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Lord of Light
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This is our discussion of the classic SF/F novel

Lord of Light by Roger Zelazny Lord of Light by Roger Zelazny
Winner 1968 Hugo Award for Best Novel


Brendan (mistershine) | 743 comments Gods: they're just like us!*

*some exceptions apply.


message 3: by Cat (last edited Oct 01, 2017 12:36AM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Cat | 343 comments Brendan wrote: "Gods: they're just like us!*

*some exceptions apply."


Hahahahaha.

I quite enjoyed this book, but I feel like I need to read it at least once more to appreciate it properly. I'm sure there were things that just went straight over my head. But enjoyable nonetheless.

The quote: 'Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic' is definitely applicable to this story. I found it a little bit disconcerting at times, because I'd get caught up in the fantasy/mythological elements but then *BAM* casual reference to super-advanced technology. And I felt like the tech side of the society never really got explored - I want to know how they did it!

I found the story itself a little bit slow to get going at the start but it certainly picked up pace and turned into bit of a rollicking adventure.


message 4: by Jim (new) - rated it 5 stars

Jim (jimmaclachlan) | 2228 comments Zelazny originally wrote this to serialize in a magazine, a chapter per month. One thing that seems to confuse people is the first chapter is present day but they miss that he then remembers way back. The chapters work their way back to present day & the last one moves forward from it.

He liked to write a pun into every novel. It appears in the first chapter & is certainly a stinker, but it makes me chuckle.

It certainly is a weird blend of fantasy & SF. I find it interesting that here on GR it is shelved by 648 people as fantasy & 596 as SF. I would have expected the opposite. Back when he wrote this, much of the public still believed in Rhine & parapsychology. Every piece of the story is SF, but the tone is definitely fantasy. How do you classify or shelve it & why?


V.W. Singer | 253 comments It's been decades since I read the book, but I remember it made a definite impression on me that has lingered to this day.

The blend of legend and theology with advanced science, as well as the interesting characterisation of each major crew member matched with his or her god aspect was something I had never seen before at the time of reading.


Brendan (mistershine) | 743 comments V.W. wrote: "How do you classify or shelve it & why?"

Like the recent Broken Earth series, it is definitely both. Just because your magic comes from advanced tech doesn't make it not magic, and the tone is pure fantasy.

I really liked this book. It was slow in places, and I found the ending a bit abrupt (everything seems to happen in the last 20%) but Zelazny got himself a fan and I'll make checking out other books of his a priority.


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Andrea | 2670 comments Cat wrote: "I quite enjoyed this book, but I feel like I need to read it at least once more to appreciate it properly. I'm sure there were things that just went straight over my head. But enjoyable nonetheless."

I think you took that quote right out of my head.

I struggled the first two chapters, wasn't really getting into it, but then as I got used to the technologies and concepts I was better able to understand what was going on and then by the end decided I did like it after all. A second read will definitely be in order.

I think in the end I got the same feeling I did with Jack of Shadows - it was really weird but I kinda liked it ;)

Jim wrote: "Zelazny originally wrote this to serialize in a magazine, a chapter per month. One thing that seems to confuse people is the first chapter is present day but they miss that he then remembers way ba..."

That was one thing I struggled with, since when you jumped back into the past it wasn't immediately obvious so I got confused. And then I kept expecting to pop back to present day but that doesn't happen until near the end. Usually flashbacks don't last that long. And lots of people with the same name. Again, a reread would be great for this :)

And of course keeping track of the reincarnations, in fact even the characters had to struggle to keep track of each other, thought it was a nice touch they couldn't recognize each other automatically.

You asked how I would shelve it, I go with SF, because while subtle, all the "magic" is really technology. In the end, even if the science is less science than fiction I usually stick to the SF category if the author at least tries to explain things using science/tech. Maybe because I'm an engineer by training, though because of that I also love the idea of magic by science, one of my favorite "aliens" in Babylon 5 were the technomages.

