Creatures of Light and Darkness Audible – Bilb-weil.de

Two gods, two houses, one quest and the eternal war between life and death To save his kingdom, Anubis, Lord of the Dead, sends forth his servant on a mission of vengeance At the same time, from The House of Life, Osiris sends forth his son, Horus, on the same mission to destroy utterly forever The Prince Who Was a Thousand But neither of these superhuman warriors is prepared for the strange harrowing world of mortal life The Thing That Cries in the Night may well destroy not only their worlds, but all humankind As Zelazny did with the Hindu pantheon in the legendary, groundbreaking classic Lord of Light, the master storyteller here breathes new life into the Egyptian gods with another dazzling tale of mythology and imagination


10 thoughts on “Creatures of Light and Darkness

  1. Stephen Stephen says:

    Zelazny s stories often leave me scratching my MENTAL JUNK searching for a new means to describe his impressive creative chops Well, after several brain limbering exercises, I came up with COSMICaweTASTIC SUPERBitude to describe this lesser known but amazing piece I m not sure exactly what it means but I think it s something positive This is certainly one of Zelazny screative works, which is really saying something given his penchant to WTF his reader with bizarre and unique imagery Zelazny s stories often leave me scratching my MENTAL JUNK searching for a new means to describe his impressive creative chops Well, after several brain limbering exercises, I came up with COSMICaweTASTIC SUPERBitude to describe this lesser known but amazing piece I m not sure exactly what it means but I think it s something positive This is certainly one of Zelazny screative works, which is really saying something given his penchant to WTF his reader with bizarre and unique imagery As with other Zelazny works, he has created a rich, lush backdrop that infuses ancient myth with far future technology all placed in a dying earth type setting peopled with unique characters of dubious morality This myth tech combo is probably as close as Zelazny gets to a common theme for his work as he has used similar components in many of his novels, most notably Lord of Light and This Immortal However, what sets this book apart is the experimental style of the writing and his use of different techniques throughout the narrative Before I get into my thoughts on the book, I do want to give a piece an unusual piece of unsolicited advice to those looking to read this I would strongly recommend that you read the background description of the novel from Wikipedia before you read the novel The description does not contain spoilers of the actual plot but provides a great description of the back story, setting and major players Reading this before hand allowed me to get a sense of place from the very beginning The reason I think this is helpful is due to the experimental style of the prose Zelazny was never afraid to take risks in his writing While everything is eventually made clear, I found I was able to enjoy myselfby not having to struggle to piece together the back story and figure out what was going on Of course, you are free to ignore this advice as it is not necessary to enjoying the story, but I might have become irritated or bored with the narrative had I not done so and so I pass it along to you for whatever it s worth With the above caution, this is a book that I highly recommend to fans of Zelazny or anyone looking for something a little different For those of you interested in the background of the story, I have included the description from Wikipedia which I think is very good Feel free to skip it if you don t think it would be helpful Begin Wikipedia BackgroundThe Universe was