ways, except by authorial fiat So the world building falls down at its central conceit.Some of the underlying SF tropes, fun as they are in context, also get the hairy eyeball from me these days The big one, of course, is the denial of biology, reproduction, and death as the substrate of human existence Death is dodged by the reincarnation tech Family and women become unimportant as one buys one s new, unrelated body from a vat, without anyone visible having to do any scut work to make it possible This embodies what seems to me a largely young male SF ideal that imagines the self as generated from one s own forehead at the age of twenty two, without any status draining obligations to any other human beings, especially women, for one s existence Very solipsistic Very common in the genre, and I don t really have a solid explanation of why it is so popular, but it has been popular for a very long time.Despite mymature reservations, I found that bits and scenes and characters and dialogue from Lord of Light have lived vividly in my memory for decades I highly recommend the book as a piece of SF history and a fun read.Ta, L And for another bit of random SF history, I note in passing that one of my copies of the book is from Gordy Dickson s library, sold off after his death


  4. Evgeny Evgeny says:

    People left the dying Earth and found a habitable planet Thanks to their advanced technology they conquered or subdued local life forms and established themselves as dominant race The highly advanced technology allowed some of them literally play gods using Hindu mythology as the basis We all know the power corrupts, so the whole system became very corrupted very fast Enter a guy who decided to change the way things work His name is Mahasamatman, or Sam for short this is how he prefers to People left the dying Earth and found a habitable planet Thanks to their advanced technology they conquered or subdued local life forms and established themselves as dominant race The highly advanced technology allowed some of them literally play gods using Hindu mythology as the basis We all know the power corrupts, so the whole system became very corrupted very fast Enter a guy who decided to change the way things work His name is Mahasamatman, or Sam for short this is how he prefers to call himself To the simple people he is much better known as Buddha, or Lord of Light Roger Zelazny attempted to create a very ambitious project a science fiction novel basically showing the emergence of Buddhism from Hinduism while preserving the philosophy of the religions He succeeded The novel won a Hugo Award for best novel I saw people call this the legendary science fiction classic just take a look at the cover of the latest paperback edition It also earned Zelazny the status of Master of science fiction and showed his practically unrivaled imagination This is not an easy read at times It is not boring, however by any definition of the world I would not call the novel to be the best introduction to Zelazny s writings, but it is a must read for any person with even the passing interest in science fiction or fantasy 5 very well deserved stars is the final rating of the classic book


  5. Jim Jim says:

    30Apr2014 ebook I m reading this with Sci fi Heroic Fantasy grouphttps www.goodreads.com topic show I like it better each time I read it It makes farsense after the first read, like so many of Zelazny s books, so I can concentrateon the variety of flavors Even knowing the ending doesn t hurt Super ending, too.Several have mentioned that the story is confusing If it s your first time reading it, be aware that he intended to publish it as a serial wrote it in 7 differe 30Apr2014 ebook I m reading this with Sci fi Heroic Fantasy grouphttps www.goodreads.com topic show I like it better each time I read it It makes farsense after the first read, like so many of Zelazny s books, so I can concentrateon the variety of flavors Even knowing the ending doesn t hurt Super ending, too.Several have mentioned that the story is confusing If it s your first time reading it, be aware that he intended to publish it as a serial wrote it in 7 different sections to fit in the magazine Parts are written in different styles, too Part 1 is Sam s present, but then he remembers back the next 5 parts are chronological until they catch up to make sense of part 1 On a first read, if you re even slightly lost, I d suggest going back rereading part one before continuing on to part 7 which continues ends the story Weird Yeah, a little, but the first part is a perfect starting point in many ways for many reasons that become clear once the story is done.Can t find an ebook version on here not sure where this one came from Oh well, I ve got a paperback copy here have given away a dozen , so I guess this bit of piracy is OK The publisher should port this to ebook format ASAP I keep a few old favorites on my device for those times when I need to start a new book during lunch or have a particularly rough day need a comfort read This is definitely one I expect I ll read it again in another handful of years, a perennial favorite.Added 31Mar11 It s fantastic that I ve read this book a dozen times or so enjoy it just as much every time I see I last read it 3.5 years ago That s a short amount of time for a re read I wasn t bored at all.Written 30Oct07 Typically, the whole story emerges slowly somewhat confusingly on the first read, but we soon realize that a starship from Earth colonizes an alien planet Fantasy meets SF as Psi powers, often enhanced by technology, allow the crew to impersonate a mutated version of the Hindu gods, lording it over the passengers Mind swapping cloning allow the old crew to become almost immortal, while the passengers are fruitful multiply, spreading across the planet forgetting their roots technology The story centers on Sam, one of the crew, retired god hero He doesn t like the new gods fights heaven through fair foul means view spoiler Even in defeat death, he wins returns, as a thorn in the heavenly side He recreates Buddhism, with himself as the Buddha He makes pacts with demons, the original inhabitants of the planet who found a different path to immortality than body swapping He even allies himself with the blackest demon of all, a Christian hide spoiler Zelazny s mix of science, religion, mysticism politics is fantastic unique, as always His hero, Sam, is insightful, mocking manipulating He subtly guides people events to his advantage, while attempting to topple the gods from their heaven The story isn t told in a straightforward manner big shock but as flashbacks for over half of it It s almost disappointing when the story flows linearly, but the action is too intense the politics too murky to confuse it through further time jumping.I ve read some criticisms of his take on the Eastern religions but, I don t think he made any mistakes He wasn t trying to recreate the religions of today, but show them in a far flung future where they were setup by a bunch power hungry people for their own base purposes He was using them as a vehicle to make his point felt justified changing them to fit.I ve worn out two copies of this book It s fantastic He s one of my favorite authors this is possibly my favorite book


