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Behold the Man (Karl Glogauer)

3.79  ·  Rating Details ·  4,638 Ratings  ·  242 Reviews
Karl Glogauer is a disaffected modern professional casting about for meaning in a series of half-hearted relationships, a dead-end job, and a personal struggle. His questions of faith surrounding his father's run-of-the-mill Christianity and his mother's suppressed Judaism lead him to a bizarre obsession with the idea of the messiah. After the collapse of his latest affair ...more
Paperback, 144 pages
Published March 22nd 2007 by The Overlook Press (first published 1969)
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The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey NiffeneggerOutlander by Diana GabaldonThe Time Machine by H.G. Wells11/22/63 by Stephen KingA Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle
Best Time Travel Fiction
78th out of 1,238 books — 4,012 voters
A Canticle for Leibowitz by Walter M. Miller Jr.The Sparrow by Mary Doria RussellTagged by Joseph M. ChironHis Dark Materials by Philip PullmanThe Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis
SF & Theology
29th out of 212 books — 303 voters

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Community Reviews

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[Name Redacted]
This felt like a childish attempt to do what Kazantzakis and Graves did far better. I love many of Moorcock's books, but this one was hamfisted, pedantic and hopelessly adolescent in its approach to what could have been a very fascinating story. It felt less like a real literary work and more like a teenager's attempt to vent his spleen, the sort of thing you can imagine a youth scribbling furiously in his binder and then leaning back to admire with a smug, self-satisfied smirk because he believ ...more
Jan 27, 2008 R. rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2008
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jan 31, 2008 Bill rated it it was amazing
Jesus, what a story. I mean that literally. A man gives his friend's new time machine a whirl and goes back 2000 years in the hopes of meeting Jesus Christ. What follows is disturbing, depressing, and funny.
It's bound to offend any fundamentalist. It's a quick read, although hard to find. I had to order it at my local bookstore and it was well worth the wait. If you have a problem with sacrilige, read the Bible instead.
Erik Graff
Sep 15, 2011 Erik Graff rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone
Recommended to Erik by: no one
Shelves: sf
I don't generally like Moorcock, particularly his fantasy novels, but this novella is an excellent story on at least two levels. First, it draws on the image of the Christ, both as portrayed in the gospels and as interpreted by scholarship. Here, Moorcock has done credible homework. Second, it is a fair psychological study, not only of the ostensible protagonist, a tortured modern, but also on who he becomes, namely, Jesus, the Anointed. As such, the novel is virtually an extended gloss on Jesus ...more
Oct 10, 2008 Frank rated it liked it
Shelves: science-fiction
Assigned reading in a Science Fiction class in college (We also watched Terminator 2--very cool class. Filled my English 2 GE requirement.)

Anyway, I remember this book blew my young, innocent mind. I also remember lending it to someone and not getting it back.

Posting this book inspired me to re-read it (it being only 144p didn't hurt either) and I have to say it's held up. Actually more multi-layered than I remembered--obviously the high concept sticks with you, but it's really an i
3.0 to 3.5 stars. A short book, but filled with emotion and some extremely controversial subjects. I thought Moorcock handled the main character well. Good use of SF to explore issues of faith, religion and personal discovery.
Ethan Miller
Dec 11, 2008 Ethan Miller rated it it was amazing
A classic! What a gem of a little novel this is. A synopsis of the book even in its most basic and vague form is a spoiler so let me tip toe around the plot in my review. It is a classic. Moorcock explores the nature of our need, desire and construction of religion, guilt and ultimately faith as a human invention so that we may have humanity. At the same time he does this while skating wildly on the edge of great blasphemy, black humor, everyday dark psychology in a compact blend of parable and ...more
Feb 23, 2009 Manny rated it really liked it
You know those science-fiction novels where they go back in time, and discover they've become some well-known historical character? Like Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency, where the hero finds out he's become the Person from Porlock. This novel takes the idea pretty much to its logical conclusion... not sure it's possible to trump becoming Jesus Christ.

It's well worth reading. Science-fiction writers are notorious for having great ideas and then blowing the execution (the Trout Complex, a
Dan Schwent
Feb 05, 2011 Dan Schwent rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: moorcock
Karl Glogauer, lonely misunderstood misfit, reaches the end of his rope and volunteers to man an experimental time machine for a friend. Glogauer goes to A.D. 28 to witness the crucifixion of Jesus. Only, nothing is quite the way he remembers it from the Bible. John the Baptist is a revolutionary, Mary and Joseph's marriage isn't the way it should be, and as for Jesus...

While most people know Michael Moorcock from the Elric stories, for my money, the best Moorcock stories are the ones only tang
Mike (the Paladin)
Nov 09, 2014 Mike (the Paladin) rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Nov 25, 2010 Susan rated it it was ok
I almost rated this 1 star, but I decided it did have a few redeeming qualities and settled on 2. Even so, I'm in the minority. It's a highly-acclaimed science fiction classic, supposedly, an insightful look at the meaning of faith and religion. I simply didn't find it so. Perhaps I might have been more impressed if I'd read it when it was published, in 1969.

