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This Immortal

3.94  ·  Rating details ·  9,102 ratings  ·  299 reviews
Conrad Nomikos has a long, rich personal history that he'd rather not talk about. And, as Arts Commissioner, he's been given a job he'd rather not do. Escorting an alien grandee on a guided tour of the shattered remains of Earth is not something he relishes- especially when it is apparent that this places him at the center high-level intrigue that has some bearing on the f ...more
Paperback, 216 pages
Published 1989 by Baen (NY) (first published 1966)
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Feb 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: scifi
How can I describe a plot of a book with less than 150 pages; the book that has alien spies, unstoppable assassins, mutants, a vampire (created by scientific means), a secret terrorist organization, several exciting and deadly fistfights, and a seemingly immortal guy? I will not even try to pretend my writing skills is anywhere close to those of Zelazny and honestly say: I cannot describe the plot. Below is my pitiful attempt to do so anyway.

After the total nuclear holocaust the Earth is not wh
This is a lot of fun to read & one of my favorite books of all time. Post apocalyptic earth is being toured by an alien, whose species helped save us after we mostly blew up our home. The tour guide, Conrad, who tells the story from his POV & most of the trip is through a surreal blending of SF & diverse mythology brought to life by radiation. It's short, quirky, & simple on the surface, but there are offhand references, names & partial quotes that make this story a bit of a ...more
Feb 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2018

"Do you not see a convergence of life and myth, here, during the last days of life on this planet?"

Somewhere between "Heart of Darkness" and "Tales of the Dying Earth", Roger Zelazny found once again a story to tell about ordinary people acting like Gods in the desolate aftermath of a world war. "Lord of Light" may be my favorite book in the Zelazny catalog, but "This Immortal" comes real close on its heels. Instead of exploring the intricacies of the Hindu Pantheon, this time the author goes
This Immortal: Flamboyant New Wave SF with Greek mythic overtones
Originally posted at Fantasy Literature
Roger Zelazny was one of the darlings of the New Wave in the 1960s, mainly with short stories, but his first novel This Immortal tied for the inaugural Nebula Award in 1966 with none other than Frank Herbert’s Dune, arguably the greatest SF novel ever. So how could this slight 174-page Ace paperback (David, if you will) rival a Goliath like Dune?

It’s the story of Conrad Nomikos, a man in charg
6.0 stars. I just re-read this classic by Roger Zelazny and I was very impressed. Not quite as good as Lord of Light (then again how many books are), but still a smart, well written and original science fiction story combining elements of post-apocalyptic science fiction, alien travelogue and mythic fiction.


Many hundreds of years following a devastating nuclear war call "The Three Days," the Earth has a population of only four million and is infested with a variety of mutated
Apr 03, 2015 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Michael by: Jim MacLachlan
It’s embarassing that this is my first read of Zelazny. I’d always pictured his work as quirky fantasy, not something that would appeal to my decades long affinity for hard sci fi over the decades. But I am more open to fantasy now, and, besides, this one is science fiction, and a delightful one at that.

The setting is a post-nuclear apocalyptic Earth where the remaining humans, numbering only in a few million, are divided between those who live a utopian life under the support of an advanced al
Nov 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This Immortal was Zelazny's first novel and tied with Dune for best of the year the year it appeared. It's a true classic. It showcases all of Zelazny's strengths: mythic influences, lyrical writing, memorable characters, and a fast-paced plot with so many twists and turns and surprises that the reader is left amazed at how he made such a hodgepodge of points into a brilliant and cohesive narrative. It's an expansion of And Call Me Conrad, which remains a great short version in its own right. I ...more
Dan Schwent
Sep 24, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: zelazny
As you can tell from the title, This Immortal is about an immortal. The Earth is in bad shape after a three day nuclear exchange and most people have fled Earth for Vega where they are second class citizens. Conrad, the immortal of the title, is tasked with escorting a Vegan on a tour of various Earth ruins, accompanied by several other people, most of which want the Vegan dead and the Earthlings on Vega to come home.

Despite the length of time it took me to read this, I liked it a lot. The char
I wish that I could give this book a higher rating, I do. But as it is, I think that "It was OK" sums it up perfectly for me.

This was my very first Zelazny, and it may not have been the best one to start with. But I just love post-apocalyptic books, and I had wanted to read this one since I heard that it was one. I won't let the fact that this didn't get a higher rating turn me off of Zelazny though. :)

There were a few things that made this book less than great for me.

