I wanted to re-read this but can't remember the title. I read it 10-15 years ago but don't know if it was new at that time. The plot centered on a human who had learned an alien technology that allowed him to build planets and be immortal. Another planet creator tries to kill him.

(edit) I don't remember the cover or author. It was at least novella length but I think it was a full stand alone novel. More specifics on plot as follows (IIRC):

The story begins on a planet he created for himself as a luxury planet responsive to his every whim. After recognizing an attempt on his life, he discharges a paid female companion and takes off in a private spaceship.

I recall that he was specifically human because it was a big deal that he had learned the technology as few or no other humans could master it. Mastering the ability required attuning oneself to what the aliens considered gods but there was debate as to their actual makeup (i.e. sentient "gods", accessing universal archetypes, etc).

He travels to talk to either his teacher or else some other elder masters to figure out who is out to get him. He then travels to a planet made by his enemy which turns out to be a planet sized personal trap. If I remember correctly his enemy was attuned to either a lightning or storm type god or archetype.

It isn't the Farmer novel noted below that that was a very good suspicion based on the limited stuff I originally posted.

  • Do you remember if it was a book or short story? Do you remember anything about the cover? Any specific names or titles of characters? – The Fallen May 18 '14 at 15:01
  • @Dave if you want to accept the answer you have to log in as the same account from which you asked the question. – Moogle May 21 '14 at 13:21
  • See comment in #1 answer below -- looks like comment-based verification from OP using a different user context; admins can check logs to see if it was the same person. – Otis Mar 13 '17 at 1:34

How about Roger Zelazny's Isle of the Dead? I read it a long time ago, so I don't remember it all that well, but from online summaries and memory, it contains the following elements:

  • Terraformer of planets? ✓
  • Built a luxury planet for himself? ✓
  • Learned technology from aliens? ✓
  • A rival planet creator tries to kill him? ✓
  • Immortal? ✓ (Or at least much longer-lived than anybody else.)
  • To Die in Italbar is a sequel to this. (Although both books have self-contained plots.) – Peter Shor May 18 '14 at 16:38
  • I think you're probably right -- I like your answer better than mine. – Mike Scott May 18 '14 at 16:40
  • Do you remember a scene where, as he's about to get in his ship, storm clouds start forming, an earthquake hits, and a cat appears and starts rubbing against his legs, trying to trip him? So he yells "All right! I'm going! I'll be back!" If you do, it's Isle of the Dead. – WhatRoughBeast May 18 '14 at 18:09
  • Thank you very much. Isle of the dead it was. I actually thought I had all of R.Z.'s books on shelf which is how I missed it. I never realized there was a sequel. Looks like I have some reading to do, thank you again. -Dave – user26473 May 20 '14 at 20:05

Sounds a bit like Farmers World of Tiers (specifically the first volume, The Maker of Universes, 1965), although the protagonist is not strictly human (but still humanoid) and his race built 'pocket universes' (which however usually included planets). At the beginning of the story he had lost his world building skills and, stranded on earth, had come to think of himself as human as a result from an attempted coup by a fellow 'universe creator'.


Some details sound a bit like Aristoi by Walter Jon Williams, although others seem a bit off (e.g. the planet-creation technologies are human technologies, not alien ones). Does the cover look familiar?

Aristoi cover image

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