Title: Behold the Man. Author: Michael Moorcock. Genre: Science Fiction. Publisher: Gollancz Publication Date: New Edition 11 Nov (First. can’t really call me a spoiler if the merchandise is already spoiled. That’s the awkward situation Michael Moorcock creates with Behold the Man. Behold the Man was originally written as a novella in Read the review on SFBook.
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Check out our sister sites: I should probably start out with a spoiler alert. On the other hand, is it really a spoiler if the author telegraphs the surprise ending within the first few pages of the book?
But is anyone really surprised by the surprise ending here? Not since Samuel Morse invented Morse Code has anyone done a better job of telegraphing a message. He joins up with John the Baptist who celebrates his arrival. Are you outlawed by Herod?
Let’s even call them apostles…. And a remedial class on holy scripture. But give Moorcock credit for chutzpah. Not behols does he turn his protagonist Karl Glogauer mixhael Jesus Christ, but he draws on his own personal history in crafting Glogauer.
Behold the Man is hardly the only Moorcock book to set up this comparison. Our author has shown a devotion to characters with the initials JC, from Jehamia Cohnahlias to Jeremiah Cornell —most notably his most famous hero Jerry Cornelius moorcoci, sort of Nietzschean James Bond-type, apparently licensed both to kill and to embody nihilism in all its manifestations.
Behold the Man (novel) – Wikipedia
All these Christ- like characters in Moorcock’s oeuvre seem variations on a theme: Moorcock enlivens his story by telling it in a discursive, fragmented manner. He mixes in choice quotes from secular gurus—Jung, Wordsworth, Blake—alongside extracts from the New Testament. Moorcock knows most of the tricks of the New Wave sci-fi trade, indeed to some extent he presided over the creation of the playbook, and applies almost all of them during the course of this short novel.
But this tale is also more plot-driven than many of morocock New Wave classics. This ain’t just theology, but a time travel story.
Few sci-fi concepts have been so frequently used and abused. Micgael Moorcock latches on to one of the most problematic elements of the meme, namely the possibility that traveling back in time changes the course of time. Or as the screenwriters of Back to the Future so aptly put gehold The results of which could cause a chain reaction mkorcock would unravel the very fabric of the space-time continuum and destroy the entire universe!
Granted, that’s the worst-case scenario.
Retro Review: “Behold the Man” by Michael Moorcock | Relentless Reading
The destruction however might be limited merely to our own galaxy. Have you one called Jesus? Can you tell me where he is?
What has he done now? It had a pronounced hunched back and a cast in its left eye. The face was vacant and foolish. There was a little spittle on it lips.
Dostoevsky anticipated this concept exactly a century before Moorcock, in his book The Idiot. But you can’t really give Dostoevsky credit, because this whole beuold has been embedded in Christian thinking for two thousand years. The difference in Behold the Man is that Moorcock feels that he has delivered something transgressive and ‘out there’—when actually, to a degree that he himself seems to miss, he is aligning himself with traditional Christology.
Glogauer is the lucky man who gets to travel to Jerusalem on a donkey, as his followers throw down palm branches in his path.
Behold the Man
If I had been in this situation, I would have steered clear of that fellow named Judas Iscariot. Ted Gioia writes about music, literature and pop culture.
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