once ruled by the god Thoth, who administered the different forces in the Universe to keep things in balance In time, he delegated this administration to his Angels other god like beings , who were each in charge of different stations , or forces in the Universe Such stations included the House of the Dead, the House of Life, the House of Fire, and so on.At some point, Thoth had awakened a dormant, malevolent force on a distant planet This dark force, called the Thing That Cries In The Night, is so powerful and malevolent that it nearly obliterated Thoth s wife and threatens to consume the galaxy Thoth works to contain and destroy the creature, and in so doing, neglects his duties in maintaining the Universe The Angels become rebellious and use the power vacuum to fight amongst themselves for dominance Thoth s son Set, who through an anomaly in Time is also his father, fights the creature across a devastated planet Just as Set is about to destroy the creature, he is attacked by the Angel Osiris, who unleashes the Hammer That Smashes Suns, a powerful weapon that nearly kills Set and the creature Thoth s brother, Typhon, who was helping Set in the battle, vanishes without a trace and is presumed dead Typhon appears as a black horse shadow, without a horse to cast it He contains within himself something called Skagganauk Abyss, which resembles a black hole, not a term in common use at the time.The Thing That Cries In The Night survived the blast, and so Thoth, who has meanwhile been utterly overthrown by his Angels, has no choice but to contain the dark force until he can find a way to destroy it He also revives the personality of his wife and keeps her safe on a special world known only to him, where the seas are above the atmosphere, not below them He also scatters Set s weapons and armor across the Universe for safe keeping in the event that Set can ever be found Having been overthrown, he is now dubbed The Prince Who Was A Thousand by all in the Universe.Some of the surviving Angels either hide among the peoples of the Universe as mysterious immortals , but others Osiris and Anubis take over the House of Life and the House of Death, respectively Other stations are abandoned, and Osiris and Anubis are the only two powers in the Universe now Osiris cultivates life where he can, while Anubis works to destroy it Plenty and famine, proliferation and plague, overpopulation and annihilation, alternate in the Worlds of Life between the two Stations, much to the detriment of those who inhabit them End of Wikipedia background PLOT SUMMARY The story takes place many years after the above background with Osiris and Anubis still maintaining a balance of power in the universe through their ability to destroy and create life The main plot involves a mysterious emissary from Anubis sent on a mission to the middle worlds The mystery of the real identity of the emissary is a fundamental part of the plot During his mission, the emissary known now as Wakim meets many of the angels immortals living in the middle world who help him to learn his true identity which culminates in the superb finale of the book Thus, the book can be seen as a series of interesting encounters all tied in to the overall theme of a power struggle among the gods Zelazny s prose is poetic, the characters are terrific and very memorable the Steel General is probably among my favorite Zelazny characters and the world building is simply genius In summary, a very unique offering from one of the most original authors of speculative fiction writers from the 60 s I would place this third on my list of favorite Zelazny books, behind Lord of Lightand This Immortal but ahead of the Amber books at least those I have read so far 4.5 to 5.0 stars HIGHLY RECOMMENDED