Thus Pern and the New Sun would also be SF for me, while Dying Earth (anything that takes place in the future for some reason seems to automatically falls under SF) is Fantasy (futuristic urban fantasy since it's technically our world?) since the magic seems to be actually magic.

But that's only important for putting it on my GR shelves, in the end if the book is good it can be anything it wants :)


message 8: by Jim (new) - rated it 5 stars

Jim (jimmaclachlan) | 2228 comments Since I grew up reading SF like the Lensmen, Barsoom, & similar series, I agree that it is SF even though the tech was quite magical at times. Nice to see others agree, even though the tone was fantasy, especially the alternate endings.

Andrea, the long leap to the past is something that befuddles most readers the first time, myself among them. The struggle is real. All of Zelazny's works require a reread, IMO. I'm always somewhat confused by the overall story the first time or sometimes find it simplistic. A reread always explains or uncovers a lot more. The man was almost sadistic in his subtlety. The biggest saving grace is that rereads are so damned enjoyable even when the twisted ending is known.


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M.P. Gunderson | 7 comments I have yet to read this novel, but I'm drawn to it because of all the references to Hindu gods such as Ganesh and Yama, as I'm into Vedic literature a lot. It's sort of a difficult concept, amalgamating science fiction and fantasy. From the synopsis, it almost appears to be more mythic, with a dash of science added in.


message 10: by Jim (new) - rated it 5 stars

Jim (jimmaclachlan) | 2228 comments I just finished read Under Western Eyes & need a mental palate cleanser, so I'm going to start rereading this for my lunch time read.


Roger I read this two Christmases ago and I think the whole thing went over my head. I remember being entertained but having no clue what was going on.


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Andrea | 2670 comments Must admit though, I really enjoyed the Hindu theme. I love mythology based books (especially since Rick Riordan really got the genre rolling, but obviously there's American Gods and lots of others) and I hadn't come across one based on this pantheon before, perhaps because it's still a living, breathing religion whereas you can do whatever you want with Zeus or Anubis and there isn't anyone around to be offended anymore...well, except the gods themselves, after all, who knows...


message 13: by Patricia (new)

Patricia I don't feel so bad about my confusion with this book after reading all the posts. I gave up on the book but will go back and persevere. I did not understand the flashback thing even though I'm pretty good at figuring these things out. He must be very subtle and this is my first Zelazny book. Thanks all!


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Jim wrote: "the long leap to the past is something that befuddles most readers the first time, myself among them...."

The last line of the first chapter is "Sam stared ahead, remembering....", and from that meager clue the reader is supposed to figure out the next chapter is the past.


Brendan (mistershine) | 743 comments I didn't miss that it was a flashback, but it did surprise me that what I assumed would be a quick jaunt into the past ended up being about 75% of the book.


message 16: by Jim (new) - rated it 5 stars

Jim (jimmaclachlan) | 2228 comments G33z3r wrote: "The last line of the first chapter is "Sam stared ahead, remembering....", and from that meager clue the reader is supposed to figure out the next chapter is the past."

Meager clues are all Zelazny usually gives & this book is more straight forward than most. He was an English major & wanted to be a poet, but he couldn't figure out how to make that pay. Quite often allusions fill in gaps or flesh out otherwise bare scenes. He was very well read & assumes everyone else has the same grounding in the classics, but he goes well beyond them at times. I don't think he means to be obscure, but between that & his quirky sense of style, his books can be a lunatic scavenger hunt at times.

A Night in the Lonesome October is full of horror references from Lovecraft to B movies. He drags in Sherlock Holmes & some historical figures as well. I have over 20 pages of notes on that seemingly simple story since the story behind the obvious one is even more interesting.

