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The Jesus Incident

(The Pandora Sequence #1)

3.72  ·  Rating details ·  4,771 ratings  ·  142 reviews
A determined group of colonists are attempting to establish a bridgehead on the planet Pandora, despite the savagery of the native lifeforms, as deadly as they are inhospitable. But they have more to deal with than just murderous aliens: their ship's computer has been given artificial consciousness and has decided that it is a God. Now it is insisting—with all the not inco ...more
Paperback, 432 pages
Published October 15th 1987 by Ace (first published April 1st 1979)
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Average rating 3.72  · 
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 ·  4,771 ratings  ·  142 reviews

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Kelly H. (Maybedog)
This is my favorite book of all time. I've read it numerous times and own several copies although it's out of print. I gave a little seminar thing on it once. I tried to use it as the foundation of my Master's thesis but my advisor said there was too much to say about it and to save it for my PhD.

And yet I can't review it. Perhaps that's the reason: what I have to say would be a dissertation. So anything I could write here would be insufficient.

So I'll just tell you I love it because the main
Mar 05, 2011 rated it did not like it
Once upon a time in a science fictional decade far, far away there was an author named Frank Herbert. He wrote a novel called Dune and it was good. He wrote a few more Dune-related books and they were a mixture of good and bad. And he wrote a book called The White Plague and it was good as well. And then he joined up with another author (a poet) named Bill Ransom and wrote a novel called The Jesus Incident--and completely lost this member of his audience.

After having this novel (and
Dee W.
Nov 12, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Looking back, I wish I had read Destination: Void first. This book is the sequel but can be read alone. My nature will demand the first book before I can read the third, however. There is a lot of material that takes a lot of thought within these books.

To expect less is to sell Frank Herbert short. It sounds lame to say, but being a scientist Herbert is thorough if he's anything. His books do not read like fluff, even when they are more watered down or abstract than hard science (i.e
Mar 14, 2012 rated it it was amazing
First off, this book is listed on Goodreads as Voidship #2. That's like listing the Fellowship of the Rings as The Hobbit #2. It's wrong, but the analogy of the connection is right.

I love this series - it's from my favorite series from my favorite science fiction author. This is why I just re-read this book before passing it on to a friend.

Did you ever play the old Civilization games? Remember the odd scientific-statements that accompanied hallmarks of growth in a civiliz
Jun 01, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: mature teens, sci-fi readers
Spoiler free.

Really not sure how this book has such a fanbase. If I'd not gotten this in audiobook form, I doubt I would have finished, but hell, it carried me through household chores well enough. This review will probably be pretty scattered, which will kind of reflect in itself how I feel about this book.

I can't help but wonder if this book just hasn't aged well, or if I read it "too late" or something, in both or either a personal age and generational sense. The setti
May 13, 2008 rated it it was amazing
If you've read and loved Dune, this is definitely worth a read. Herbert teams up with a poet (Bill Ransom) to tell a great sci-fi story, which I just now found out from wiki is the second in a four part series!

Whoops I gotta read the first one ("Destination:Void"), and then re-read this one and the equally good sequel "The Lazarus Effect." And then read the final one ("The Ascension Factor").

I have a lot of work to do.
Veronica Sicoe
Jan 16, 2011 rated it it was amazing
'Destination: Void' was amazing in and of itself, but 'The Jesus Incident' took the whole of D:V's challenging concepts to another level! Absolutely amazing book, bursting with provocative ideas and multi-layered characters.
Natasha M
Jan 24, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Almost as good as Dune. I love the Avata. I claimed the name...
Jun 12, 2014 rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: no one
Shelves: own, sci-fi, 2014, read-sf
The Jesus Incident is science fantasy full of characters and scenes lacking verisimilitude and has an awful conclusion that delivers a simplistic theological message. Comparing God Emperor of Dune with The Jesus Incident makes it difficult to believe that Herbert had much to do with the writing of this book.

From the begining the reader is faced with the challenge of accepting that a ship has god-like powers and abilities. These abilities include telepathy without regard to distance or time, omn
Aug 25, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites, read-2012
Those who've read Dune will recognize many of the themes in The Jesus Incident: leadership and how leaders manipulate society, scarcity of resources, civil/human/individual rights, ecology, and religion. Though this book is called The Jesus Incident, and includes a scene in which one of the characters witnesses the crucifixion of Jesus of Nazareth, this is not a "Christian fiction" novel, and the religious themes are not overwhelming. Rather, their inclusion is a vehicle to demonstrate religious violence and the brutality ...more
Radu Stanculescu
Feb 08, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: sf, ai-fiction
This is actually the first book I've read from the "Destination: Void" series, but the fact that it has a prequel doesn't cause that many problems. The new conditions (new planet, different environment, new characters etc) make this readable even if you skip the first book.

