A tale of immortal humans masquerading as gods in a high-tech Hindu pantheon, in the setting of a theme-park colonised planet.
In between conspiracies, revenge, treachery and heroic battles we read of occasional touching humanitarian incidents, as we follow the adventures of the hero, Sam, the only one of the gods with a conscience. Sam uses his wits to counter the brutal destructiveness of his former colleagues and so allow civilisation and technology to take root in the benighted and medieval lives of the mortal population on the planet.
_Lord of Light_ is science
fiction in genre only. A deeply humanistic novel examing the forces
the common man/woman, a secular novel questioning the mealy mouthed hypocrisy
presenting itself as "true religion", a religious novel challenging
the pat truisms passing themselves off as "science", it is all of these
things and more.
A grassroots political movement which contested the official deicratic policies of the Celestrial City (see Heaven).
Under the official deicratic system, before anyone was granted a Body Transfer, the individual underwent a Psych Probe as well as a review of their Prayer Account. This data would determine what body and caste they would receive. Someone could then pass from body to body, caste to caste, until finally achieving godhood.
Godhood entailed residence in the Celestrial City and developing an attribute and aspect modeled after one of the gods of the ancient Hindu pantheon (see Attribute/Aspect).
Accelerationists argued that this process simply served to oppress the mortal class and that Heaven should work to initiate as many into godhood as soon as possible.
Deicrats maintained that rushing their descendants into "godhood" would only lead to trouble and misery for man and god alike. Heaven destroyed dozens of mortal cities "for their own good" in order to keep them from progressing too rapidly.
Certain types of mental-mutants have the ability to weld extranormal powers, such as temperature control, electrodirection, spontaneous ignition, extraordinary stamina, sapping the life force of an adversary, et cetera. These powers can be augmented by use of a technological device or development of an aspect.
Aspect. This is special type of self-hypnosis which magnifies a mutant's attribute (taking upon an aspect). Deicrats of Heaven used the Hindu pantheon of gods as models for their various attributes and aspects.
The process of transferring the "atman" or personality of an individual into a new body which has been grown in a purification tank.
Zombies. It is also possible to animate a body grown in a purification tank without benefit a transferred atman. Zombies, however, entertain no will of their own. These creatures have been used as infantry in military engagements but only through instruction by drum beats.
A chemical which renders specific sections of the anatomy i.nvulnerable. Of course, all tactile sensitivity is sacrificed. Used extensively by Kali, one of the Deicrats of Heaven.
A weather-domed plateau terraformed from a range of polar mountains into a subtropical paradise as a building site for the Celestrial City and the Forest of Kanniburrha.
This region is called Heaven since the space-faring mutants who built it style their civilization after the ancient Hindu faith and society. The original settlers used their mutant powers to mimic the Hindu pantheon (see Attribute/Aspect) and call themselves gods.
The Celestrial City is a completely planned and fully automated city. If its inhabitants were to desert it, the City would still be maintaining itself 10 centuries later.
The Forest of Kanniburrha was included under the dome to maintain a sense of cosmic balance in Heaven: Order vs. Chaos.
There is no true boundary between City and Forest. Many Forest creatures wander freely through the City. Chief among these are the albino tigers or "phantom cats."
The god-mutants altered the animals' nervous systems in such a way to prevent them from sensing the City or its inhabitants. The streets seem to the animals to be jungle trails; stairways, a rocky slope; a hand stroking their fur, the wind rustling by.
However, if one of the City enters the Forest proper, the spell is broken and City dwellers have to protect themselves accordingly.
Pavilion of Silence
Built upon Worldsend, beyond the edge of Heaven, the Pavilion of Silence serves as a place of contemplation of all things hurtful or futile.
The open-sided pavilion hosts five rooms, named Memory, Fear, Heartbreak, Dust, and Despair. The pavilion was constructed by Kubera the Fat.
Kubera's attribute of inanimate correspondence enabled him to invest the works of his hands with specific feelings and passions that would be amplified when visiting one of the five rooms (see Attribute/Aspect).
Prayer Account (Sin Account)
Those wishing to advance (or maintain) their caste status during body transfer established prayer accounts. Donations to the prayer account is balanced against the sin account (determined by Psych Probe) before a body transfer was granted.
Pray-O-Mats. To simplify the accounting and collection of all these prayer accounts, machines were installed on city streets. Donors could obtain personalized disks which replaced inputing their name and address for every donation.
A device which scans, records, and selectively replays data stored in human brain cells. Some psych-probes are sophisticated enough to discern what the subject had for breakfast 11 years ago, and where.
Karmic Play-Back. The Deicrats of Heaven used psych-probes for karmic play-back before a subject was granted a body transfer. Various virtues and sins of a subject's life were weighed to determine into what body or caste (or species) one should be reborn.
The Rakasha are creatures of energy rather than matter and are often called demons by those who know them best.
Rakasha tradition has it that they once wore mortal bodies but found a way to perpetuate themselves as stable fields of energy when their bodies died. Eventually, all the Rakasha race abandoned their bodies to live as vortices of force. Pure intellect, however, they are not. The Rakasha race retained the egos and desires of mortal beings even into their energy state. When possible, the Rakasha enjoy "possessing" the bodies of a mortal and tasting the pleasures of the flesh once more.
In battle, the Rakasha
use natural phenomenon such as storms, lightning,
and wind as weapons. They are also able to use a brand of telekinesis to
topple buildings and cause landslides.
It is impossible to disguise oneself to the Rakasha, since they "look upon the inner flames of a man's soul," and not so much the outer appearance. Even changing one's body (see Body Transfer), does not alter or disguise these flames.
The Rakasha dearly love to gamble, and gambling debts are their only point of honor.
Irish mythology remembers our stone-age ancestors in positive terms. It refers to the People of the Goddess as the "Lords of Light", and describes them as a supernatural race of wizards who descended from the sky. They were also called the "Good People" or the "Faery Folk", and were said to have "left their bodies" when challenged for possession of the island when the warlike Celts arrived on the scene in the middle of the second millennium BCE. According to this very ancient myth, they thus disappeared off the face of the Earth, by going into it. Again, this underground Land of the Shídhe was conceived as a hidden world beyond time, where the immortal ones still exist, and could often be seen by sensitive individuals in special moments and quiet places. Some aspects of this neolithic culture were later adopted by the Celts themselves, whose worship of the Sun – under the names of The Good King Dagda, Lug, Baal, and Ard Rí Ghréine; (the High King of the Sun) – survived intact right up until the introduction of Christianity in the fifth century of the present era. Even today, people in rural parts of Ireland will point out the megaliths as the abode of the fairies, and warn the passing city folk and tourists not to disturb their habitation, by ploughing or digging of any kind...
- Michael O'Callaghan .