In 1968, the World Science Fiction convention validated the New Wave movement then sweeping the genre by giving the Hugo Award for best science fiction or fantasy novel of the year to Roger Zelazny for his book Lord of Light. The book described how Earth migrants to a foreign planet assumed the roles of Hindu gods. Now new author Jan Lars Jensen describes the Hindu gods in all their magical realism as he relates the tale of a quest for revenge and recovery.
In Shiva 3000 Rakesh realizes his parents are up to something and discovers their secret they are arranging his marriage. Rakesh spies on his betrothed and is pleased until she flees and is seduced by the Baboon Warrior, the fiercest hero of India.
Rakesh swears that he will track down and slay the Baboon Warrior, because that is obviously his dharma in life. Unwillingly, he is assisted by Vasant Alamvala, the Chief Engineer for the Royals of Delhi or at least Vasant was chief engineer until he was harassed by Prince Hapi, seduced by the First Wife, and pursued by the Kama Sutrans, who pretty much live the kind of life you would expect from folks who authored the Kama Sutra.
The adventures of Rakesh and Vasant as they suffer through the destruction of the city of Sholapur, avoid the path of the monster-size god Jagannath, and seek the Baboon Warrior will inspire, delight, intrigue, and at times terrify you. There is no question that Shiva 3000 may be the best debut novel of the year, and it should be a strong contender for next year's Hugo Award. If Roger Zelazny is looking down from writers' heaven, he should be pleased to have inspired this creative work of fiction.
Larry Woods frequently reviews science fiction for BookPage.