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For a Breath  I Tarry

Roger Zelanzy, was the Neil Gaiman of his day, translating mythology - and its lessons - into the future. In his first Hugo winning novel, This Immortal…Call Me Conrad, the god Pan is actually a man mutated by nuclear war. In his second Hugo winning novel, The Lord of Light, the crew of a generation ship emulate the command structures of the Hindu pantheon and introduce an electronic version of reincarnation for the passengers in order to survive on a new planet but one crew member eventually decides to opt out and become the Buddha. Zelanzy rarely explored Christianity or robots, but did both in "For a Breath I Tarry.” The short story takes its name from a phrase in “From Far, From Eve and Morning,” one of the poems in A.E. Houseman’s classic of Western literature, A Shropshire Lad. For a Breath I Tarry is the robot version of Job, Faust, the last temptation of Christ, and Genesis and, like Housman’s poem, it features ethereal, evocative prose where the turn of a phrase implies volumes of meaning. Well worth reading and a free online version of For a Breath I Tarry is at

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