Lord of Light is a story of myth and science and man, all wrapped and twisted about each other into an ineffable whole.
This would be an impressive novel if Zelazny had simply managed to craft a narrative of such epic scope which managed to be a grand vision of science fiction world-building; a potent myth tapping into fundamental truths; and a heart-touching character drama – each in turns. But what makes Lord of Light one of the greatest novels ever written is that it routinely succeeds at being all of these things at once.
One person will read a passage and be captivated by the depth of Zelazny’s future history.
Another, reading the exact same passage, will be awed by Zelazny’s uncanny ability to capture moments of mythic perfection upon the page.
And yet another, while reading the same passage as the other two, will be moved to tears or laughter or joy by the sheer, human passion of Zelazny’s characters.
And what’s truly special are those moments where your mind rises to Zelazny’s challenge and expands to encompass all three perspectives at the same time – rendering a passage resonant with myth and marvel and man.
On top of that, Lord of Light is ultimately a narrative of canny subtlety. To even the most casual reader, Zelazny will deliver a rip-roaring tale of unforgettable quality: Men walk as gods; titanic duels and mighty wars are fought with the unimaginable fires of science; and the fate of mankind balances somewhere inbetween. But the more attention you give it, the more rewarding it becomes – revealing layers and hidden depths and wheels within wheels.
Lord of Light appears at #4 on my list of all-time favorite science fiction novels. And it’s a place well-deserved.
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