  2. Jim Jim says:

    May2019 ReviewRead with the Weird Fiction grouphttps www.goodreads.com topic show Amazingly enough, it was fantastic There s alwaysto pick up in this mess of a novel I use the word mess because I don t know what else to call it Bits pieces in varying forms, it is a strange series of snapshots that comes together into a bewildering, intriguing whole A first time reader remarked that he wanted to start over immediately Me, too Wow Oct2018 ReviewI m never sure what to make o May2019 ReviewRead with the Weird Fiction grouphttps www.goodreads.com topic show Amazingly enough, it was fantastic There s alwaysto pick up in this mess of a novel I use the word mess because I don t know what else to call it Bits pieces in varying forms, it is a strange series of snapshots that comes together into a bewildering, intriguing whole A first time reader remarked that he wanted to start over immediately Me, too Wow Oct2018 ReviewI m never sure what to make of this book It starts out kind of weird, makes a sort of sense at times, then loses me altogether Is it SF, myth, fantasy, or poetry If I had to pin it down today, I d say the last It s multi structured poetry, reading like a novel at times just when things start to make sense, they don t really I m never sure if it is profound or drivel I really like the experience, but at times I think Lord Uiskeagh has the right idea WORDSBetween you and me,the words,like mortar,separating, holding togetherthose pieces of the structure ourselves.To say them,to cast their shadows on the page,is the act of binding mutual passions,is cognizance, yourself myself,of our sameness under skin it rears possible cathedralsindicating infinity with steeply high styli.For when tomorrow comes it is today,and if it is not the dropthat is eternityglistening at the pen s point,then the ink of our voicessurrounds like an always night,and mortar marks the limit of our cells What does it mean asks Lord Uiskeagh the Red, who is out with twenty men to raise the Border side against Dilwit of Liglamenti.His party leans through fog toward the rock where the words are graven Lord, I ve heard of these things, remarks his captain They are the doings of the poet Vramin, who publishes in this manner He casts his poems at the nearest world, and wherever they fall they record themselves upon the hardiest substance handy He boasts that he has written parables, sermons and poems in stones, leaves and brooks Oh, he does, does he Well, what s this one mean Is it to be taken as a good omen It means nothing, Lord, for it s common knowledge that he s also mad as a golindi at rutting time Well, then, let us urinate upon it and be on our way to the wars Very good, Lord The chapter above is typical, if there is such a thing in this book I think Zelazny let his inner Vramin escape It was a strange, but enjoyable trip onceSep2009 Review I re read this in Sep09, armed with some extra knowledge gleaned from two of the 6 book collected works of his In them, he explains that he wrote this novel as an exercise for himself never expected to publish it He was asked for it was surprised that it did so well.He said he threw everything he had at this novel, in no particular order It is an amalgamation of styles, mythologies, SF Fantasy Somehow, it really works That s as amazing as is my fascination for the book, re reading it for the tenth time or so in 30 years It was every bit as entertaining I still completely agree with my original review Original Review written in 2007 when I joined GR Zelazny is well known for the long, strange trips he takes you through in his stories This book may well be one of his strangest There are parts of this book I love, others I dislike most are somewhat bewildering, especially on the first read The world is an interesting mix of SF Fantasy, without any definitive lines Human nature has remained the same it has been exaggerated by the power that some wield, but it s done with a light, often humorous touch e.g The Agnostics Prayer Google it you ll find it quickly It s infamous This is a heroic fantasy filled with flawed heroes, noble villains many who are both There certainly are maidens to be rescued wicked witches to fight Both heroes villains are in such impossible situations that it is tough to decide who to root for at times Some characters are both or neither, but I originally felt they should be one or the other Other characters are so alien that mere human morality doesn t apply It s difficult to tell who those are at times, too You ll have to decide for yourself when you reach the end of the novel Warning you may change your mind on a re read I have.I found this book very difficult to put down At times, it was as irritating as a bit lip I had to read it the same way I poke at a sore spot Other times, I just HAD to find out what happened next Whatever the reason, once started, I ve always wanted to continue reading That s possibly the highest praise I can give to a novel It s too intriguing to put down


  3. Manny Manny says:

    Roger Zelazny scored a hit with Lord of Light, a moving SF retelling of Hindu and Buddhist myth I get the feeling that he thought he should do it again, but that s usually a recipe for disaster Home Alone is a surprisingly good comedy Home Alone 2 Lost in New York hovers between dull and embarrassing.Well, this is Zelazny s Home Alone 2 He s decided to do Egyptian mythology instead of Hindu Buddhist, but none of the symbols and images gel, there s no plot to speak of, and most of the time i Roger Zelazny scored a hit with Lord of Light, a moving SF retelling of Hindu and Buddhist myth I get the feeling that he thought he should do it again, but that s usually a recipe for disaster Home Alone is a surprisingly good comedy Home Alone 2 Lost in New York hovers between dull and embarrassing.Well, this is Zelazny s Home Alone 2 He s decided to do Egyptian mythology instead of Hindu Buddhist, but none of the symbols and images gel, there s no plot to speak of, and most of the time it s pretty much impossible even to tell what s going on Actually, on reflection, I take it back And Call Me Conrad is Home Alone 2, while this dreadful concoction is Home Alone 3, or even Home Alone 4 If I were Dante, I d make Chris Columbus film it in Hell, with Macaulay Culkin as The Prince Who Was a Thousand and Zelazny playing all the other parts That d serve everyone right.To be fair to Zelazny, it says on Wikipedia that he didn t actually mean to publish the book, but Samuel Delany somehow tricked him into doing so Bad, bad Samuel Delany Though if it was a practical joke, I must grudgingly admit it was quite funny


