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4.2 out of 5 stars42
4.2 out of 5 stars
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on 15 April 2001
...Not the worst, either! Moorcock never seems to write very long works. Even by his standards, this seems quite short, and yet he covers a great deal of ground therein. I am not an unequivocal admirer of Moorcock. His books, invariably, are odd. As I type, I listen to his album (New World's Fair), also odd. Usually his books are thick with outlandish imagery (the various Eternal Champions, for instance), though they're not necessarily particularly strong on plot & story. When I finally got around to reading his most famous series, the Elric books, I found them quite disappointing.
However, having read much of his work; Erekose, Corum, Hawkmoon, Elric amongst others; this is one of his oddest. Forget the acid-trip imagery, there's none of it here. It's a very plausible lateral interpretation of the bible stories of christ (one that's likely to be unwelcome to the devout, I might add!), and, for all it's brevity, a thoroughly absorbing read. Langford's review should tell you all you need to know of the plot to get you interested, hopefully this will provide any extra impetus you need to actually read it - it'll repay your effort.
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VINE VOICEon 4 December 2002
This has, no doubt, been widely read by SF lovers. First published in 1969, it won the Nebula award for best novella. It is quite a quick read - even the number of pages exaggerate its length.
I made the mistake of reading the blurb on the back cover before I bought the book. Unfortunately, this told me the plot up to page 145, so there were no surprises for me!
So what's it about without giving away everything? Karl Glogauer has the opportunity to travel in time using a time machine invented by a crank scientist. He decides to go to Palestine in 29 AD so that he can watch the crucifixion. The story builds up the events leading to this decision at the same time as following Glogauer's progress in the past.
I enjoyed this story... as a non-religous person I am all in favour of this type of alternative look at religous history.
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on 22 February 2000
Most of Moorcock's books are wild fantasy, but this one really touches on something profound, and not just from a religious point but also as a comment on mankind's search for meaning. Christians may find the book offensive in first reading, but you must look for the deeper meaning to understand what it's all about. This is one of the unexpected greats.
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on 11 February 2002
In his interviw about this book Moorcock says he kept the sci-fi to a minimum because he didn't want readers to get bogged down in extraneous detail. He was not interested in 'rationales' of how the time machine worked but what the time machine might represent symbolically (a womb, a
rebirth) and this is obvious from his description of the machine. If this didn't have its sci-fi element my guess it would be a famous literary classic because it's a whole lot more subtle and interesting than Last Temptation of Christ or that Dennis Potter play about Christ, which I think had the same title. It is the book's continuing power, which hit me as a young man. It isn't intended to shake your faith in religion. It's intended to make you question your faith in everything! Nice and short, too.
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on 2 June 2001
Breakfast in the Ruins, a kind of litany of 20th century infamy and failure, with its wonderfully graphic and oddly sympathetic Mei Lei sequences and various other graphic moments from various terrible 20th century military adventures, is the sequel to Behold the Man. When are the publishers going to put this, far harder to obtain, wonderful novel into the Masterworks series. Anyone who wants to know where the 20th century went wrong could do worse than take a look at this short, powerful read in which Moorcock originally published his own death notice -- and then had to pull it when everyone believed him! Behold the Man is a fine, thoughtful text for our times, but Breakfast in the Ruins take the same quasi-Christ Karl Glogauer on a modern 'stations of the cross' journey which also touches on black/white racism and anti-Jewish racism and looks at man's eternal inhumanity to man; and yet, as in so much of Moorcock's apparently grimmest work,there is a substantial and credible note of hope at the very peculiar end! Moorcock has Dickens's touch -- he shows you the injustice, the terror and the pain -- but he also shows you how human dignity and respect can, like love, conquer all! If you can find the earlier edition, which included Breakfast in the Ruins, read the two books togehter.
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on 15 February 2011
This book is really very short. I read it on the train in just a couple of days. However, it is powerful and engaging. No doubt Moorcock wanted to write something shocking and went out of his way to do so, but nevertheless it is a decent story, well worth reading and I daresay it's even a little educational for people who are interested in the world that Jesus lived in and the events that we think took place 2000 years ago.
Fair warning, I'm not Christian, and I'm not devoutly religious, but I still felt a little uncomfortable with some of the things in the book. Maybe that's a good thing, though.
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on 26 January 2000
How is it possible that I am the FIRST PERSON to review this book?!? If you are interested in religion, time travel and taboo-breaking texts, this is the thing for you! For readers who liked it, I can recommend "GOLGATHA LIVE" by Gore Vidal as well, though it is not so metaphysical, pensive and rebellious as the Moorcock version. P.S. Your religion teacher won't like it!
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on 18 March 2016
I first read this book back in the seventies and I remembered enjoying it, remembered it, thought provoking and based around the Crucifixion of Christ but little more would have jumped to my mind. I came across it on my bookshelves when looking for something to re-read and thought to take that journey again. This is a wonderful Novel (if short, as some have mentioned) it is clever, well styled and authentic, combining religious debunking of myth with science fiction. Moorcock is not always the best writer, having often written quickly and for money but when he has had time and the impetus he has created some of the greatest literary works. "Behold the Man" is an excellent novella, sadly, often overlooked but it shows you what this man can do when he wishes.
Highly recommended by me.
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on 11 September 2001
Moorcock writes in a paragraph what other writers turn into trilogies. The lyrical and elegaic irony of his best fantasies, as well as his literary fiction, underlies this little classic which Moorcock himself once dismissed as 'not having enough jokes in it'. Yet Moorcock's own ebullient optimism, which is sometimes judged as lacking seriousness, breaks through even this book. Karl Glogauer's personal journey mirrors his spiritual and mythical journey in imitation of Christ. Of all the novels (and plays and movies) on the subject that I have read, this remains the shortest, the deepest and the best.
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on 12 August 2000
This is short tale - but many themes are explored in the 124 pages. A time traveller is transported to 28AD just prior to the crucifixtion. Why he chooses this time is addressed during the narrative as the story alternates between a history of his life and the people he has met and the year 28AD. The style Moorcock uses means that the whole story is very readable. The aspects explored especially when Jesus Christ is introduced is fairly controversial really and is a good gage as to the time this was written.
I advise anyone to buy this compelling book and leave their preconceptions on this first page.
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