Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Lord Of Light” as Want to Read:
Lord Of Light
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Lord Of Light

4.1  ·  Rating Details ·  21,069 Ratings  ·  1,032 Reviews
Sam never claimed to be a god, but then he never claimed not to be...

The time: long after the death of the Earth. A band of men on a colony-planet have gained control of technology. With it, they have given themselves immortality and god-like powers.
And they rule their world as the gods of the Hindu pantheon. Kali, goddess of destruction; Yama, Lord of Death; Krishna, God
Paperback, 251 pages
Published 1971 by Panther Books Limited (first published 1967)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Lord Of Light, please sign up.

Popular Answered Questions

Nate No, it's not necessary. I don't know very much about either, and I enjoyed the book immensely. However, I do think knowing something about Hinduism,…moreNo, it's not necessary. I don't know very much about either, and I enjoyed the book immensely. However, I do think knowing something about Hinduism, in particular, would enhance your experience. Just keep in mind that Zelazny isn't trying to present you with a highly authentic view of these religions, nor would it even make sense to do that given the story that he is telling. If you are very familiar with the religious background, it might actually diminish your enjoyment of the book.(less)
John Yardley I don't think so. Most of his opponents would be able to kill him easily and he mostly gets by on wits and luck.
This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Nandakishore Varma
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 ...more
Feb 13, 2013 Evgeny rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: scifi
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 ...more
Dec 19, 2007 Jim rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
30Apr2014(ebook): I'm reading this with Sci-fi & Heroic Fantasy group
& I like it better each time I read it. It makes far more sense after the first read, like so many of Zelazny's books, so I can concentrate more on 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
Jan 04, 2016 Negativni rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
“Why could you not have left me as I was, in the sea of being?"
"Because the world has need of your humility, your piety, your great teaching and your Machiavellian scheming.”

Zelazny je u Gospodaru svjetlosti odlično obradio temu kolonizacije drugog planeta generacijskim brodom. Kolonisti sa umiruće Zemlje došli su na drugi planet, pobili većinu lokalnog (inteligentnog) života, a ostatak pokorili, kolonizirali planet svojim potomcima, a sebe proglasili bogovima temeljenima na hinduističkoj relig
Lois Bujold
Feb 08, 2012 Lois Bujold rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: SF and fantasy readers
Recommended to Lois by: John Ayotte, in 1968

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
Dan Schwent
Dec 29, 2008 Dan Schwent rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: zelazny
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
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 ...more
How Lord of Light Didn't Get Written

[Rainy, 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.]

FIGURE: [Bogart-style growl] Keep the change, kid. Don't blow it all at once.

[His 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
Gürkan Akkaya
May 16, 2016 Gürkan Akkaya rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Işık Tanrısı, şimdiye dek okuduğum hiç bir şeye benzemiyor. Çok farklı, bir o kadar da müthiş bir deneyimdi. Bittikten sonra çok sağlam bir kitap okumuş olmanın verdiği o hazzı yaşadım resmen.

Ama söylemeden olmaz, bu eser herkese göre değil. Bilimkurgu kitabı olarak başlayacaksanız eğer oldukça şaşıracağınızı söyleyebilirim, zira bilimkurgu öğeleri yok denecek kadar az kitapta. Fantastik ağırlıklı bir eser, ama tam olarak öyle de değil :). Roman biraz şiirsel bir dil kullanılarak yazılmış, ama
Apr 27, 2010 Alazzar rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
[Originally read July 30, 2010-August 8, 2010]

I've long been a fan of Zelazny's Amber series, and in the past, I've heard that he once penned a story that could be even better: Lord of Light. I just finished Lord of Light, and I have to say: I still give the title of "Best Zelazny Story" to the Amber series. But it was a damn close race.

I'm not normally a science-fiction type of guy (fantasy and horror are more to my liking), so I was a little worried going into this book. Even though Zelazny is
colleen the convivial curmudgeon

I had a bit of a hard time following what was going on, at times, with this book. Not because of the so-called non-linear* nature of the story, but mostly just because there were a lot of characters, several of whom at multiple names, and some of which kept changing into other characters.

