Hugo: This Immortal (1966)

This Immortal by Roger Zelazny
Read January 6, 2010 – January 8, 2010

Premise: Earth has been destroyed in what seems to be an atomic war. But some people (and mutants) still live there. Most people, however, live on other planets in our solar system and on Vega, where they have blue aliens who are more intelligent than humans. On Earth, the head honcho of what is essentially the official government history department (who mysteriously has some sort of mutation that has allowed him to live for approximately 200-hundred-or-so-years looking as if he’s twenty-five-years old) is asked to give a grand tour of Earth for a Vegan. No one really knows what this tour is for and there is much conjecture and hiring of assassins.

Verdict: I probably would have liked it more if I hadn’t kept putting it down. It’s narrated in first-person and has no chapters, just occasional breaks. It was ok. As a post-apocalyptic story it was definitely different. The fight scenes would unnecessarily go on for pages and pages. But I suppose that was the appeal of the things. It’s pretty short so the fact that it wasn’t a stellar read isn’t really that horrible because it didn’t take very long to finish. I thoroughly enjoyed all the literary references and such. That was fun. It’s like high-brow literature, but science fiction. Interesting combination. I guess you get that when your main character is inexplicably older than dirt and still looks and acts young.

If you need a book to fill an afternoon you could do worse. But you could also do better.

NOTE This novel tied for the Hugo in 1966 with Frank Herbert’s Dune.

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