Roadmarks has Doc Savage & one of his bad guys making an appearance along with the Marquis de Sade. I've never studied it as I have 'Lonesome October'. It would make an interesting group read, but it's really confusing the first time through, especially if you aren't forewarned. The Road travels time, so he has chapters titled 1 & 2 for the time lines. Timeline 1 chapters are in sequential order, but he tossed the timeline 2 chapters into the air & then put them back randomly between the chapter ones with few exceptions.

Anyway, skimming his books is dangerous as it's easy to get lost. He generally had a reason for every word he wrote. You'll notice that his descriptions are very limited. I believe he said no more than 3 descriptors per character at first. If they need more description, he fills them in in later paragraphs with the character in motion.


message 17: by Andrea (last edited Oct 02, 2017 11:48AM) (new) - added it

Andrea | 2670 comments Since I intend on nominating Lonesome October again next year, what are the background stories one should be familiar with, at least literature-wise (I don't see myself hunting down B movies just for this). At least I'm already good on the Lovecraft and Holmes references :)


message 18: by Jim (new) - rated it 5 stars

Jim (jimmaclachlan) | 2228 comments If you have a copy of the book, look at the dedication. That's a good start, but he was also inordinately fond of The Golden Bough which I've never read in its entirety. It's free on Gutenberg, though. Off hand, I can't think of any other literature for this book, but I'm sure there are some. Just not coming to mind now.

I'd suggest doing a daily read of 'Lonesome October'. It has 31 chapters & most are short, so it can be read in tandem with other books & that allows time for pondering each section. We're doing that in another group right now. I'm pasting in what I've gleaned from other group reads over the years each day. There are always other questions & interpretations that come up, though. It's fun.


Michael | 152 comments Like many others, I first read this book years ago and I was already a Zelazny fan, having previously read Jack of Shadows and Creatures of Light and Darkness (the latter a similar mash up of SF and Egyptian Mythology). At the time, Zelazny's writing was so different than anything else I had read (mostly pulp and golden age SF at that point in my life) that it was an exciting new vision for me.


message 20: by Cat (last edited Oct 03, 2017 01:50AM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Cat | 343 comments Jim wrote: "I don't think he means to be obscure, but between that & his quirky sense of style, his books can be a lunatic scavenger hunt at times. "

Love the description. Think I'm definitely going to have to read some more Zelazny books then!

Jim wrote: "How do you classify or shelve it & why? ..."

I don't think I helped by classifying it as both... I couldn't pick!

I was really glad I briefly skimmed over the introduction - it mentioned the whole 'most of a book is a flashback' thing, so that didn't throw me too much. I missed the pun though. I'm going to have to go back and look for that.

I did wonder about the issue of Orientalism. I don't feel like Hindu/Buddhism was portrayed particularly negatively but you can't escape the fact that it was written by a White Western Author who wasn't part of the culture he was writing about. Or was it sufficiently different that it doesn't matter? There are made-up religions all the time in sci-fi/fantasy, so why would he pick two current religions? Could the book have been written without being related to/named as Buddhism/ Hinduism and been as powerful?


message 21: by Jim (new) - rated it 5 stars

Jim (jimmaclachlan) | 2228 comments Cat wrote: "...I missed the pun though. I'm going to have to go back and look for that. ..."

I believe I wrote it was in the first chapter, but it's in the second chapter. Don't know what I was thinking. Senior moment.

Cat wrote: "...White Western Author who wasn't part of the culture he was writing about....

Warning: There are probably some spoilers below.



Others have pointed this out, but it makes no sense to me as a gripe. Of course it isn't the same culture or religion we have on Earth today. While Zelazny did research it, he used it as a tool, just as the crew did.

In the far future, a colony ship landed on a planet where they faced a very tough world with strange, practically unexplainable dangers & burgeoning new powers. They needed everyone to work together. They hit on an answer for control - religion.

Religion is arguably the oldest form of politics. It keeps everyone unified & decisions simple for the common man. The crew likely started out saying their talents were god-given & evolved into gods. They drew their inspiration from the Hindu pantheon probably because of the majority of the colonists were at least familiar with it, if not believers. The name of the starship was "The Star of India", after all. (We find this out in the last chapter when Refrew & Olvagga meet.)

