Lord of Light by Roger Zelazny

May 18, 2004 at 12:00 am | Posted in 5 stars, Book Reviews, Science Fiction | Leave a comment

This is a brilliant book. As with most amazing books there’s not a lot I can say other to strongly recommend it. The premise is a new spin on the traditional SF colonization. When the ship arrives at the colony long before the narrative of the book begins, the crew uses their unique access to technology to make themselves the controlling elite. The unusual aspect comes when they choose the Hindu religion as their method of control. The technology the ordinary people (and indeed soon many of the “gods” themselves) no longer understand provides the gods their powers while a device for transferring consciousness to vat-grown bodies and further means to examine the memory of that person in the process allows them to create a karmic reincarnation system. This is all the backdrop for the main character’s struggle against the authority. The tricky bit is he does this by starting Buddhism, even though he is not really a Buddhist himself.

With so many religious elements and a complicated cast, most authors would make a real mess of this. Zalazny not only vividly draws the characters but does an absolute bang-up job with the religious aspects. Admittedly I am a westerner and have little direct experience with either of the two Eastern religions featured, but everything was really well-written. Very strongly recommended.

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