Welcome to the BURN CENTER!

Hey folks, Jonny Napalm here welcoming you to my charred little corner of the sky. Here I will be sharing views on all the things I love and adore and loathe with the burning passion of a thousand suns. Be aware.. my views tend to the nerdtastic, so... you are warned.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Zelazny's Lord of Light

This is a classic piece of science fiction and one of my favorite books of all time... I find myself reading fairly regularly every year... and each year I find the book speaks to me in a new way.  The book originally ran about 250 pages, but it's current incarnations are about 300... but it's an incredibly quick read.  The first chapter of the story deliberately takes place in media res of the over-arching storyline with the resurrection of Mahsamatman (or Sam as he preferred to be known), and introduces us to our protagonist and a few other players in the drama.  It is designed to get the reader involved by asking questions... who are these people that call themselves by the names of Hindu gods and goddesses?  What are they doing?  What has become of this world they live on?  All these questions and more are addressed slowly, as the flowering of a blossom with different parts revealing themselves in turn and each bringing more answers, and then more questions.  
One of the reasons that I find myself so drawn into this book time and time again, is the complexity of the relationships and characters we are introduced to.  Our protagonist character Sam is a "god" of the trickster mold... playful, cunning, infinitely devious and brilliant, but also very very human in the best possible way.  He sees injustice around him and is compelled to speak against it...even to rail and wage war against "Heaven" itself for his cause.  He cares deeply for his friends and allies, but is very aware of their own capabilities and allows them to make their own choices.  Watching his efforts to change himself and his world is elegant and tightly written.  
This fantastic story which elegantly skirts the lines between science fiction and fantasy also has compelling concepts of technological advancement.  Along with an elegant parable regarding the nature of religion and faith, and how they can become corrupted.  There are few books that I tell all of my friends to read.  This is one of them.

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