  6. Dan Schwent Dan Schwent says:

    I don t even know where to start on this one Roger Zelazny solidified his position on my favorite authors list with Lord of Light It s the best writing of his that I ve come across so far The Plot Long story short, immortals from Earth set up shop on another world and assumed the guise of Hindu gods Sam, aka Buddha, Siddhartha, Kalkin, etc., opposes them in each of his lifetimes, reviving Buddhism as a tool in his quest The final confrontation doesn t disappoint.As other reviewers have sai I don t even know where to start on this one Roger Zelazny solidified his position on my favorite authors list with Lord of Light It s the best writing of his that I ve come across so far The Plot Long story short, immortals from Earth set up shop on another world and assumed the guise of Hindu gods Sam, aka Buddha, Siddhartha, Kalkin, etc., opposes them in each of his lifetimes, reviving Buddhism as a tool in his quest The final confrontation doesn t disappoint.As other reviewers have said, the story is mostly one flashback between two bookend chapters It took a little getting used to The characters of the gods were interesting I d readbooks about Lord Agni and the rest I also liked the pray o mat machines and the Accelerationists, those who wanted to give humanity advanced technology to speed their spiritual developement.All in all, it s sci fi in a fantasy wrapper telling a version of the rise of Buddhism from Hinduism It s one of the best books I read in 2009


  7. Manny Manny says:

    How Lord of Light Didn t Get WrittenRainy, black and white movie evening A 30s style cab pulls up next to a seedy entrance, where a hulking DOORMAN is on guard A FIGURE wearing a trenchcoat and a battered fedora emerges from the cab and hands the driver a bill FIGUREBogart style growlKeep the change, kid Don t blow it all at onceHis trenchcoat falls open Underneath he is dressed like THE LORD BUDDHA Reaction shot of the wide eyed DRIVER DRIVER You re the Mahasamat FIGURE Call me How Lord of Light Didn t Get WrittenRainy, black and white movie evening A 30s style cab pulls up next to a seedy entrance, where a hulking DOORMAN is on guard A FIGURE wearing a trenchcoat and a battered fedora emerges from the cab and hands the driver a bill FIGUREBogart style growlKeep the change, kid Don t blow it all at onceHis trenchcoat falls open Underneath he is dressed like THE LORD BUDDHA Reaction shot of the wide eyed DRIVER DRIVER You re the Mahasamat FIGURE Call me SamBogart style voiceoverThey always called me Mahasamatman I preferred the shorter version.SAMApproaches the entranceI need to talk to ya boss Tell him it s urgentA BEAUTIFUL WOMAN with Barbara Stanwyck hair, also in a trenchcoat, comes out of the door The DOORMAN falls back to let her through SAMVoiceoverThe moment I saw the dame, I knew she was trouble.WOMAN Hello Sam I was wondering when you d show upShe puts her arms around SAM and kisses him A moment later, twoarms come out of her trenchcoat and also wrap around him Then twoSAM suddenly takes off his fedora and pushes her away, causing two of the arms to break off We see that he is a very young but already balding WOODY ALLEN ALLENTrademark New York Jewish whineNo, I can t do this I mean, oh my God, I m betraying my cultural identity What will my analyst sayThe WOMAN angrily takes off her wig, and we see she is DIANE KEATON Twoarms break off her coat WOMAN Jesus Christ, Woody, make your mind up That s the eighth time Are we doing this movie or not VOICE OFF Cut Cut, goddammitThe picture abruptly shifts from black and white to color ALLEN is still having an anxiety attack ALLEN so maybe I should talk this through with Dr Feinstein, I mean, from the Freudian point of viewEnter the PRODUCER, a fat man smoking a cigar PRODUCER Okay Woody, we need to make a call here Don t get me wrong kid, I love your concept The Buddha as a wise cracking private dick It s great But this ain t working Any ideas ALLEN Well we could do it as a science fiction novel PRODUCER You write science fiction, kid ALLEN No but my friend Roger Zelazny doesThe PRODUCER and KEATON look at each other and shrug PRODUCER Okay, why not Tell him to come see me Monday