A pantheist religion had several advantages for the crew. First, it was a religion, so belief counts more than fact or logic & it gave their 'talents' more stature. They could also share power since pantheists don't believe in all powerful gods who have all the answers the way monotheists do. They fight among themselves, make mistakes, & are generally just exaggerated humans.

Monotheistic religions by definition insist that there is one omnipresent, omniscient, & omnipotent being. That would only have worked if one of the crew, likely Olvagga, had been far more powerful than the rest & could have set themself up as a tyrant. None of them were/are, so the chaplain, Renfrew, became an anathema since he was a true believer in a monotheistic religion, Christianity.

So, the crew did the thinking &, due to peculiarities of the planet, became gods in a way that suited them & trained the talents they found. These talents would have shown up among the colonists, but they either became part of the ruling class or were destroyed. It actually worked quite well for them until Sam rocked the boat.


Roger Jim wrote: "Cat wrote: "...I missed the pun though. I'm going to have to go back and look for that. ..."

I believe I wrote it was in the first chapter, but it's in the second chapter. Don't know what I was th..."


I'm not going ot lie, I got absolutely none of that when I read it, but knowing this is what the book is then I may do a re-read and see if it helps the book make more sense to me.


message 23: by Jim (new) - rated it 5 stars

Jim (jimmaclachlan) | 2228 comments Roger wrote: "I'm not going ot lie, I got absolutely none of that when I read it, but knowing this is what the book is then I may do a re-read and see if it helps the book make more sense to me."

Maybe I shouldn't worry too much about spoilers?

I loved it when Renfrew (Nirriti) meets Olvegg. The former exclaims that the old captain is one of the First (original crew) & a Christian. Olvegg's answer, "Occasionally, when I run out of Hindii swear words." always makes me smile. Zelazny puts a lot of subtle humor in his novels.

Nirriti is a dark goddess and I always seem to think of Renfield from Dracula when I read Renfrew's name, so he makes a good bad guy.


message 24: by Patricia (new)

Patricia I am also reading A Night in Lonesome October a chapter per night. And trying to research the story behind the story as I go along. I have Lovecraft in my "real" bookshelf but haven't read him yet. My curiosity is so peaked, I want to read all Zelazny.


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Andrea | 2670 comments Michael wrote: " Shadows and Creatures of Light and Darkness (the latter a similar mash up of SF and Egyptian Mythology)."

Stargate? But seriously...I'm going to have to look into that one too now.

As for why the Hindu pantheon, one can also add they came up with the technology for reincarnation which isn't present in all religions so that narrowed it down too. They even managed to send Sam to Nirvana (I just pictured his molecules floating in orbit around the planet like in that scene with the chocolate bar miniaturizer in the original Willy Wonka movie...)


message 26: by Cat (new) - rated it 3 stars

Cat | 343 comments Thanks Jim! That's clarified a few things (I knew I was missing some subtle bits, definitely need a re-read).

Also "Occasionally, when I run out of Hindii swear words." was my favourite line in the whole book, definitely didn't miss the joke that time!

Andrea wrote: "I just pictured his molecules floating in orbit around the planet like in that scene with the chocolate bar miniaturizer in the original Willy Wonka movie..."

That's the best image! Love it. Also very good point about the technology and re-incarnation


message 27: by Phil (new) - rated it 4 stars

Phil Jensen | 329 comments I know this is generally considered Zelazny's masterpiece, or one of them. Honestly, when I read it 15-20 years ago, it was so much work that I didn't get much out of it. It was so hard to understand who the characters were and what they were doing that I felt distanced from the book and didn't connect with it.

Zelazny's other books have an engaging narrator who draws you into the tale and keeps you involved enough to care about the riddles.

