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on 28 September 2009
In 1966, this shared the Hugo with Dune. It's hard to image such a slim volume sharing the limelight with today's heavyweight contenders, but the storytelling is still unparalleled. The depiction of an earth abandoned by the majority of the populous after a disastrous nuclear war plays as backdrop to the set-piece workings of the anti-hero (Conrad) with the long and ambiguous (and possibly pre-historic) life as poet, philosopher, terrorist, warrior and ultimately the protector of earth's past. How he then manages to become the defender of the off-world powers while dismantling the pyramids and getting involved in semi-mythical encounters, only Zelazny could pull off.

Conrad's initially indifferent involvement with the ensemble cast (including one 'Hasan the assassin') intensifies while he acts as loyal tour guide to a wealthy off-world alien who the local earth terrorists want to bump-off. In the midst of this, a personal bereavement and his own longevity play on certainties that were concrete at the start of the journey.

All this in about 174 pages of a first novel. The ending may be a bit trite, but I've no hesitation in recommending this - any other author would have jealously eked out the trove of characters and ideas over a series.
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on 17 August 2015
The book itself is great, but the editing of kindle file you are about to read must have beendone by some dodgy fly-by-night outfit who simply didn't care. There are noticeably many typos here, of the kind that could only result from plopping an old book on a scanner and running some character recognition software - with the only proof reading being entrusted to a skim-read by a tired intern.

Zelazny is a classic of sci-fi. Do yourself a favour and buy a different copy.
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on 18 October 2012
I've seen criticisms that there is 'too much' in this novel - if only most of the modern day reads at triple the length had half the content of this marvelous debut then the SF world would be a much better place.
Others have described the plot but it's not easy to portray Zelazny's style,he has a pace that few can match yet the stories are never rushed.
If you like this then you have a treat in store as there are many more waiting for you.The Great Book of Amber: The Complete Amber Chronicles, 1-10 (Chronicles of Amber)Lord Of Light (S.F. MASTERWORKS)Creatures of Light and DarknessIsle of the Deadetc
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on 23 March 2016
The book in itself, the content, the writing, is close to ingenious and deserves 6 stars easily. Zelazny was a fabulous writer and 'This Immortal' is one of his very, very best.
However, the book as an object is disgracefully amateurish junk and doesn't even deserve 1 star. The typeface is horrible, the page layout is a disaster, the format is wrong, the paper is inferior... The cover is bad in every way. For starters, it is not the cover shown. The cover that you get is butt ugly and technically of very, very poor quality.
Do not buy this edition! Go look for a nice second hand edition from the days when publishers still knew how to make books. It's worth the trouble.
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on 8 April 2001
OK. So there's an immortal, and there's myth surrounding this, and the earth is largely radioactive following an event Zelazny allows you to figure out for yourself, and that's not even the main thrust of the book. Zelazny writes the sort of prose your eyes slide over without strain, but still makes you think; nothing is over-explained and this book isn't for those who don't want their reading to make them think, but... it's beautifully done. A great story, brilliant characters, and an incredible skill with writing. Zelazny is superb; easily one of the best.
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on 24 December 2013
I really enjoyed this gem of a novel. It is not a particularly long read, but it has plenty of clout. This is a well written work, with great characters involved in a beautifully driven plot, which is based on a self-inflicted, ruined Earth. This novel shared the Hugo award with "Dune", but in my opinion Zelazny's work is by far the better of the two
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on 26 April 2014
Conrad Nomikos, the protagonist of "This Immortal", is Commissioner of the Earthoffice Department of Arts, Monuments, and Archives - which effectively makes him supreme on what remains of the planet after a nuclear war has wrecked it. Most of the human race has fled across space to the planets of the Vegan empire, where they risk being gradually assimilated and reduced to little more than amusing pets. Long ago, a violent movement led by the legendary Konstantin Karaghiosis fought bitterly to prevent the Vegans taking over the ruins of Earth, and to induce the exiles to return home. Of course, Conrad can't possibly be Karaghiosis himself - he died long ago - but why does the hardened Arab killer Hasan insist on calling him "Karagee"? (The novel was originally entitled "...And Call Me Conrad", Zelazny's own choice). As well as possibly being arbitrarily old, with a long trail of previous identities behind him, Conrad is very big, immensely strong, and telepathic in a limited but sometimes useful way. He has accepted the mission of keeping a key Vegan VIP, Cort Myshtigo, alive during his visit to Earth - but should he kill Myshtigo instead of protecting him? There certainly is plenty to protect him against, including but not limited to boadiles, Kouretes, the Dead Man, and the Black Beast.

The sheer imaginative power and range of "This Immortal" are amazing. It's easy to be deceived by the apparent simplicity, even the deliberately contrived naivety in places, of Roger Zelazny's prose. Under the surface, though, everything is meticulously worked out; which is why everyone remarks on how good it feels to read. Reading a Zelazny novel is somehow like spending a long evening in enjoyable conversation, in the most attractive surroundings, with a good friend. When it's over, you feel a pang of deprivation; fortunately, he left us plenty of novels and short stories.

"This Immortal" was written at the beginning of Zelazny's 30-year long career, and it shows. Mind you, it closely followed the short story "A Rose for Ecclesiastes", and only narrowly preceded "The Dream Master", "Lord of Light", and "Creatures of Light and Darkness", all of which are among Zelazny's very best accomplishments. You have to bear in mind that average Zelazny is equivalent to the top one percent (or better) of science fiction.
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on 22 December 2008
This isn't Zelazny's best and it still surprises me, on rereading, that it gained the Hugo Award for best novel. What this book does, however, is break the ground for his better work which was yet to come. Here we see his early efforts at a mix of SF, fantasy, and real and imaginary mythology that was to become a hallmark of much of his oeuvre. This Immortal is a slight book but it's worth reading as part of an overview of Zelazny's development as a writer.
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on 12 December 1999
Well, he was only 29 when he wrote this book, and it's not as great as some of his later ones, but, it's -again- a book that proves that good SF is just good literature. Great, real characters, a lot of Greece (that counts for me, cause Im Greek) and a lot of questions about ancient civilization answered. This book isn't just a story. Like his book "The Lord of Light" (about indian gods) it's the soul of a real people in a futuristic set.
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on 10 December 2012
I love these yellow Gollancz Classic SF copies and this story was v v good though I reserve 5 stars for only the most astounding science fiction, but still a very enjoyable read.
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