  8. Jan-Maat Jan-Maat says:

    There are several elements to this 1967 science fiction novel.One is Buddhism and Hinduism, about both of which I know little, but notice some influence The order of the chapters, with the first chapter dealing with events that occur much later in the narrative than the following couple of chapters, means that the story is structured as a wheel In the end is the beginning There could be a continual cycle of death and rebirth in this world with individuals moving through lives and patterns of There are several elements to this 1967 science fiction novel.One is Buddhism and Hinduism, about both of which I know little, but notice some influence The order of the chapters, with the first chapter dealing with events that occur much later in the narrative than the following couple of chapters, means that the story is structured as a wheel In the end is the beginning There could be a continual cycle of death and rebirth in this world with individuals moving through lives and patterns of events repeating themselves, however we learn that the appearance of this world is a deception The world that Zelazny creates is a deception dominated by Mara who is in part its literal creator The character of Sam is motivated by compassion for the suffering of at least the human inhabitants of the planet and teaches the possibility of escape from the cycle of rebirth.However his campaign culminates in several thoroughly uncompassionate battles which deviates I suppose from this being a Buddhist parable I feel that this undercuts the potential radicalism of the story too as it returns to a familiar storyline of good hero overthrowing evil doers through the application of violence, rather than clever application of radical new religious philosophical idea causing over generations collapse of the paradigms underpinning repressive regime.So then there is the other element which is Robinson Crusoe Given a blank canvas what sort of society do you create The world we are introduced to in this story has been settled by people from Earth The Gods who rule, well really reign over since they are largely preoccupied by their own hedonistic pastimes in a private divine realm, are the former officers of some kind of spaceship and some of their descendants The suffering population who are excluded from the hedonistic divine realm and instead are maintained in a technologically primitive condition are the descendants of the passengers This social order is maintained in part through the use of reincarnation to reward loyalty and obedience Those who question or doubt this, ahem, divine order, don t get reincarnated Mara s importance is due to his technical ability, the tools he invents that give the Gods their power The deception is that the divine ideology is underpinned by human technology The state of the mass of the population is the result of an elite policy of repression view spoiler apparently just for the sake of it, though they have a slightly fancier justification hide spoiler.This book stands out because of its Indian setting in the context of a mass of science fiction and fantasy stories that are recycled Arthurian myths and the like Although at the same time it conforms to a grand cold war narrative of unfortunate people oppressed by false ideology The internet comes up with an apt phrase attributed to various people to describe this state of affairs along the lines of the truth will set you free, but first it will make you miserable This is where I feel the book veers away from being different and decides to conform instead to type It is not a change in consciousness that will lead to freedom but a heroic band of people slugging it out on the battlefield The promise of a different kind of story suggested by the India of myth, legend and philosophy in space turns out to be another one of Mara s deceptions Still it is a nice concept and well designed A witty homage perhaps to Arthur C Clarke s remark about the difficulty of distinguishing between magic and technologyhighly advanced than you are familiar with


  9. Stephen Stephen says:

    6.0 stars On my list of All Time favorites An absolutely brilliant novel by one of the masters of science fiction This book is as good as SF gets and ranks up their with Dune and Ender s Game among the best ever Unlike those other two books, I do believe that this book is MUCH, MUCH better the second time around The reason for this is that the story jumps around and the background for the story is reavealed slowly so can be a bit confusing at the outset Therefore, my advice would be to r 6.0 stars On my list of All Time favorites An absolutely brilliant novel by one of the masters of science fiction This book is as good as SF gets and ranks up their with Dune and Ender s Game among the best ever Unlike those other two books, I do believe that this book is MUCH, MUCH better the second time around The reason for this is that the story jumps around and the background for the story is reavealed slowly so can be a bit confusing at the outset Therefore, my advice would be to read each chapter of the book AFTER first reading the Wikipedia plot summary for that particular chapter Knowing the general outline of each chapter in my opinion will not in any way take away from the enjoyment of the story and will actually enhance the experience and your appreciation of the story.Winner Hugo Award Best NovelNominee Nebula Award Nest Novel


  10. Manuel Antão Manuel Antão says:

    If you re into stuff like this, you can read the full review.The Special Art of SF Lord of Light by Roger Zelazny Lord of Light takes place maybe 100 or 200 years after the landing of humans on the planet where it takes place A bottle of wine brought from Earth is still drinkable though to be sure a precious relic there is one survivor in the flesh of the native entities who resisted human incursion Also, the godhood of the crew arose informally the passengers saw them wielding su If you re into stuff like this, you can read the full review.The Special Art of SF Lord of Light by Roger Zelazny Lord of Light takes place maybe 100 or 200 years after the landing of humans on the planet where it takes place A bottle of wine brought from Earth is still drinkable though to be sure a precious relic there is one survivor in the flesh of the native entities who resisted human incursion Also, the godhood of the crew arose informally the passengers saw them wielding superhuman powers and doing battle with demonic adversaries, and so labeled them