If you've read "Dune" you'll probably recognize some of the grand themes in these series, from the religious aspect to tyrants and manipulations. But don't worry, this is not an alternative "Dune"; it's a whole new
Jan 01, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: new-world
DNF @ 36%

I am sorry for Frank Herbert, as I enjoyed very much Dune and I hoped I would enjoy this one too. But I am forced to abandon it as I am too tired of the lack of explanations for most of the concepts presented and the conflict does is not presented in the best favorable light. I sensed it has some great ideas, but are not put into the best form.

I am also curious to see the final rating, as I would usually rate the books I did not finished with a 1 star, but I am sure it has also so
Scott Rhee
Sep 29, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: science-fiction
To fully appreciate (and possibly understand) Frank Herbert's "The Jesus Incident", one should probably read his novel "Destination: Void", which I actually think is a better novel. Herbert wrote "D:V" in 1965, and he wrote "TJI" (along with Bill Ransom) in 1979. A semi-sequel to "D:V", "TJI" takes place literally thousands of years after the events of "D:V". Raja Flattery, one of the four characters from the first novel, is awakened from his hyper-sleep on board the ship Earthling, now simply c ...more
Aug 13, 2008 rated it liked it
Shelves: sci-fi
Quick Review: Interesting, but not my style

Long-winded, rambling review (minor spoilers):

While I really liked the idea of an omnipotent spaceship floating around in space, making and destroying worlds, messing around in people's heads, and demanding that everyone WorSHIP it, I'm not so sure about some of the other things in this book.

One thing that irked me was the attitudes of the male characters towards the females. Now, I'm sure that some of this can be explained by t
Matthew Bowden
Mar 27, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: sci-fi
This book confused me. I was unable to follow portions of Destination: Void due to incoherent technobabble, but I feel like I was able to pick up the main discussion on consciousness. The Jesus Incident did not give me as much grace. I'm reading this series because I'm a Herbert fan, and this doesn't quite read like a Herbert novel. Where Dune's (or rather, the first three books') overarching exposition was on prescience and the future, the Jesus Incident had the same sort of monologues on godhood, c ...more
May 23, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: re-reads
In Herbert's 'Destination: Void' human clones were forced to achieve an A.I.-breakthrough with their colony space craft's computer in order to survive. 'The Jesus Incident' is set countless years after that, with the sentient craft, known as Ship, worshiped as a deity by the humans ship-side and those scrabbling out an existence on the dangerous planet of Pandora (and there are disbelievers among the humans as well). Ship does seem to possess god-like powers, and is on the verge of wiping out th ...more
Nov 27, 2016 rated it liked it
Dune is one of my favorite books of all time, so I decided to finally branch out and read some of Frank Herbert's other none-Dune related works. My first pick was The Jesus Incident, which after reading it I found out is actually the sequel to Destination Void - D'oh! Nevermind though, you don't need to read Destination Void in order to understand or enjoy The Jesus Incident.

This book has a large cast of characters, but they had distinctive enough voices that they didn't all blur tog
This was an odd book. It starts off incredibly slow and does not really build up much steam until 'the end' when it suddenly 'is over' and things are wrapped up. I do not know how to rate it, to be honest. None of the characters really stood out to me, for the most part, although there were a couple of men and women I hoped would pair up as couples by the end of the book. It bounces between three-to-four viewpoints before the differing viewpoints come together in the last chapter or so of the bo ...more
Aug 06, 2016 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Erik Graff
Sep 16, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Herbert fans
Recommended to Erik by: no one
Shelves: sf
Since The Godmakers and Dune I've tended to pick up those Frank Herbert novels which appear in resale shops and used bookstore sale shelves. I've been into science fiction since childhood, picked up an interest in religion as a young adult, and now favor writers who treat of both at once. While some of Herbert's books have been disappointments--especially the later Dune novels, this wasn't.
Philana Walker
Mar 05, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: adolescent-bliss
Gripping. Religious-based, like Dune, but very edgy and compelling. The savior of humanity and the choices and sacrifices made in the name of human survival. If you enjoyed Dune then you will absolutely love The Jesus Incident.
May 09, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
TJI warps into our reality a fresh new universe, while building on some of the story outlines from Destination Void. Herbert and Ransom deliver a memorable tale conerning the nature of life, consciousness, spirituality, while overlaid with a story framework of extreme genetic manipulation in a hostile world. Bill Ransom a local WA poet, i guess is reflected the character of Penille (also a poet). THis is an interesting take on

