Customer Reviews


45 Reviews
5 star:
 (32)
4 star:
 (8)
3 star:
 (2)
2 star:    (0)
1 star:
 (3)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favourable review
The most helpful critical review


9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining and thought-provoking
In brief: Science fiction meets Hinduism in one of the most surprising, intriguing and enjoyable books I've come across in a while. Highly recommended.
The story centres on an off-Earth colony which has come to be utterly dominated by its founders, who rule with the names, personalities and even the attributes of Hindu gods. With the injection of SF technology,...
Published on 7 Sep 2003 by N. Clarke

versus
4 of 14 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not quite as good as it thinks it is
I think a little correction ought to be made with regard to this book. It *is* a great read, fast moving with an intricate plot that pulls you in and *makes* you want to know what happens next. On that basis it is well worth getting and reading for the sheer escapist enjoyment of it all. Where it falls down is the attempt to invest the book with a false gravity. The two...
Published on 21 Mar 2006 by Concertina Chap


‹ Previous | 1 25 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining and thought-provoking, 7 Sep 2003
By 
N. Clarke (Lancs, UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
In brief: Science fiction meets Hinduism in one of the most surprising, intriguing and enjoyable books I've come across in a while. Highly recommended.
The story centres on an off-Earth colony which has come to be utterly dominated by its founders, who rule with the names, personalities and even the attributes of Hindu gods. With the injection of SF technology, social and political control pivot upon Hindu tenets with a futuristic twist. Reincarnation functions through personality-storage and cloning, allowing effective immortality for the gods, and some very bad karma for any who oppose them. The populace is held in a permanent low-tech state to ensure it continues to need its gods; innovations that might benefit mortals, such as the printing press, are swiftly eradicated.
Stylistically, too, it is brilliant. The whole thing takes the form of a Hindu epic, in terms of both language and structure. The hero, Sam, rebels against the gods by (literally and figuratively) taking on the Buddha role, preaching against the priesthood and the oppressive rituals and strictures which bind society. And through this, Zelazny brings out some of the most interesting implications of his blend of SF and myth, exploring how the 'gods' have merged with their masks to truly _become_ their mythic roles.
Finally, and importantly, _Lord of Light_ also contrives to be a truly entertaining read. Deservedly a classic.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Cynical Enlightened Sam, 8 May 2003
By 
Patrick Shepherd "hyperpat" (San Jose, CA USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Zelazny was a very bright shooting star when he first appeared on the fantasy/SF radar some 35 years ago, a new writer of power, originality, insight, and depth. Lord of Light was his third novel, and it exemplifies all these qualities in grand style. Combining the Hindu/Buddhist mythos/religion with the science-fictional concepts of true re-incarnation via technology-enabled body swaps, set on world dominated by those who have access to the technology, and are thereby effectively real gods, this book is a powerful statement of character, philosophy, and morality.
One of the main strengths of this book, as we have a large set of fully realized characters, each with their own motivations and desires, whose interactions form a complex weave of happenstance and emotional intertwinings, that give the novel a unique order and flow, and are sure to evoke multiple responses in the reader.
The prose style is more than adequate to the task here, sometimes brilliantly, almost poetically descriptive, at other points understated, leaving items just slightly nebulous, ready for the reader's imagination to complete. And the religious statements will burrow into your mind, forcing little cracks of enlightenment and quiet meditation. The story is not told in linear order, which some may find a little confusing, but as each piece of the story is unfolded and wrapped into the whole, it forms a mosaic that layers in your mind, building a tightly interlocked edifice of strength and stature.
Zelazny here has managed to create an archetype, a legend for modern times, with real relevance to the reader's everyday life, with a great promotion of life philosophies without preaching. Sadly, Roger is no longer with us, there will be no more of these brilliant tour-de-forces, but this will stand as one of his finest gifts to the world. A gift that everyone can enjoy and appreciate.
--- Reviewed by Patrick Shepherd (hyperpat)
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars True Classic, 10 April 2004
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
.
.
