I’ve been ranting about the Valar for the past few days, and I think a few of you might appreciate a novel where the narrative treatment of pseudo-divine beings is handled - in my opinion - perfectly.
Lord of Light, by the great Roger Zelazny, is all about a world where the gods try to keep humanity from progressing past a certain point. They say that it’s for the best, that it’s for their own protection, and they are completely and utterly wrong. The heroes are morally complex, but they all work to defeat the gods and promote the advance of technology among mortals, and that is portrayed as a good and admirable goal.
The story is also beautifully written, and it completely avoids the Standard European Fantasy Setting. Instead, it cleverly works in themes from Hindu and Buddhist mythology and culture. And everything, no matter how magical, is grounded in solid science fiction.
The concept art above was drawn by none other than Jack Kirby, as part of plans for movie sets based on the book. That movie was never produced, primarily because it was Argo. Yes, the fake film that was part of a scheme to rescue six American hostages from Iran. And these pictures look as amazing as the book actually is.
I’m not saying that your life as a scifi/fantasy fan is incomplete if you haven’t read this book, but i’m tempted to. And check out everything else Zelazny has written while you’re at it.