  4. Martin Martin says:

    The stunning novel of ultimate conflict between Osiris Master of Life and Anubis Master of Death millennia in our future The Middle Worlds contain Life and DeathWakim comes to a world that is not a world, citrine and azure and green, green, green A green corona hangs about it, at thrice its own diameter, and it seems to pulsate with a pleasant rhythm Behold the House of Life, says Anubis, from somewhere.And he does It is warm and glowing and alive He has a feeling of aliveness Osiris The stunning novel of ultimate conflict between Osiris Master of Life and Anubis Master of Death millennia in our future The Middle Worlds contain Life and DeathWakim comes to a world that is not a world, citrine and azure and green, green, green A green corona hangs about it, at thrice its own diameter, and it seems to pulsate with a pleasant rhythm Behold the House of Life, says Anubis, from somewhere.And he does It is warm and glowing and alive He has a feeling of aliveness Osiris rules the House of Life, says Anubis And he beholds a great bird head atop human shoulders, bright yellow eyes within it, alive, alive oh and the creature stands before him on an endless plain of living green which is superimposed upon his view of the world, and he holds the Staff of Life in his one hand and the Book of Life in his other He seems to be the source of the radiant warmth.Wakim then hears the voice of Anubis again The House of Life and the House of the Dead contain the Middle Worlds And there is a falling, swirling sensation, and Wakim looks upon stars once , but stars separated and held from other stars by bonds of force that are visible, then invisible, then visible again, fading, coming, going, white, glowing lines, fluctuating You now perceive the Middle Worlds of Life, says Anubis.And dozens of worlds roll before him like balls of exotic marble, stippled, gauged, polished, incadescent Contained, says Anubis They are contained within the field which arcs between the only two poles that matter Poles says Wakim The House of Life and the House of the Dead The Middle Worlds about their suns do move, and all together go on the paths of Life and Death Just who was is the Steel GeneralAll know of the General, who ranges alone Out of the pages of history come the thundering hoofbeats of his war horse Bronze He flew with the Lafayette Escadrille He fought in the delaying action at Jarama Valley He helped to hold Stalingrad in the dead of winter With a handful of friends, he tried to invade Cuba On every battleground, he has left a portion of himself He camped out in Washington when times were bad, until a greater General asked him to go away He was beaten in Little Rock, had acid thrown in his face in Berkeley He was put on the Attorney General s list, because he had once been a member of the I.W.W All the causes for which he has fought are now dead, but a part of him died also as each was born and carried to its fruition He survived, somehow, his century, with artificial limbs and artificial heart and veins, with false teeth and a glass eye, with a plate in his skull and bones out of plastic, with pieces of wire and porcelain inside him until finally science came to make these things better than those with which man is normally endowed He was again replaced, piece by piece, until, in the following century, he was far superior to any man of flesh and blood And so again he fought the rebel battle, being smashed over and over again in the wars the colonies fought against the mother planet, and in the wars the individual worlds fought against the Federation He is always on some Attorney General s list and he plays his banjo and he does not care, for he has placed himself beyond the law by always obeying its spirit rather than its letter He has had his metal replaced with flesh on many occasions and been a full man oncebut always he hearkens to some distant bugle and plays his banjo and follows and then he loses his humanity again He shot craps with Leon Trotsky, who taught him that writers are underpaid he shared a boxcar with Woody Guthrie, who taught him his music and that singers are underpaid he supported Fidel Castro for a time, and learned that lawyers are underpaid He is almost invariably beaten and used and taken advantage of, and he does not care, for his ideals meanto him than his flesh Now, of course, the Prince Who Was A Thousand is an unpopular cause I take it, from what you say, that those who would oppose the House of Life and the House of the Dead will be deemed supporters of the Prince, who has solicited no support not that that matters And I daresay you oppose the Prince, Wakim I should also venture a guess that the General will support him, inasmuch as the Prince is a minority group all by himself The General may be beaten, but he can never be destroyed Are you alive How do you know thisOne snowflake drifting down a well, a well without waters, without walls, without bottom, without top Now take away the snowflake and consider the drifting This strange mix of Egyptian gods and modern technology is a master piece of Science FictionEnjoy


