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. )