As with all Herbert books a lot of people are super smart/badass and
Nikola Ranković
Jan 02, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: gave-up
A book from my teenagehood, didn't realise it's part of a trilogy. I originally read it as a recommendation by the creators of one my favourite PC games of all time – Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri. There are seeds of some really good ideas here, and you can see the motifs carried over from Herbert's "Dune" days, featuring god-like beings and sciency mysticism. It is a book with many, many characters and Herbert does a good job of getting us acquainted with them and keep it all in sync. Overall howe ...more
Crys Jackson
So this was frustrating and I almost didn't continue reading after a while. I don't think I'll read on to the sequels.
The characters are so underdeveloped as to be cardboard cutouts and serve only as platforms for abstract pondering and philosophical meanderings. I can get onboard with characters as personifications or positions or other rhetorical devices if there are other redeemable qualities to the story but there just were not any there for me. The world felt underdeveloped, and the plot i
Jul 30, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was an interesting book, I didn't quite realize while I was reading it that it has inspired Cameron's Avatar movie, since it has in my opinion a totally different world description.
The challenge that the plot raises for the characters in this book is what is the right way to adore the Creator ( in this case the Ship). And the answer that it leads to is about using the human potential to overcome barriers such as the communication with alien species or between humans and clones. So, in a wa
Nate Crawford
Feb 02, 2019 rated it really liked it
A recurring comment we hear about Herbert's Dune is how it (sadly & unfortunately) becomes more relevant every year; another common sentiment is that, beyond the first few titles, the series becomes more esoteric and tangential as it goes on. If you've drifted off in the middle of, say, God Emperor of Dune and want to spend more time with that OG Herbert ecological mysticism, you could do worse than to begin the Pandora Sequence. The Jesus Incident reads like a leaner, slightly sloppier Dune, yet reflects issues ...more
Zantaeus Glom
Dec 09, 2016 rated it it was ok
While I am a great admirer of Frank Herbert, and like many I believe 'Dune' to be one of the finest examples of sf world-building I have ever read; some of his novels fail to engage me with the same rigor as his majestic 'Dune' opus. In 'The Jesus Incident', the initially antagonistic planet of Pandora is beautifully realized, with many of its truly strange and wonderful incumbents engendering vivid flashes in my appreciative mind, the actual yarn itself proved to be decidedly less enthralling. ...more
Owen Spencer
Aug 08, 2018 rated it really liked it
The Jesus Incident, written by the author of Dune, is an exciting page-turner with a bit of everything. And I do mean everything. Creation, God, religion, the meaning of life...all of humanity's most important themes, playing out in an alternate universe. Plus lots of weird, alien lifeforms in action-packed fantasy scenarios. The movie Avatar must have been based on this book (although there are some important differences). I definitely enjoyed this book. My only complaint with this story is tha ...more
Amara VanAmburg
Jul 23, 2018 rated it really liked it
A very bizarre science fiction book that caught my interest and held it, but is deeply disturbing and even disgusting in parts--not really surprising considering Frank Herbert is one of the authors. He is so good at exploring humanity in ways that are strange and foreign yet somehow familiar at the same time. I'm sure this is a book I will be thinking about for a while and it is worth reading through to the end, even though at times it seemed a bit repetitive and bogged down in the nightmarish s ...more
Florin Constantinescu
Here starts a 'reboot' if you will of the WorShip series with a new trilogy following 'Destination: Void', Herbert receiving help from 'rookie' Bill Ransom.

Definitely a good start to the trilogy, a step up from previous novel. Here come an interesting setting, cool aliens, pretty solid sci-fi concepts overall.
Only things wrong were the very difficult style and the convoluted and not very interesting development of events.
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Frank Herbert was a critically acclaimed and commercially successful American science fiction author.

He is best known for the novel Dune and its five sequels. The Dune saga, set in the distant future and taking place over millennia, dealt with themes such as human survival and evolution, ecology, and the intersection of religion, politics, and power, and is widely considered to be among th

Other books in the series

The Pandora Sequence (3 books)
  • The Lazarus Effect (The Pandora Sequence, #2)
  • The Ascension Factor (The Pandora Sequence, #3)
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