Karl Glogauer, the protagonist, travels in a time machine to the time of Christ, and finds nothing the way he expected to be. The story re
One of Moorcock's earlier works, I picked this novel up primarily because of its brevity (I was looking for a quick read) and, almost just as importantly, its intriguing premise.

Behold the Man is all about Karl Glogauer's life-long search for God and Christ, and his sense of disconnection from the rest of the world. The style is rather disjointed and fluctuates between tenses and perspectives (first-person versus third-person), and the story is told in non-chronological fragments. This is actual
Roddy Williams
Popular music went through its punk phase in the mid Nineteen Seventies. It was almost an extinction event for some of the pop and rock establishment of the time and heralded a brief new era of musical diversity and experimentation.
SF had experienced its own punk revolution in the late Sixties, The New Wave movement, at the forefront of which, along with Judith Merrill, JG Ballard, MJ Harrison and others, was Michael Moorcock. The New Wave was an attempt to invigorate the SF genre and produce a
Mark Lawrence
May 02, 2016 Mark Lawrence rated it it was ok
I read this shortly before reading Moorcock's 'The Shores of Death" (sidenote: I just typoed this 'The Shoes of Death' - which would be a cool title.) In the three years between Behold the Man and The Shores of Death Moorcock's work seems to have gained an order of magnitude in sophistication. This is actually one of his better written books - no small thing given that Moorcock's more serious efforts are quite something.

My 2* isn't the 'not quite as crap as 1*' kind of 2*, it's taken off the Goo
Kate Sherrod
Mar 25, 2013 Kate Sherrod rated it liked it
Stop me if you've heard this one before. Jungian meets girl. Jungian loses religious/philosophical argument with girl. Jungian jumps into Time Machine to prove girl wrong about Jebus. Jungian blunders into being accepted as Jebus by denizens of the time to which he has traveled. Jungian further blunders by trying to reenact what he knows about Jebus. You know, to preserve history and biblical truth. Jungian gets crucified. Jungian never sees girl again.

I'm sure this was all very shocking back in
Ivan Lutz
Feb 06, 2016 Ivan Lutz rated it really liked it
Ovakva ateistička priča mogla je proći u USA jedino šezdesetih. Vrlo hrabro zadiranje i "povijest" kršćanstva sa suludim krajem koji negira temelj kršćanske religije, a prikaz Isusa, ovog pravog Isusa je genijalan...
Sep 05, 2013 Marvin rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
This was a re-read of one of my favorite science fiction novels. It's been a while so I forgot a lot. This re-read did not disappoint me. Moorcock's seminal time travel novel is part theological inquiry and part psychological novel. The plot is about a man who goes back in time to discover the real Jesus. However our "hero" is not altogether together and has a bit of a Messiah complex himself. Where this leads is part of the genius of Moorcock's tale. It is about identity and finding meaning in ...more
Dec 04, 2013 Rust rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sf
Capolavoro mancato? I passaggi migliori del romanzo sono quelli che assumono carattere allucinatorio, flussionale, dove l’esperienza del protagonista nel passato, così aliena per poter essere accettata completamente in modo razionale, si mischia e sovrappone con i suoi ricordi. Ma i difetti del libro emergono in modo più prepotente: la trama è già scritta, facilmente intuibile, e scorre senza il minimo colpo di scena. I personaggi del tempo di Gesù sono scarsamente caratterizzati, e si comportan ...more
Jul 16, 2014 Bryan rated it it was amazing
I love subversive art, although this is probably a lot less shocking and subversive now - inundated as we are by graphic and potentially offensive content available at the merest keystroke - than it was when it was first published. Indeed, judging by online reviews, it seems that one of the more common reactions to this SF classic isn't shock at the blasphemy of the story, but instead a sort of blase boredom and cynical dismissiveness. Damn, the kids these days are hard to impress!

The book tackl
Apr 19, 2014 Eric rated it really liked it
The flaws in Michael Moorcock’s protagonists was the main thing that drew me to his books, and add interest to each story. Elric, and the rest of his core characters, all had noble intentions, but each was weighted down by a tragic flaw. ‘Behold the Man’ is more intelligent than his other fantasy novels, and less of a Edgar Rice Burroughs knock off (who he sites as an influence). The outcome of this novel is predictable, and instead of being uninteresting, it’s the journey and evolution of the m ...more
Aug 26, 2014 Nikki rated it liked it
Moorcock's Behold the Man is entirely different to his Elric books, or Gloriana, or anything else of his I've come across so far. Certain people might find it offensive because it undermines the sanctity of Jesus Christ, and tangles that story up in a lot of sexual and mental health hangups. Worse, the figure who becomes Jesus is not altruistic, but self-absorbed and narcissistic.