First, I was under the im
Πόση γοητεία μπορεί να εξασκήσει ένα βιβλίο γραμμένο το 1966, σε έκδοση του 1999, σε έναν αναγνώστη καθόλου εξοικειωμένο με επιστημονική φαντασία;
Εκ των υστέρων απαντώντας : πολλή γοητεία.
Το βιβλίο έπεσε σχεδόν τυχαία στα χέρια μου.
Το προόριζα για δώρο αλλά είπα να του ρίξω μια ματιά πριν το δώσω.
Εκείνο που μου τράβηξε περισσότερο την προσοχή ήταν το εξώφυλλο του : μια εικόνα αμυδρά γνωστή.
Κοίταξα τις εκδόσεις : Τρίτων.
Ο τίτλος ήταν διττός : "This Immortal" ή "... And Call Me Conrad" και δε
Feb 05, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
How could you not love Zelazny, for gems like these:

Phil (...) had not always been the wielder of the bladeless sword without a hilt

As Commissioner of Arts, Monuments and Archives, I received special considerations. I got The Suite: Number 19.

It wasn’t exactly the way I’d left it. It was clean and neat.

The little metal plate on the door said:

This suite was the headquarters of Konstantin Karaghiosis during the founding of the Radpol and much of the Returnist Rebellion.

Inside, there was a plaqu
Feb 26, 2009 rated it liked it
What Roger Zelazny did best was short stories, but he certainly wrote a lot of novels too. There was a period in the late 60s when his formula was to take a classic set of myths, and rework them as SF. He did Hindu and Buddhist mythology in Lord of Light (very good), and the Egyptian gods in Creatures of Light and Darkness (dull).

This Immortal is an SF retelling of the Hercules legend, and quite decent. It doesn't have the epic scope or the poetry of Lord of Light, but the Hercules character is
Peter Tillman
Zelazny in mythic romance mode, protag Conrad protecting his new bride Cassandra from the foggy foggy dew....

Great stuff, and an immediate resonance for this reader, even after many decades away. Published in an era when a complete novel was often well under 200 pp., or what today would be a long novella. Bravo!

Stalled at about p. 100, where I ceased (momentarily) to care about the Radpol irredentists. Hey, if Terrans are happy in their new homes, working for Vegans, how is this different than a
Bülent Özgün

Dünya nükleer felaketler yüzünden yıkılmış harabe olmuş, insanlar başka gezegenlere göçmüşler hayatlarından da memnunlar. Yeryüzünde sadece değişime uğramış hayvanlar ve insanlar var, o yüzden hem tehlikeli hem de gizemli bir yere dönüşmüş. Bu durum onu başka gezegenlerin ırkları tarafından turistik bir durak olarak algılanmasına sebep olmuş. İnsanlar tarafındansa çok önemsenmeyen tarihi bir miras.

Hikayemiz Dünya'yı gezmek isteyen bir Vegalı (Vega gezegeninden gelen bir ırk) ve ona refakat
Bob Rust
Jun 14, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This Immortal takes place in a baroquely described Ruined Earth which has become a kind of theme-park for the Alien Vegans; in this shadowy realm of belatedness and human angst the Immortal Conrad Nomikos serves ostensibly as Arts Commissioner but turns out to be in a far more telling sense the curator (or Zoo-keeper) of the human enterprise for he closely resembles Herakles whose Labours the plot of the novel covertly replicates despite the US thriller idioms he uses in his personal speech. But ...more
Sep 05, 2015 rated it really liked it
The post-apoc setting and myth-building is fantastic enough to drown out the tiringly stoic and macho tone of the otherwise funny protagonist, but the overreliance on deus ex machina (I know, I know, I get the point in this "is it fantasy? is it sci-fi? is it myth?" novel, but still) and the cheesy and prolonged character wrap up dulled what could have been a perfect little novel.
Aug 19, 2010 rated it it was amazing
[Originally read September 20-21, 2010]

I should start by noting that I didn't read the full version of this novel -- instead, I read the abridged one that first appeared in two parts in the Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction. This is the actual version which won the Hugo Award, and as much as I would have liked to find the full version, my library system didn't have it, so I had to settle for the abridged one, found in Volume 2 of the Collected Stories of Roger Zelazny: Power and Light.

I've worn out several paperbacks of this book. It's brilliant & well worth multiple re-reads. There's always a new tidbit to find, but it's also just a wonderful journey. Zelazny poetically & subtly uses classical references to draw a 'fantastic' post-apocalyptic world. On its face, the book is a good, straight SF story with a bit of PSI powers tossed into the radioactive mix. The subtexts & foreshadowing are so masterful, all set to prose that is often poetic.

When I saw there was an
Aydan Yalçın
Sep 15, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviews

Bu Ölümsüz'de büyük bir nükleer savaş sonrası dünyanın ve dünya halkının başına gelenler konu ediliyor. Savaş sonrasında dünya o kadar yaşanmaz bir yer haline geliyor ki galaksiler arası bir göç meydana geliyor. İnsanlar farklı galaksilerdeki farklı gezegenlere mülteci oluyor. Onların hayatlarına alışmaya başladıkça da dünyaya dönme fikri tamamen ortadan kalkıyor. Bir gün insanların çoğunlukla göç ettiği gezegenlerden bir yetkili dünyaya gelip bazı bölgeler
May 09, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: novels
This 5 star rating is more about this book than about how much I enjoyed it. This book is set in a post-apocalyptic Earth. It has a basic---if epic---journey as its central plot, with only one truly interesting character. But what a Kallikanzaros he turns out to be!