Also, the general writing style made it hard for me to visualize what was going on in the action sequences sometimes. And there were long bits of dialogue where after the first two lines it doesn't say who's
Apr 19, 2012 Eric rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Fans of profound sci-fi/fantasy
Recommended to Eric by: Mike Reineke
The front cover of this book labels Lord of Light "The Legendary SF Classic," and the blurb on the back cover begins:
Earth is long since dead. On a colony planet, a band of men has gained control of technology...
From these two data points, I was sure I was about to read a straight-forward sci-fi adventure, possibly in the vein of Robert A. Heinlein or Ray Bradbury. What I should have paid more attention to was the gigantic fucking Buddha statue on the front cover, and the conclusion of the bac
Dec 13, 2014 Ryan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Good:
So amazing! Great characters, great setting, great ideas, epic scope, and so well written. This is a science fiction story presented like mythology and it works. Did I mention it's funny too?

The Bad:
The only thing really wrong with this is that the story races ahead of the reader, daring you to try and keep up. It's not often that I think a book should be longer, but in the case of this one it needed more exposition.

'Friends' character the protagonist is most like:
Sam is cynical, driven
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
Jan 27, 2016 Ahmet rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

Fantastik mi Bilim kurgu mu olduğunu anlayamadığım bir kitap oldu ama emin olduğum tek şey zekice bir kurgu ve olay örgüsüne sahipti.Tek sıkıntısı okurken(benden kaynaklanıyor)Hindu mitolojisi ile pek bir alakam olmadığından karakterleri tanıyana kadar kafa karıştıran bir okuma oldu benim için.Dikkatli okunması gereken bir kitap olduğunu düşünüyorum çünkü bazı yerlerde yapılan geçişleri yakalamak zor olabiliyor.Fantastik ve bilim kurgu sevenlere öneririm.Yazarın üslubunu beğendim Amber Y
Nutshell: douchebags leave earth, acquire technological immortality, and then, completely reasonably and necessarily, re-enact Hindu mythology.

This concludes my reading of Zelazny, and confirms the general pattern of prior books: chaotic presentation, no discipline, immortal protagonists, silly resolutions. This one tries to do something with Hindu mythology and buddhist theology, much like Creatures of Light and Darkness messed with Egypt and This Immortal flirted with Greece.

Opening section h
Viv JM
Oh wow! I'm not sure I can put into words how much I loved this book. Elements of myth, humour and science fiction combine to make this a truly original novel. Zelazny's use of language is sublimely poetic, and the twists and turns the story takes are breathtaking. Just amazing.
John Wiswell
Dec 27, 2010 John Wiswell rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
No one I know of is writing like this today, and no book in recent memory has inspired so much envy in me. It has novelty and nuance from its first to its final paragraphs. For an hour after going to the porch to finish it, people saw my expressions and asked me what was wrong, because I was so preoccupied with what I’d just read. Lord of Light, published in 1967, is ahead of the Science Fiction of this time in 2012.

If you missed it, Lord of Light is about a space colony in which those possessi
Jun 08, 2011 Algernon rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2011
this one is le-gen-waitforit-dary, as in the stuff that myths are made of. It could be considered as a memory of our distant past or a glimpse of our future - a multigenerational spaceship that arrives on prehistoric Earth and lays the seeds of civilization as we know it, or the same multigenerational ship that is sent from Earth to colonize the distant stars. I have read some of these ideas in Erich von Daniken slightly provocative speculations from the 70's, but Zelazny does a much better job ...more
Orbi Alter
Sep 21, 2016 Orbi Alter rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ckck
Prosle su dvije godine od mog prvog neuspjesnog susreta s ovom knjigom. Tad sam mislila da je problem u settingu na koji uopce tada nisam bila naviknuta, a sad u drugom citanju zakljucujem da joj treba urednik za prvo poglavlje koje je kompletni kaos. Na neke pasuse sam se morala i po nekoliko puta vracati, da bih na kraju popustila i odmaknula se. Ali eto, to je prvih pedeset stranica odnosno prvo poglavlje samo. Primjecujem da sa SF-om obicno i je tako (premda ovo i nije klasicni SF). Autor
Dec 29, 2011 Adam rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: scifi
One of the best science fiction novels I have ever read. Even though this is under 200 pages, this story took me a while both to get into and to follow as the world that Zelazny has created is a crazy mixture of Hindu gods and high technology. The story feels like an ancient mythological epic set to science fiction. Once I got the gist of the story I was amazed at its brilliance. I can see myself reading this one several more times in the coming years.
Sep 29, 2007 John rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I first read this book a good while ago, sometime in high school. I'm sure now that I didn't fully appreciate it. I just used this book in my AP English class, and I think that I'm closer to appreciating it now.