I don't know if I should read this one again or just be content with being the only Zelazny fan who doesn't get his "best" book.


message 28: by Jim (new) - rated it 5 stars

Jim (jimmaclachlan) | 2228 comments Creatures of Light and Darkness is pretty weird. Zelazny wrote it as an experimental piece & didn't plan to have it published, but an editor badgered him for it & loved it. I like it, but don't claim to get it. I found plenty of other books of his far more satisfying.

You're welcome, Cat. Did you get the pun? (view spoiler)

The evolution of the gods is well described early in the second chapter when Sam slips out of the hostel & goes down to the harbor. The nameless captain, his wandering through town, & then Jan Olvegg all spell out the whole thing pretty well. Unfortunately, on a first read, it can be a little too much too quickly.

Andrea, that's a good point on the reincarnation. No molecules involved, just electrical energy. Sam had his fires strengthened. If you don't get that now, you will.

Phil, did you ever read The Dream Master or the short story it was based on? That's one of his masterpieces I've never liked. I detested the books he wrote with Sheckley & the one he wrote with PKD, too. Have you read This Immortal? It's not considered one of his masterpieces, but it's one of my favorites.


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Mark Huntley-James | 5 comments This has been lurking on the bookshelf for years. I read a lot of Zelazny in my teens and twenties, but not this one, so I'm giving it a go. So far, i'm struggling with the language - I assume it is deliberate, but it comes across like a Victorian translation of a religious text.
I'll keep at it until I've at least reach the second chapter, but so far it's not hitting the spot.
I do wonder if I would have been fine with it if I had read it thirty years ago.


message 30: by Phil (new) - rated it 4 stars

Phil Jensen | 329 comments Jim wrote: "Phil, did you ever read The Dream Master or the short story it was based on? That's one of his masterpieces I've never liked. I detested the books he wrote with Sheckley & the one he wrote with PKD, too. Have you read This Immortal? It's not considered one of his masterpieces, but it's one of my favorites."

I have not read The Dream Master; it's been sitting on my shelf for almost 20 years now.

I thought This Immortal was pretty well regarded. It won awards, at least. I enjoyed it quite a bit, but not as much as some of his other books.

In general, I think my favorites of his are the pulpier, more fantasy oriented adventures, like the Amber series, Jack of Shadows, and Changeling. Nobody talks much about Changeling. I guess it didn't revolutionize the genre, but I thought it was fun and it had a cool magic system.


message 31: by Jim (new) - rated it 5 stars

Jim (jimmaclachlan) | 2228 comments I really liked Changeling & recommend it as a standalone. Madwand was OK, but ended on a cliff hanger & he never wrote the planned 3d book or even enough of it for Jane to finish up, I guess. Each of the books was supposed to be dedicated to each one of his kids. The first to Trent &... I forget the names of the other 2.

This Immortal improved for me with rereads as I read more classics & grew more familiar with it. The rereads also bring out the duality of the novel & main character. Is Conrad really Pan? It helped to read Chris Kovacs' (I think it was Chris, anyway.) explanations of the original novella which is part of the Collected Works.

You might want to try Doorways in the Sand & Today We Choose Faces. Both are SF mysteries.
In the first he starts every chapter in the middle of the action, explains how that happened (which resolves the prior chapter's cliff hanger), & then ends on a cliff hanger. The second is somewhat similar since the character starts in the near future, then the story jumps to a far future, but the character needs to both remember more & revert to solve the mystery. Both are pretty straight forward & fun stories beneath the slightly weird styles.


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Jim (jimmaclachlan) | 2228 comments I read the third chapter today at lunch. It was the only part that was published separately as "Death & the Executioner" - I think that's right, anyway. I like how Sam took on a less visible role & other characters carried it. Both Yama & Rilde were excellent, too.


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Phil wrote: "I have not read The Dream Master; it's been sitting on my shelf for almost 20 years now...."

I liked The Dream Master better than Jim, but I really enjoyed the short story ("He Who Shapes") from which it was expanded.


