Saturday, February 27, 2010

Creatures of Light and Darkness by Roger Zelazny

Posted by Lilith at Saturday, February 27, 2010

Creatures of Light and Darkness by Roger Zelazny

Creatures of Light and Darkness is Roger Zelazny’s masterpiece novel of Egyptian mythology and futuristic technology. Written as an experiment in form and perspective, this novel is a gripping tale told entirely in the present tense. The final chapter is in the form of a play and several long poems are featured in this endless quotable science fiction classic.

Gods of Egyptian Myth

Reportedly a roman a clef of the Social Security Administration at Woodlawn, Maryland, where Zelazny worked, the novel has super-powered characters straight out of Egyptian mythology.

Thoth, the former ruler of the universe, has been overthrown and the Osiris has taken over the House of Life while Anubis rules over the House of Death. Set, who is Thoth’s son and father at the same time due to an anomaly in time, is missing, presumed dead. Osiris had used The Hammer that Smashes Suns on him and the Thing That Cries in the Night while the two were fighting. However, Set is a god and his story is far from over.

It’s really hard to write a good review of this book since it is very strange. Allow me therefore to provide some quotes that will show you what kind of book it is.


Agnostic’s Prayer

Insofar as I may be heard by anything, which may or may not care what I say, I ask, if it matters, that you be forgiven for anything you may have done or failed to do which requires forgiveness. Conversely, if not forgiveness but something else may be required to ensure any possible benefit for which you may be eligible after the destruction of your body, I ask that this, whatever it may be, be granted or withheld, as the case may be, in such a manner as to insure your receiving said benefit. I ask this in my capacity as your elected intermediary between yourself and that which may not be yourself, but which may have an interest in the matter of your receiving as much as it is possible for you to receive of this thing, and which may in some way be influenced by this ceremony. Amen.

About the Steel General

Wherever his goes, he carries a collapsible five-string banjo with him in a compartment near to where his heart used to be. When he plays it he becomes a kind of negative Orpheus and men follow him to Hell.

The Prince Who Was a Thousand (explaining through poetry about Set and himself)

You did not approve,
because my father Set,
mightiest warrior who ever lived,
was also our son in those days gone by,
our son, those days in Marachek,
after I had broken the temporal barrier,
to live once again through all time,   
for the wisdom that is Past.

A Curious Type of Vengeance (or, do not piss off  Osiris)

True, the Angel of the Nineteenth House attempted to slay me, and his nervous system lives, threaded amidst the fibers of this carpet I stand upon; and true, others of my enemies exist in elementary forms at various points within my House—such as fireplaces, ice lockers and ash trays. But think not that I am vindictive. No, never. As Lord of Life, I feel an obligation to repay all things which have threatened life

The Basics

What it has

gods, myth, Egyptian mythology, sex, adultery, procreation, time paradoxes, poetry, drama, chariots, wands, gloves, death, life, disease, immortality, banjos, rebellion, ideals, religion, entrails, eye surgery

What it doesn’t have

high school romance, vampires, sparkly skin, blood sucking corpses, brain eating zombies, mutants, marines, soccer moms

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