  5. Mark Mark says:

    Zelazny was one of the cleverest of the SF writers emergiing from the 1960s, in the stew of New Wave, and also one of the gutsiest Creatures of Light and Darkness is his riff on Egyptian mythology, set in a future wherein the ancient conflicts of the various gods Anubis, Osiris, Set, Thoth, Isis, and Typhon are oncemet in an ageless attempt to establish who s in charge.But wait It s not quite that simple Set the Destroyer is not just the Egyptian god, but partly Vishnu, who is e Zelazny was one of the cleverest of the SF writers emergiing from the 1960s, in the stew of New Wave, and also one of the gutsiest Creatures of Light and Darkness is his riff on Egyptian mythology, set in a future wherein the ancient conflicts of the various gods Anubis, Osiris, Set, Thoth, Isis, and Typhon are oncemet in an ageless attempt to establish who s in charge.But wait It s not quite that simple Set the Destroyer is not just the Egyptian god, but partly Vishnu, who is engaged in an eternal struggle with the universe itself In this case, a struggle with the Nameless One, a being that cannot die Thoth has been trying to kill it since Set disappeared, presumed dead, the last time he fought with this being Unsuccessfully Freed from an amnesiac exile, Set joins in battle with it once .Typhon is not strictly Egyptian, either, but also Sumerian and Babylonian, the great dragon horse that annihilates worlds, and may draw his power from the very source of all existence.All of which culminates in a recapitulation of the birth of Jesus, with a different cast of players in the principle roles, which serves to point out how all these various myths are ultimately subsumed into each other, drawing freely across cultures to inform new myths to replace old Zelazny s command of all these various myth cycles was admirable and he deployed them with precision, subtlety, and humor within the framework of a rousing conflict He was unique among writers of his generation for coming nearest to perfect blendings of fantasy and science fiction and this is a masterpiece of speculative cosmogeny


  6. Merl Fluin Merl Fluin says:

    In lots of obvious ways this is an inappropriate comparison, but this book reminded me of Moorcock s Cornelius novels this is a good thing because Jerry Cornelius is a a real person and b the love of my life I adore the psychedelic mash up of mythology, cosmology, scifi, magick, sly humour, different writing styles jostled together, big ideas wrapped up in a fast paced romping plot All of which I try to do with my own writing too The only thing I didn t admire about this book was its tre In lots of obvious ways this is an inappropriate comparison, but this book reminded me of Moorcock s Cornelius novels this is a good thing because Jerry Cornelius is a a real person and b the love of my life I adore the psychedelic mash up of mythology, cosmology, scifi, magick, sly humour, different writing styles jostled together, big ideas wrapped up in a fast paced romping plot All of which I try to do with my own writing too The only thing I didn t admire about this book was its treatment of the female characters In all those vast worlds there are only two significant female characters, and their function in the plot is basically view spoiler to be consorts and or incubators hide spoiler That wasn t ok in 1969 and it s not ok now It s also a missed opportunity, because both characters have huge potential to do and beinteresting and exciting things.But that didn t stop me loving it I finished reading it late last night and immediately wanted to go back to the beginning and read it all again For a slim novel it s absolutely teeming with images, characters and ideas that speed by so fast you barely grasp them before they re gone Wonderful stuff


  7. Marko Marko says:

    This is, without a doubt, one of the most evocative and most imaginative books I have ever read Not because of the plot, or characters, or worldbuilding while adequate, there are other books that are far better in this respect However, there are very few writers that can match Zelazny in the beauty of the prose, a turn of a phrase, and in experimentations in style and storytelling For me personally, this by itself can be a source of immense pleasure, and this book has it all However, precis This is, without a doubt, one of the most evocative and most imaginative books I have ever read Not because of the plot, or characters, or worldbuilding while adequate, there are other books that are far better in this respect However, there are very few writers that can match Zelazny in the beauty of the prose, a turn of a phrase, and in experimentations in style and storytelling For me personally, this by itself can be a source of immense pleasure, and this book has it all However, precisely due to this, not everybody will enjoy Creatures of Light and Darkness as much