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Phil wrote: "Nobody talks much about Changeling. I guess it didn't revolutionize the genre, but I thought it was fun and it had a cool magic system. .."

I'll second that. I liked Changeling. I don't know if it was a "magic system" in the sense we use the term today (you couldn't turn it into an RPG), but I fondly remember the way Zelazny described how the magician performed/saw/felt his magic.


message 35: by Phil (new) - rated it 4 stars

Phil Jensen | 329 comments Jim wrote: "You might want to try Doorways in the Sand & Today We Choose Faces. Both are SF mysteries. "

I enjoyed Doorways in the Sand. I haven't read Today We Choose Faces.


Rachel | 524 comments Finally got this and starting it today


message 37: by Jim (new) - rated it 5 stars

Jim (jimmaclachlan) | 2228 comments I read about Sam's descent into Hell yesterday at lunch. It's nice to finally make sense out of the whole demon thing & really learn what they are, their position in the world & such. It also explained a lot more about the gods & starts making sense of Sam's plans.

I've always wondered, like Yama, about why Sam chose Buddhism. I know nothing about either religion. Perhaps the answer is here:
http://www.danielpipes.org/comments/1...

I also found this Wikipedia article helpful:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Buddhis...


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Mary Catelli | 746 comments I remember, keenly, how the gods would talk about how humans could through merit advance to godhood --

but every single god who appears on stage is either from the original ship or the offspring of gods.


message 39: by Jim (new) - rated it 5 stars

Jim (jimmaclachlan) | 2228 comments Not true, Mary. There was Mistress Maya, who Tak taught about Accelerationism as he seduced her.

...Some others would even say that one such as yourself had been chosen for deification only because your original form and attitude struck the fancy of some lustful divinity, rather than for your other obvious virtues, my dear....

Sam's time in Heaven was full of action & filled in a lot about the gods.


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Wasn't there also some quip about the new Agni being just some guy with a flamethrower? (If I had this as an ebook I could search for the reference... much better than my memory.)


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Andrea | 2670 comments Mary wrote: "I remember, keenly, how the gods would talk about how humans could through merit advance to godhood --

but every single god who appears on stage is either from the original ship or the offspring ..."


Towards they end they sped up the process of deification as the old ones started getting killed off they had to replace them, Agni being one of them, who didn't last long in the first battle he was sent out into since he didn't have much time to develop his Attributes.

But given that everyone is for all intents and purposes immortal, you have to wait a looooong time for someone to die and open up a divine spot before someone else can be raised up.


message 42: by Mary (new) - rated it 4 stars

Mary Catelli | 746 comments They didn't speed up deification. Gods got to advance into better godly roles.


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Robert Katz | 11 comments I'm surprised nobody here is talking about Isle of the Dead (or if they are, I've missed it). It was one of the first "Ace Science Originals" and is my favorite Zelazny book after Lord of Light. I was a big fan of Zelazny, way back when. I still think he was one of the very best science fiction authors ever. I'm also a bit surprised that this thread seems not to be mentioning the Amber series, which I always did think overrated, after the first couple, at least.

The first time I tried to read Lord of Light, I put it down for a bit, finding it too confusing. The second time, I persisted, and by the middle of the second chapter, I was into it. One of my all time favorite books.


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Andrea | 2670 comments Mary wrote: "They didn't speed up deification. Gods got to advance into better godly roles."

I guess that's what I meant about "sped up", in that normally you'd have to wait centuries for someone to die off and to take their place, but now they were dying off so fast they couldn't keep up and people got bumped up in the ranks fast without time for training.


message 45: by Jim (new) - rated it 5 stars

Jim (jimmaclachlan) | 2228 comments Robert wrote: "I'm surprised nobody here is talking about Isle of the Dead (or if they are, I've missed it). It was one of the first "Ace Science Originals" and is my favorite Zelazny book after Lord of Light. I ..."

