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A minor Zelazny which succeeds primarily in reminding me violently of Iain Banks, as it would require only very minor shifting of anything to make it into a Culture novel, except that I don't like it as well as I have the ones I've read in that series.

There's a war that happened some time ago, and a man who is a walking carrier and cure of every deadly disease ever, and an alien goddess, and the whole thing is chopped up into very small sections that hop from viewpoint to viewpoint so that you constantly have to keep re-orienting. The climax is as a result at something of an odd distance from the reader-- you know what's going on, and you kind of care, but you've been much deeper in the heads of all the people involved than you're allowed to be at that specific moment. This did not work for me as an authorial choice. I can see why it was worth a try, but the book just did not manage to cohere.

As it's Zelazny, though, the prose is lovely and the whole thing dripping with pretty scenery and interesting ideas. I did not find any of it annoying or anything like that, but it just isn't the kind of book one remembers, except as a creditable try. The air of Banks and Andre Norton made for a pleasant hour, but I would have liked, well, I know what Zelazny could do at his best.

Also, the title doesn't actually make any sense-- it's relevant, but not applicable-- which always kind of bothers me. Still, if you've run out of Culture or need more Zelazny, this exists.


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March 2017

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