  8. Cécile C. Cécile C. says:

    Between poetry, SF and acid trip The plot is somewhat hard to follow, but you can very well read the book without that The story works like a kind of impressionist painting, where every short chapter acts as an image rather than a plot fragment We never learn whose point of view it is and the heroes remain mysterious As for the plot, it is quite different from the typical SF plot that tries to be extra coherent to compensate for the lack of realism of the setting Here the characters have Between poetry, SF and acid trip The plot is somewhat hard to follow, but you can very well read the book without that The story works like a kind of impressionist painting, where every short chapter acts as an image rather than a plot fragment We never learn whose point of view it is and the heroes remain mysterious As for the plot, it is quite different from the typical SF plot that tries to be extra coherent to compensate for the lack of realism of the setting Here the characters have a weird theatrical quality about them, and the bits and pieces of the story build something like a great surrealist picture, where the beginning and the end are not so much definite moments in the story as simply the moments when the narrator starts to take, then to lose, interest in what happens To be absolutely honest, althought I only read that book a few months ago, I m not sure I remember every detail of the plotStill, the style and atmosphere are very poetical and enjoyable If you like traditional Japanese theatre and SF, do give it a try


  9. Craig Craig says:

    This was one of Zelazny s earlier novels, and I was surprised to find how well it holds up better, in fact, than than LORD OF LIGHT and the Amber sequence, in my opinion He mixes mythology Egyptian with some of the common themes of science fiction and fantasy in a dream like style very characteristic of what was known as New Wave back in the day His mix of techniques comes off very well, and produces a short and beatiful story.


  10. Aerin Aerin says:

    Original review date 2 August 2011 If you re ever in the mood for complex, confusing, grandiloquently phrased science fiction that retells ancient myths in a far future cosmic setting with advanced technology granting godlike powers upon petty, immortal human beings, then do yourself a favor and read Zelazny s Lord of Light It s extraordinary.And if, after reading that, you wantof the same and don t mind if it s just a little worse in every way , then you might want to try Creatures ofOriginal review date 2 August 2011 If you re ever in the mood for complex, confusing, grandiloquently phrased science fiction that retells ancient myths in a far future cosmic setting with advanced technology granting godlike powers upon petty, immortal human beings, then do yourself a favor and read Zelazny s Lord of Light It s extraordinary.And if, after reading that, you wantof the same and don t mind if it s just a little worse in every way , then you might want to try Creatures of Light and Darkness.It s not that this one is bad it s that Lord of Light does all of the same things and does them so much better Here again, you encounter men who have made themselves into gods Egyptian gods this time, rather than Hindu ones so perish the thought that Zelazny is ripping off his own work, that would be ridiculous Here again, you are dropped into the middle of the action with little to no way of knowing WHAT THE HELL IS GOING ON until either you read through the ENTIRE book twice, preferably, if you can stand it , or you cheat and look it up on Wikipedia Here again there is a character who long ago fought a formidable foe, was vanquished, was killed, and is now back from the dead to fight it again Here again, he is stymied by the other petty gods because absolute power corrupts, yadda yadda yadda Here again, everyone talks like a god damn King James Bible.All of those components manage to gel brilliantly, somehow, in Lord of Light, which is hugelycomplicated, interesting, and multilayered than this one This one is much shorter, muchhalf assed, and has the added annoyance of incorporating various experimental chapters one in verse one in script format Ughity ugh.In a universe where Lord of Light didn t exist, this one probably would have gotten three stars from me, because it s still a cool concept, and it s still kind of fun to try and see through the prose and get at the real story going on behind the scenes And Zelazny s a good writer, and I enjoy his brand of opulent phrasing now and then But it s just so unnecessary that Creatures of Light and Darkness even exists I d so much rather go back and read Lord of Light again