Conrad, the narrator, comes back to the radioactive Earth to lead an alien Vegan on a tour of Mediterranean ruins. The mutations and alien species introduced after the nuclear conflagration has made most of the world inhospitable. Man
Dec 05, 2008 rated it really liked it
To begin, this book should not be called This Immortal. It's a terrible title, and by all accounts Zelazny himself preferred the name he used when he serialized the novel: ...And Call Me Conrad. You can see why.

Zelazny is remembered as one of SF's cleverest, most exciting writers. His heroes are larger than life, the adventures they find themselves in are even bigger, and they're surrounded by richly imagined settings and supporting casts. None of this matters. What does is that he was a masterf
Althea Ann
It shared the Hugo with Dune the year it came out. While it was an entertaining book (I think it was Zelazny's first novel), it is NOT as good as Dune. Sorry.
Martin Doych
Oct 03, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Пост-апокалиптична фантастика, качеството е ясно от името на автора. 180-на страници могат да поберат в себе си: описанието на един много интересен свят; няколко интересни герои, които се развиват; сюжет с глобални мащаби; капка хумор. Който мисли, че не е така - нека прочете "Безсмъртният"!
Although this is a classic, it's one of the few older sci-fi stories that isn't too dated, as the setting is a post-nuclear war Earth at some indefinite point in the future and all the technology is vague and generically futuristic (like "skimmers"). It's the characters where Zelazny exercised his imagination. Earth is now overrun by mutants who resemble creatures out of myth, and the main character, Conrad, appears to be an immortal and may even be a god. He's a typical Zelazny main character: ...more
Robin Raymond
Jun 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Zelazny has a talent, an enviable talent, of braiding action, philosophy and humor into an airy but intricate dance that drags the reader, relentlessly, along blind corridors and sudden turnings until you end, hours or days later, bewildered, dazed, but a little wiser and much happier. This is rampant, chaotic, bacchanal among monster and men, in a ruined world, with all the terror implied, and still joyous and enchanting. I loved every moment, but then I knew I would.
Kat  Hooper
Sep 29, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobook
4.5 stars
ORIGINALLY POSTED AT Fantasy Literature.

The Earth has been mostly depopulated as humans have discovered more sophisticated and comfortable cultures elsewhere in the universe. Much of its infrastructure was destroyed during “The Three Days,” and most of the mainland areas are still “hot.” Genetic mutations have caused the birth of creatures previously thought to be only myth. Now Earth is a strange and dangerous place, fit only as a tourist attraction and a vacation spot for the Vegans.

Amy Sturgis
This novel tied with Frank Herbert's Dune for the 1966 Hugo Award, and although it's no Dune (an unfair comparison for almost any work), it holds up remarkably well. Every time I read Roger Zelazny, I remind myself that I should seek out more of his work.

This Immortal takes place on a post-apocalyptic earth where "hot spots" are the lasting gift of a nuclear war and mutant humans who resemble creatures out of myth are reclaiming the land. The main character, Conrad Nomikos, seems to be immortal
Oct 04, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
This SF road story with mythic elements was lucky enough to share the 1966 Hugo award with Frank Herbert's Dune. I have read that it is not as good as Dune, nor Zelazny's other Hugo winner, Lord of Light, but this is a good read.

Starts off in confusion, but that is to be expected with a main character who is immortal and the victim of evil rumors - or are they true? Many of these elements are not completely cleared up, but the main narrative definitely is. Zelazny's characters have solid motivat
Иван Величков
Първият роман на Зелазни и един от моите най-любими(не че не ги харесвам всичките, дори съвместните). Чудесна история, развиваща се в бъдещето. Главният герой е подложен на редица изпитания, повтарящи до някъде херкулесовите подвизи. Принуден е да стане екскурзовод на едно извънземно, чиято раса "помага" на изостаналото загиващо човечество. Има мутирали чудовища, канибали, сатири, пророчества, разглобяване на пирамиди, меланхолични извънземни и роботи бойци.
Авторът се закача много леко с древног
Cedric Nye
I have read this book countless times, and still I love it!

Nomikos, how old are you?

This tale takes us on a wild ride through a post-nuclear war earth, that has been ravaged by not only war, but also an alien species.

Nomikos is the star of this show. He moves slowly, until it is time to act. Even Hassan the Assassin fears the hard hands of Nomikos!

He broke an alien bat's neck, and fell hundreds of feet, and he survived all the ravages of a harsh and unforgiving world; yet still he fights for his
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Roger Zelazny: This Immortal - No Spoilers 36 50 Feb 09, 2013 03:05PM  
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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
“There's really nothing quite like someone's wanting you dead to make you want to go on living.” 45 likes
“Love is a negative form of hatred.” 29 likes
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