'I am Arthur Frayn, and I am Zardoz. I have lived three hundred years, and I long to die, but death is no longer possible: I am immortal. I present now my story, full of mystery and intrigue - rich in irony, and most satirical. It is set deep in a possible future, so none of these events have yet occurred, but they may. Be warned, lest you end as I.
In this tale, I am a fake god by occupation - and a magician, by inclination. Merlin is my hero. I am the puppet master. I manipulate many of the characters and events you will see. But I am invented, too, for your entertainment - and amusement. And you, poor creatures, who conjured you out of the clay? Is God in show business too?'