Tuesday, March 2, 2010

This Immortal by Roger Zelazny

Posted by Lilith at Tuesday, March 02, 2010
This Immortal by Roger Zelazny

Originally titled “…And Call me Conrad”, Roger Zelazny’s “This Immortal” tied with Frank Herbert’s “Dune” for the 1966 Hugo Award for Best Novel.

This Immortal is set in a ravaged, post-apocalyptic Earth where most humans have left Earth to live and work with the Vegans, an alien race that is more advanced and wealthy than the humans.

The Vegans tour the Earth, mainly to gawk at how badly a species can screw up their planet, and buy up prime real estate. Conrad Nomikos, a man who has a lot of names and identities and whose age is uncertain, is tasked with protecting a high caste Vegan on an Earth tour.

Mutated creatures abound in this post-nuclear war setting and many of them are straight out of Greek myth. Conrad himself is hinted to be much more than he seems

Although not as good as Zelazny’s Lord of Light, This Immortal  is funny, action packed and heavily layered elements from Greek mythology. Fans of Greek myth (like me!) will love this novel.

It is very short (58,000 words only) and can be read in one sitting. This Immortal was written in the 60s so expect some material which can seem little bit dated. One reviewer noted, for example, that Conrad and the other characters will smoke at the drop of a hat and today smoking in public gatherings is pretty much taboo in polite society so that type of thing will tell you that this is a pretty old book.

This Immortal Quotes:

- The day of battle dawned pink as the fresh-bitten thigh of a maiden.

- Love is a negative form of hatred.

- In attempting to reconstruct the affairs of these past six month, I realize now that as we willed walls of passion around our October and the isle of Kos, the Earth had already fallen into the hands of those powers that smash all Octobers.

The Basics

What it has:

Greeks, Copts, aliens, Vegans, journalists, diplomats, flares, prostitutes, wigs, immortals, mutants, godlike creatures, christenings, infant exposure of deformed babies, poison, rescue, assassins, hellhounds, slings, toothpicks, poets, boxing, bats, fertility rites, letters

What it doesn’t have:
chicks in leather, biker gangs, kings, queens, swords, lions, talking animals, magic wardrobes, fur coats, internet games, facebook, kids, teenagers, high school romance


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