This is a superbly crafted piece of writing which is a proud addition to the SF Masterworks re-releases. Beautifully written with never a wasted word, 'Lord of Light' works perfectly on every level. Thousands of years ago colonists wrested control of a planet from various dangerous indigenous creatures. With their vast technology giving them the ability to 'reincarnate', these people now wield God-like powers over the planets populace who are ignorant of their origins, kept in a state of technological childhood with advances stamped on by the 'wrath of the Gods' in order to maintain control. With the power the original colonists have at their disposal they model themselves on the pantheon of Hindu Gods, with each God having certain responsibilities within the 'Heaven' they keep themselves in. Enter 'Sam', one of the Firstborn original colonists who now believes the people have the right to decide their own destiny without meddling from the Gods. Sam begins to spread the word Buddha amongst the peoples of the planet, often generation after generation, slowly building a separate following of peoples to those beneath the yolk of the Pantheon, attempting to bring about change through peaceful means. But Heaven sees the threat and acts accordingly.
So much goes on in this book that I can do nothing but lessen it by trying to describe what happens in a couple of paragraphs. The book reads in a wonderfully ambiguous way- by never going into details about the technology you get the feeling that you're reading an excerpt from some 'Hindu Myths and Legends' book, then a certain turn of phrase, or a certain Gods power remind you you're reading science fiction.
This is genuinely that very rare thing- a timeless Sci-fi story!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant, 8 April 2008
By 
Michelle (Leiden, The Netherlands) - See all my reviews
My all time favourite. I've read many SF and fantasy books but Lord of Light tops them all. It's not merely the inventive and multi layered story or the enigmatic and intriguing characters, but also the author's brilliant style of writing that makes the book almost perfect. Roger Zelazny was (he died in 1995) a man of very few words, so you have to read his books very precisely, absorbing every word, in order not to miss anything.
Lord of Light is basically about Sam, a renegade 'god' and his resistance against the rule of the established gods. These gods are, in fact, former crew members of a star ship, which crashed on a distant planet millenia ago. After a fierce battle, the crew managed to defeat the planet's indigenous inhabitants and confined them to a far-off place called Hellwell. They adopted the identities of Hindu gods and developed a technique to 'reincarnate' in new -artificial- bodies. They conveniently kept all technical know-how involved in the complicated reincarnation process to themselves, as it proved a highly effective means of keeping their offspring under their thumbs.
Lord of Light is not an easy read, particularly because the story is written in a non-chronological order. At first, this may be quite confusing but it will soon become clear that it is the only way to get the essence of the story properly across. The story itself may seem pretty straightforward, but it is certainly not a linear narrative. There are various aspects woven into it; religious, social, and political matters are dealt with in an almost casual, but awe-inspiring manner. The story's protagonist Sam, a man of many names and identities, is an inspiring individual, a leader and a teacher. His initial opponent and later ally is Yama-Dharma God of Death, a cold, cynical and arrogant man, who's character is probably even more important to the story as Sam's. The author himself once put it this way: my first intention was to let Yama die at some point in the book, but then I realised that the strength of Sam's character would be seriously weakened by Yama's death, so I decided to keep him alive.
Zelazny must have made an in-depth study of Hindu culture and religion before he wrote this book. Many of the names, Aspects and Attributes of the self-proclaimed gods, especially those of the most important ones, are actually based on the characteristics of present day Hindu gods and goddesses. As a result, the book allows you a pretty good insight in Hindu religion and culture, and, although it's a bit o.t.t now and again, the story never loses any of its credibility.
Mandatory reading for fantasy and SF fans! A bit of advice: read the book at least twice for a better understanding.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars absolute power corrupting absolutely, 12 Feb 2003
From the Nineteen Sixties comes Zelazny’s imaginative and psychedelic vision of a human colony run amok on a distant planet. The settlers, endowed with fantastic technology, are given powers which allow them not only to take on the roles of the Gods of the Hindu pantheon, but to make reincarnation a reality.
Those deemed worthy are reborn in new vat-grown bodies while those deemed less karma credit-worthy come back as animals, or sometimes not at all.
The novel follows Sam, who is Mahasamatman, Binder of Demons, Lord of Light, aka Siddhartha; Tagatha; Buddha…etc etc. Unhappy with the decadent behaviour of his fellow Gods he plans a revolt against Heaven to end the inequality between them and their worshippers.
It’s an absurd premise, but Zelazny’s masterful style transforms it into a credible and compelling novel.
It’s written in the language of Myth and Legend – interspersed with relevant passages from the Upanishads – which is occasionally, and sometimes amusingly, dragged into the focus of reality by Sam’s laconic ‘Urath’ wit and terminology.
