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4.2 out of 5 stars
47
4.2 out of 5 stars
Behold The Man (S.F. MASTERWORKS)
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on 13 April 2017
Moorcock's novella takes the Jesus myth - hence the Ecce Homo of the title - and reworks it to involve a time traveller called Karl Glogauer who decides to drop into Palestine in AD28.
Making his way to Nazareth, he discovers that the real Jesus is a drooling imbecile and that Mary is a bit of a slapper.
Along the way he cures some people who are suffering from psychosomatic illnesses. The masochistic and narcissistic Glogauer then takes his place on the cross whereupon the New Testament writers weave their contradictory narratives and a myth is born.
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on 20 July 2017
Great concept, wonderfully told.
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on 19 October 2017
Very good
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 14 May 2016
Moorcock's "Behold the Man" is a strangely engaging and highly interesting blend of sci-fi, theology and psychology. This is a very short novel (more like a novella), at just 128 pages in length - and it is, in fact, a re-working and longer version of a short story issued three years prior to this book. Notwithstanding its short length, it is a story of genuine quality. Yet I'm sure that its content might offend certain people (especially devout Christians) - so it's certainly not a novel that I can recommend to all. If you're open-minded when it comes to religion, and you enjoy sci-fi adventures which involve psychological drama, then I suggest you read this book.

The story concerns a man, Karl Glogauer, who travels through time - in a prototype time machine - journeying 2000 years into the past. He's a man who's keenly interested in Christianity, and he wishes to meet Jesus. He's opted to take this trip as he doesn't really 'fit-in' with others in his own time, and is often ostracised and feels excluded. He also has certain fixations and perversions, which result in him having sexual hang-ups. And so, fed up with his life, he takes this journey ... And he arrives a few years prior to the Crucifixion. He meets John the Baptist, who mistakenly considers Karl to be the messiah. No one seems to have yet heard of Jesus, so Karl heads off to Nazareth. By the time he gets there, he's a mess - his hair long, his clothes disheveled. And although he stands out as 'different', he always seeks to talk to and help those he comes across. Finally he arrives at the house of Mary and Joseph - only to find that their son, Jesus, is a mentally disabled cripple ... and Joseph refuses to accept Jesus as his son, believing his wife to have slept around. At this point, Karl's already unstable psyche shatters. There is no historical Jesus ... and so Karl decides upon a course of action that will literally make history: he adopts the persona of Jesus, ultimately leading to his crucifixion.

This re-telling of the Jesus story is imaginative and insightful. The story is well-written, with a fast pace. I like how Moorcock draws on the Biblical tale, using elements in such a way that the fabrication of the Christ myth becomes possible through science fiction!

As stated, this isn't a story for everyone. But I thoroughly enjoyed it.
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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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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 26 August 2016
Moorcock's "Behold the Man" is a strangely engaging and highly interesting blend of sci-fi, theology and psychology. This is a very short novel (more like a novella), at just 128 pages in length - and it is, in fact, a re-working and longer version of a short story issued three years prior to this book. Notwithstanding its short length, it is a story of genuine quality. Yet I'm sure that its content might offend certain people (especially devout Christians) - so it's certainly not a novel that I can recommend to all. If you're open-minded when it comes to religion, and you enjoy sci-fi adventures which involve psychological drama, then I suggest you read this book.

The story concerns a man, Karl Glogauer, who travels through time - in a prototype time machine - journeying 2000 years into the past. He's a man who's keenly interested in Christianity, and he wishes to meet Jesus. He's opted to take this trip as he doesn't really 'fit-in' with others in his own time, and is often ostracised and feels excluded. He also has certain fixations and perversions, which result in him having sexual hang-ups. And so, fed up with his life, he takes this journey ... And he arrives a few years prior to the Crucifixion. He meets John the Baptist, who mistakenly considers Karl to be the messiah. No one seems to have yet heard of Jesus, so Karl heads off to Nazareth. By the time he gets there, he's a mess - his hair long, his clothes disheveled. And although he stands out as 'different', he always seeks to talk to and help those he comes across. Finally he arrives at the house of Mary and Joseph - only to find that their son, Jesus, is a mentally disabled cripple ... and Joseph refuses to accept Jesus as his son, believing his wife to have slept around. At this point, Karl's already unstable psyche shatters. There is no historical Jesus ... and so Karl decides upon a course of action that will literally make history: he adopts the persona of Jesus, ultimately leading to his crucifixion.

This re-telling of the Jesus story is imaginative and insightful. The story is well-written, with a fast pace. I liked how Moorcock draw on the Biblical tale, using elements in such a way that the fabrication of the Christ myth becomes possible through science fiction!

As stated, this isn't a story for everyone. But I thoroughly enjoyed it.
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on 6 November 2015
Thanks
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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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