Still, I think it's a very interesting way of looking at the story, even if I don't like the way it portrays Christi
Dec 27, 2014 Michael rated it it was amazing
Shelves: reviewed
This was originally reviewed at my blog "Relentless Reading". Check it out for more reviews.

Nothing like a little blasphemy to round out Christmas week.

Michael Moorcock's Nebula award-winning novella follows a time-traveler seeking to prove the truth behind the story of Christ, discovering it is not as it seems and seeking to make it right. Originally published in New Worlds magazine in 1966, Moorcock expanded the story and republished it as a standalone novella in 1969.

For Moorcock fans, Behol
I rather enjoyed this take on what it takes to create a messiah figure. Karl Glogauer suffers a crisis of faith and looks for answers to his questions by volunteering for a time travel project. All he asks is that he be allowed to visit Biblical era Palestine. What he finds when he arrives in 29AD comes as a shock to him and he is forced to take matters into his own hands to maintain his own understanding of the Christ story.
The writing here is somewhat disjointed and focuses on Glogauer's own
Ben Loory
kind of brilliant, even though it's obviously (and actually) a much-pumped-up short story (which also feels like it was written in about two or three weeks (probably so moorcock could pay for a shitload more books to read on a ton of various esoteric subjects)). never less than fun and often actually truly shocking, which i always find amazing-- almost never happens. it also has a chapter which begins "The madman came stumbling into the town" which is such a great line i am now going to steal it ...more
Jun 01, 2015 Ron rated it really liked it
This short novel has been in my mental "best books I have read" for a long time. Originally this was a short novella that I read as a teenager. Some years later it was expanded and I read this present long novella/short novel in my early 20's. My overwhelming memory of it is that it was a tremendously original time travel story as well as quite sacrilegious. Shockingly so in some ways. Looking at other reviews it seems that fellow readers were similarly hit with the "blasphemous" feeling encount ...more
Aug 03, 2015 Ronald rated it really liked it
I read this novella years ago, in a used paperback copy of a Year's Best Science Fiction anthology. A coworker/friend recently read this novella.

The protagonist, Karl Glogauer, is from our current time. Presented with the opportunity to go back in time, he decides to go to the time of Jesus. In this story, Jesus and Mary are drastically unlike what is presented in Bible. Karl Glogauer takes up the role of Jesus in the Gospels.

I've read the negative reviews of the book. Yes, Christians, and come
(review in english below)

Um conceito fabuloso - que, só por si, quase valia as 5 estrelas - e um desenvolvimento admirável, que nos põe a cabeça a andar à roda.

A Nota do Autor, no final, é interessantíssima e ao mesmo tempo perigosa para livrólicos e livrólicas como eu.

Recomendadíssimo, excepto para cristãos fanáticos - ou não tivesse o autor recebido ameaças de morte quando esta história foi publicada nos Estados Unidos...

A fabulous concept - almost worth the 5 star rating on its own - which is
The Astonishing Ashley
Wonderful. Absolutely wonderful! Honestly, I was not exactly sure how I felt about this novel. At first I had a general "well, that was interesting" reaction. Then I read the author's afterward of how and why he wrote Behold the Man and holy fucking shit. It was spectacular! The Afterword alone is a 5 out of 5 stars. Moorcock explores the idea of what it truly means to be spiritual. It isn't singing hymns. It isn't shouting "Amen" during service. It isn't even about going to church. It is someth ...more
A. Dawes
Sep 03, 2016 A. Dawes rated it really liked it
This has a very retro feel about it. It's the 60s, man, a time of beatnik philosophy. People psychologically grappling with their own sanity as they explore ideas about what it means to be human.

This work won't be for everyone. The protagonist, Karl, is an unsettled philosophical wanderer of the era. He brings so much intensity and insecurity to his relationships that he inevitably ensures they devolve into crappy self-destructive states.

Karl's world takes a dramatic turn though when he finds
Jon(athan) Nakapalau
A very original time travel story...but some Christians may be offended by the "Jesus" that is found.
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Goodreads Librari...: Same ISBN but 2 different covers. 4 27 Jan 02, 2015 04:04AM  
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Michael John Moorcock is an English writer primarily of science fiction and fantasy who has also published a number of literary novels.
Moorcock has mentioned The Gods of Mars by Edgar Rice Burroughs, The Apple Cart by George Bernard Shaw and The Constable of St. Nicholas by Edward Lester Arnold as the first three books which captured his imagination. He became editor of Tarzan Adventures in 1956,
More about Michael Moorcock...

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“Trapped. Sinking. Can't be myself. Made into what other people expect. Is that everyone's fate? Were the great individualists the products of their friends who wanted a great individualist as a friend?” 10 likes
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