For all its mythic nuances and Science Fantasy shell, ‘Lord of Light’ is rooted very solidly in Science Fiction. Although occasionally drawn into the psychedelic and fantastic world of Gods and Demons we are always drawn back to the fact that these creatures were once human, changed beyond recognition by what are merely very powerful toys.
Zelazny explores this theme again later in his Amber series, where Corwin (like Sam) is estranged from what is essentially a family of Gods and is forced by circumstance to return to bring change to their somewhat stagnant and decadent society.
This novel, however, has more to do with Absolute Power Corrupting Absolutely, set against a background of a war of ideologies.
It’s an interesting point to make in Late Sixties America where Anti-government protests were at a peak. ‘Sam’ after all, is a euphemism for the spirit of America itself so maybe there is a case to be made for seeing this as Zelazny’s allegory of American society rising up to change the status quo. The Sixties of course, also brought us a fascination with all things ‘Eastern’ (as the Twenties did with all things Egyptian) and Zelazny certainly exploits that here.
Interestingly, one of the seminal SF novels of the Sixties, ‘Dune’ follows a remarkably similar plot line, in that an exiled member of the aristocracy – thought to be dead – joins the common people and rises up against a decadent system of government.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great writing, wonderful story, lousy edition, 13 Aug 1999
By A Customer
Nothing more can be added to the praise given Roger Zelazny for his work. This is one of his greatest, most compulsive books. It is one of the greatest regrets I have that I never met him. The skill with which he blended myth with characterisation and story in this work is staggering. If you have not read this then you have failed to begin your understanding of science fiction. Read this work! Read it again and again! BUT, not in this edition ... shame upon the publishers for a poor production of a magnificent book
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4.0 out of 5 stars Initially confusing, weird, engaging book. Quite unique., 21 Jun 2000
By A Customer
What a bizarre and quirky book. At times quite confusing, it actually turns out that although the first chapter happens in the present, the next 200 pages take place in the past in flashback, and fill out the background to the main characters, but never in an obvious way, making some of the main player appear to have switched sides without explanation... Towards the end, as the narrative moves back towards the present we finally see how the characters got to the position at the start of the novel, and they gather forces for the final apocalypse.
The tale reads almost like episodes from a religious fable rather than a contemporary novel, and though containing sci fi elements, it would perhaps sit more comfortably in the fantasy genre alongside the works of such authors as Michael Moorcock. All about the desire of a few corrupt colonists to force their world into a technological dark age and keep it there, and the rise of Accelerationism , the drive to allow technological advancement amongst the masses. Towards the end of the book there are oblique references to atomic weapons, guided missiles, death rays, laser weapons, chemical warfare etc etc as the full arsenal is brought out for the decisive battle between the forces of change and those of oppression. A strangely engaging novel, very distinctive and unique in its style, well worth a look.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5.0 out of 5 stars Fantasy and Religion, 29 May 2003
By A Customer
This review is from: Lord of Light (Paperback)
Lord of Light is a rare combination of science fiction and religion. The book begins in a type of monastery in which the monks are preparing to bring back an ancient god known as the Lord of Light. This story is completely unique and original but very confusing on the first read as large numbers of characters are introduced (some of which mortals, others considered gods) in a short period. The plot also jumps between characters almost without warning, but I feel this only adds to the overall bizarreness of this very strange world in which the book is set. The main issue involved in this deep novel is religion but this theme is taken from a re-born gods’ points of view. This makes an extremely interesting read as we follow the Lord of Light (also known as Buddha but renamed “Sam”) on his trail to discover the new and changing world and whether the gods or mere mortals shall prevail. A welcome change to the sci-fi genre, highly recommended.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Stick with it, 27 Feb 2012
By 
Steve D (London, England) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Lord Of Light (S.F. MASTERWORKS) (Paperback)
There's a quote from George R.R. Martin on the cover of this book. It says, quite boldly I think, that it is "one of the five best sf novels ever written". This is the first Zelazny novel I've read, so I had no clue whether I'd like his writing style, and I deliberately found out as little as possible about the story beforehand because I like to discover these things for myself. I knew that the Hindu gods were involved but that was about all. When I started it I thought immediately that I wasn't going to like it much. The first chapter is one of the most bewildering things I've ever read. I had to keep reading and re-reading bits to try and make some sense of it.