Roger Zelazny is a writer who packs a lot into a story, yet makes it very easily readable. Zelazny said in some interviews that he was usually reading 6 or 7 books at a time, in fields from history to the hard and social sciences to mythology or religion to literature and speculative fict

Lord of Light would stand as one of the oddest works of fantasy/sci-fi I have read. It feels like fantasy, it reads like fantasy, yet it also reads and feels like sci-fi. And that is why I applaud it as a book with an ambitious scheme and plan, yet with one not executed quite to perfection.

The book itself seems to follow a path of Hindu mythology/religion, giving faces to a bunch of gods and demons according to this path. True to form, the book even highlights the assimilation nature and hierar
Dec 02, 2016 Anatoly rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
Not an easy read but still quite enjoyable. I guess the "problem" is mainly because the plot doesn't follow a linear line, but rather jumps in time. Not everything is revealed or explained, but the reading experience is quite interesting and fun.
Florin Pitea
Mar 09, 2010 Florin Pitea rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A wonderful science fantasy tale wonderfully told. Hinduism, Buddhism and Christianity are mixed in an exotic story of planet colonization, cloning, conflict and revolt. Worth reading and re-reading, especially in the original version. Highly recommended.
Dec 07, 2015 Karl rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Originally read in 1968 then re-read in this edition. This was one of my favorite books for many years.
May 18, 2016 Charles rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
When I look at the date this was published, 1967, fifty years ago, I marvel at how Zelazny was able to put this theme together and pull it off.
Jan 05, 2011 Kane rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: re-read types
"His followers called him Mahasamatman and said he was a god. He preferred to drop the Maha- and the -atman, however, and called himself Sam. He never claimed to be a god, but then he never claimed not to be a god."

"Enig*ma (noun) : something hard to understand or explain." I have only read Lord of Light once, and I think a proper review would require a re-read. That being said, here goes.

First the good news. I loved being dropped into the middle of Zelazny's incomprehensible world without so m
Jared Vincent Lacaran
Lord of Light. Well, what can I say with this one? This book left me pretty speechless. It’s just so motherfucking fantastic. And when you consider the fact that this shit was published way back in 1967, well...


Anyway, this book is based on Hindu-Buddhist legends, and, honestly, it’s quite a reprieve from all of those countless novels based upon Abrahamic religions (Christianity, Judaism, and Islam). Unlike others who have read this book, I am quite familiar with Hindu-Buddhist myths, despite no
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
The Challenge Fac...: Leo & Karishma - Lord of Light 32 15 Jun 02, 2016 10:27AM  
Sci-fi and Heroic...: Lord of Light by Roger Zelazny 39 211 Jun 03, 2015 05:23PM  
Goodreads Librari...: Combine needed 3 16 Jan 18, 2015 11:24AM  
One of the greats 3 36 Jul 25, 2014 07:54AM  
  • A Case of Conscience (After Such Knowledge, #4)
  • The Wanderer
  • Stand on Zanzibar
  • The Complete Roderick
  • They'd Rather Be Right
  • Emphyrio
  • The Fifth Head of Cerberus
  • The Einstein Intersection
  • The Rediscovery of Man
  • Dying Inside
  • Gateway (Heechee Saga, #1)
  • Cyteen (Cyteen, #1-3)
  • Where Late the Sweet Birds Sang
  • Dreamsnake
  • Non-Stop
  • The Centauri Device
  • Dark Benediction
  • A Deepness in the Sky (Zones of Thought, #2)
Roger Zelazny made his name with a group of novellas which demonstrated just how intense an emotional charge could be generated by the stock imagery of sf; the most famous of these is A Rose for Ecclesiastes in which a poet struggles to convince dying and sterile Martians that life is worth continuing. Zelazny continued to write excellent short stories throughout his career. Most of his novels dea ...more
More about Roger Zelazny...

Share This Book

“No word matters. But man forgets reality and remembers words.” 147 likes
“...even a mirror will not show you yourself, if you do not wish to see.” 37 likes
More quotes…