I don't know why it's not one I think of off the top of my head. I've read it a couple of times & like it well enough. He's a pretty neat character. There's a short story about Francis Sandow's early days (the name escapes me off hand) & he shows up in To Die in Italbar, too. Like the gods of LoL, when he takes on his aspect (sort of) he's very powerful. Still, those books are not among my favorites of his.


message 46: by Jim (new) - rated it 5 stars

Jim (jimmaclachlan) | 2228 comments I finished LoL again today. Wonderful book! I really like how the tone of the book changes from that of a fable to somewhat more normal tones that are filled with such great subtlety & power. The simile at the beginning of the battle of Keenset is especially evocative, “The day of battle dawned pink as the fresh-bitten thigh of a maiden.”

The pace was great, too. The setup was interesting & then the last bit of the book encompasses 2 great battles where everything becomes clear & blows up. The very end proves me to be a romantic.


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Robert Katz | 11 comments Jim wrote: "Robert wrote: "I'm surprised nobody here is talking about Isle of the Dead (or if they are, I've missed it). It was one of the first "Ace Science Originals" and is my favorite Zelazny book after Lo..."

It was a Nebula Award finalist in 1969 and won the French Prix Apollo in 1972. I think the short story was This Moment of the Storm. No accounting for taste, I suppose, but to me, Zelazny's big five are Lord of Light, Isle of the Dead, This Immortal, Nine Princes in Amber and Creatures of Light and Darkness. Also, a lot of his short stories were terrific, my all time favorite being For a Breath I Tarry.


message 48: by Jim (new) - rated it 5 stars

Jim (jimmaclachlan) | 2228 comments I certainly like all 5 books you named, Robert. I would have substituted The Dream Master in for Isle of the Dead in his Big 5, as little as I like the former. More people seem to mention it.

I'd agree more with your picks, though. This Immortal & the first 5 Amber books are definitely among my favorites. Most years I do a group read of A Night in the Lonesome October & haven't gotten bored yet. Actually, I can reread most of his books at any time & enjoy them. Such a range, too. It's hard to imagine the same author wrote Damnation Alley & The Dream Master.

His short stories were fabulous & there is no way I can pick a winner. "Unicorn Variations", & "The Last Defender of Camelot" & "Manna From Heaven", the title stories of their books, are all favorites along with "The Furies". His funny stories like "Museum Piece" & "Collectors Fever" are great. Even that super short one "The Monster & the Maiden" was excellent. Such a great twist in such a short space.

Have you ever read The Einstein Intersection? If not, I highly recommend it. It's the only book by Samuel R. Delany that I like, but it's in my top 10 list along with LoL & This Immortal.


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Robert Katz | 11 comments Jim wrote: "I certainly like all 5 books you named, Robert. I would have substituted The Dream Master in for Isle of the Dead in his Big 5, as little as I like the former. More peop..."

It's funny. I always think of Delany and Zelazny together. In the late '60's, early '70's they were my two favorite authors. I loved the Einstein Intersection, Babel-17 and Nova. All of his short stories are brilliant. Around 1972, I tried to turn one of my college professors on to Delany (this was way before Delany himself achieved recognition as an academic) and loaned him my copy of Babel-17. He gave it back to me, pronounced it "interesting" but seemed more interested in the language theory than in the story. I loaned one of my college friends my copy of Driftglass. He read it and said, "He can do anything." I will admit, I always considered Dhalgren to be pretentious drivel, though I do remember the New York Times review when it came out that said something like, "Norman Mailer has been trying to write the great American novel. Samuel R. Delany has just done so."


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Robert Katz | 11 comments Jim wrote: "I certainly like all 5 books you named, Robert. I would have substituted The Dream Master in for Isle of the Dead in his Big 5, as little as I like the former. More peop..."

I also have to admit that The Dream Master is one of my least favorite Zelazny books, along with the mystery novel that came out a couple of years ago, The Dead Man's Brother.


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