I got there in the end. Some of it still made no sense to me, but I got the basic idea. I still thought I wasn't going to like it, and even thought it might be one of the rare books that I didn't finish. So what happened after that was a bit of a surprise. The second chapter is one of the most awesome chapters in any book I can remember reading for a long time, and it maintains that level for much of the rest of the book. There's the occasional dip but nothing that breaks the pace too much. The story is one of those that starts at the end, and then goes back in time to tell how the characters reached that point in time. I don't want to spoil it too much, because working out what was going on was part of the fun for me. If I'd known the following it would have made things a bit clearer in the first chapter so, if you'd rather not know, skip the next paragraph.

Far in the future mankind has colonised an alien world. They travelled there on a generation spaceship called The Star of India. The crew decided to keep the technology they took with them to themselves, casting the passengers out to start from scratch. The result is that now, hundreds of years later, a medieval society has grown and the crew have taken on the guises of Hindu gods, using technology to give them powers. This technology has also made the transferring of souls from one body to another possible, resulting in near immortality. Again, the 'gods' have taken this under their control, and dictate who is entitled to it. They have also used drugs to enhance and alter their brains, again resulting in extraordinary powers. Mahasamatman - Sam, or Buddha - is an 'accelerationist', who wants to give the technology back to the people, and leads a revolt against Heaven.

The really clever thing that Zelazny did, I think, is that he walks a very fine line between science fiction and fantasy. He leaves the reader to figure out the powers he's describing. For instance, in one sequence a god is fighting demons (I won't explain that, it's another one of those aspects of the book I really liked) with fire and, although Zelazny writes it in such a way that it seems like some magical power it's fairly obvious that the person is actually using some kind of futuristic flamethrower. But this is how the technology is explained throughout the book - as powers used by the gods - and it worked for me brilliantly.

Is it one of the five best science fiction novels ever written? I don't know. Unlike George R.R. Martin, I haven't read every single sf book out there in order to make the comparison. It is, though, one of the most brilliantly constructed and told stories I've read in the genre for a while - despite that first chapter - and I'm sure there are still multiple layers to it that I haven't even figured out yet. It's not a book that will be going to the charity shop anytime soon.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars best book ever, 2 Jan 2012
This review is from: Lord of Light (Hardcover)
Having reached the grand old age of 55 and read hundreds possibly thousands of books of all genres including classics, biographies, historical, horror, sci-fi et al, I feel I must speak.The reviews of people who think that Zelazny has "made up" some pretty good names for the Gods etc, a big Hohoho to them, because they are NOT made up you thicko's, they are Hindu deities, jeez, read a book!! If this is not in your top 10 list of books read, then either you've only read this book and the Beano or you simply have zero imagination.
Its awesome in its scope and depth and has constantly been one of my favourite books, above His Dark Materials, Lord of the Rings, even Dune. Obviously he cannot beat Dickens, but then again, who can?
My suggestion if you dont "get" this book, is to stick to your x-box.

Happy reading
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


‹ Previous | 1 25 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

This product

Lord Of Light (S.F. MASTERWORKS)
Lord Of Light (S.F. MASTERWORKS) by Roger Zelazny (Paperback - 29 Mar 2010)
6.29
In stock
Add to basket Add to wishlist
Only search this product's reviews