Thursday, 19 August 2010

Bringing SFXy back

As the next issue of The World's Number One Sci-Fi Magazine is out soon, I thought I'd better mention my mini-review in the last issue. It was the turn of Roger Zelazny's 1967 novel, Lord Of Light, to er, shine in the SFX Book Club.

Lord Of Light is a suitably psychedelic novel of a colony world where the crew of an Earth starship have used technology to become virtually superhuman, and cast themselves in the roles of Hindu gods. The main character Sam ( aka Siddhartha, Mahasamatman, Binder Of Demons ) is a classic trickster/troublemaker who tries to bring about the fall of the gods, but is executed for his crimes. Luckily, reincarnation is always an option when you're a Hindu god.....

It's quite a confusing book, with an awkward framing device: most of the story is told in flashback, so when you return to the "present" it's hard to remember where it all started. I suppose this is all to do with the cyclical nature of karma, but it is a bit of a headache.

But that's my only quibble ( love that word! ) with a book that is dazzling, witty, sensual and glitteringly complex - a real tour-de-force by a sadly-missed author at the height of his powers. Zelazny overwhelms the reader with the plots and counter-plots of his godlike characters and the sheer detail of his world, with its prayer-machines, technological Heaven, phantom jungle-cats, Demons, martyrs and warriors. What I'm saying is: check it out; it's good karma.

( I won't go into the crazy-but-supposedly-true story of the Lord Of Light theme park, Jack Kirby and a CIA plot..... but you can read about it here and make your own minds up. )


Steve Does Comics said...

Congratulations on getting into print (I think you said before that it's your first published piece in a magazine?). Here's hoping there'll be more to come.

cerebus660 said...

Cheers, Steve!

This is my second mini-review for the SFX Book Club ( the first one is at )
It's not that big a deal, but it is fun to see your name ( or pseudonym ) in print.

I've mentioned before that I had a short story ( 10,000 words! ) published in an early-90's horror mag called Frighteners. If I ever get a decent scanner I hope to post it here, in all its black & white glory :-)

The Cryptic Critic said...

Well done, cerebus. At this rate, you'll have Ian Berriman fearing for his job.

Mark Kardwell said...

Love that book. Beat-after-beat of cool SF action; it would make a great blockbuster movie.

Momo said...

Allow me to offer my congratulations.
This is a small step for a man... but a giant leap for... (has that been said before?)
... for your literary prowess.
It all begins with the first paragraph.
Will there be more?


cerebus660 said...

Thanks for commenting, everyone.

@Cryptic Critic, I don't think any SFX staff need to fear me... yet. ( Heh, heh, heh! )

@Mark, There's certainly the technology available nowadays for a Spielberg or Cameron to produce a Lord Of Light movie - using Kirby's designs, of course!

@Momo, I'll definitely try to write some more - I was short-listed for a blogging job on the SFX website, but just missed out. I'll keep you all up to date with any developments.

Saranga said...

I finally read Lord of Light earlier this year and it bemused me. I came away thinking I'd have got more out of it had I known more about Hindusim.
But, I did like it and it is most def on the pile of things to reread and then reread again

Mickey Glitter said...

I've never heard of this, but am adding it to my list of Books to Read, right along with Julian by Gore Vidal. And congrats on the magazine entry. It *is* pretty exciting, isn't it? =)

cerebus660 said...

Saranga, Mickey - thanx for your comments.

Lord Of Light is definitely worth a read ( I've read it twice now ) although the Hindu mythology can be confusing. But that only adds to its uniqueness :-)
As for a potential movie: How about a Bollywood version?


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