Posted on | January 8, 2013 | 1 Comment
Some books require you to drop acid to fully ride their flow, with others it is enough that the writer did so – such is the case with Roger Zelazny’s Creatures of Light and Darkness. In many ways it is a rehash of his Lord of Light in a different setting – a heroic god-man is killed in battle with evil and comes back to fight once more – but Creatures is far more hardcore in that it explains almost nothing, leaving the reader to dive through its varied styles, ranging from poetry through prose to play – untangling the character relationships and the plot itself.
A plot summary certainly cannot spoil anything, but it will also not help you in the least, because the plot is rather byzantine and beside the point. In a far future where humanity lives across many worlds and certain humans have been uplifted to the status of gods (or, perhaps, are gods), two of those, Anubis and Osiris, maintain a harsh balance between the forces of life and death. But ancient powers reawaken and reignite an old battle between superior divine forces and… oh, hell, forget it. It’s not that it cannot be done, there is no point. Just start reading, and see if it grabs you.
In this literary experiment that he never meant for publication, Zelazny wrote a science fiction epic in a florid, occasionally pompous and pretentious, but lovely, flowing style, interwoven with dry and dark humor, weaving a mythic story pattern that echoes, but also twists many of the established myths and legends of various peoples. Though the principal players seem at first to be mainly Egyptian, there are tinges of Greek, Norse and other flavours, peppered with a generous helping of Buddhist/Christian. This was a book that so easily could have slipped into pretentious masturbation, but much like the lead characters in both Creatures and Lord, never took itself too seriously and thus remained firmly brilliant.
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