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The birth of Jesus has been well chronicled, as have his glorious teachings, acts, and divine sacrifice after his thirtieth birthday. But no one knows about the early life of the Son of God, the missing years -- except Biff, the Messiah's best bud, who has been resurrected to tell the story in the divinely hilarious yet heartfelt work "reminiscent of Vonnegut and Douglas Adams" (Philadelphia Inquirer).

Verily, the story Biff has to tell is a miraculous one, filled with remarkable journeys, magic, healings, kung fu, corpse reanimations, demons, and hot babes. Even the considerable wiles and devotion of the Savior's pal may not be enough to divert Joshua from his tragic destiny. But there's no one who loves Josh more -- except maybe "Maggie," Mary of Magdala -- and Biff isn't about to let his extraordinary pal suffer and ascend without a fight.

Topics: Israel, Parody, Funny, Adventurous, Irreverent, Jesus, Christianity, Friendship, The Bible, and 21st Century

Published: HarperCollins on
ISBN: 9780061798238
List price: $10.99
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Just read the free preview. Sad the whole book is not available. Anyways...what I've read so far....love it! Never mind the historical significance or insignificance ;-) .....love your story writing and your sense of humourmore
I am 27 years old and an avid reader. I never had a favorite author before I discovered Christopher Moor. lamb is by far my favorite. It is funny without really being offensive to believer's. Every page has something to make you laugh. I tell everyone about this book.
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Once I shut up my inner Catholic, I really loved this book. Not only was it irreverent and funny, but really thought provoking. Great exploration into the idea of what would happen if you woke up and found out your best friend really was the messiah. Moreover, how does a young man deal psychologically with the responsibility of being the savior of the world.more
Rating: 4 of 5Status updates - 7/4/2012, page 37: The imagery, especially of the Martians' masks, is so vivid. I'm not sure where this story's going ... and I dig that.7/7/2012, page 205: Not what I expected; although, I'm not sure I really expected anything except maybe typical sci-fi stuff. One to think about before I write a "review."more
I had some issues with this book, namely the "bed trick" pulled on Mary. A "bed trick," in other words, is a rape. This event, and the conversation had before it, made it difficult for me to like either Biff or Joshua moving forward. However, most of my friends who read this book didn't have the same reaction, so I'll try to put that aside to review this. (Still, I can't recommend it, and anyone sensitive to this type of scene really should avoid it.)This book is one of those where you find yourself thinking that the author could have done so much better with what he or she had, with just a little more thought and effort. This is a neat premise, and taking it on in with a thoroughly modern sensibility and tongue-in-cheek humor is a great way to go. But it turned out to be "almost" funny and "almost" heretical without fully committing to either.I really liked Biff's one-liners; his dialogue was always catty and on-point. I laughed a few times. But the narrative never got there. He often made gimme jokes that just didn't measure up to his dialogue. One example that stuck in my head was when Biff discussed never being able to live up to Jesus's example of forgiveness. He says something like, "It was the only thing I could never understand. Well, that and geometry!" It's the standard joke cliche -- "Math is hard, amirite?" It's a gimme. You could have really done something funny with that, but instead you went with a cliche. There were things that really were hilarious -- Raziel's obsession with soap operas and inability to realize they aren't real -- but most of the stuff just wasn't quite there.It's the same thing with the retelling of Jesus's early life. (Aside: Does it count as a retelling when the Bible doesn't talk about his early years at all?) Christopher Moore clearly wanted to take a heretical track in order to make it comedic, which you really have to do, given the subject matter. If you take on this area of history for your novel, you are going to get complaints no matter what you do. (The Red Tent gets banning proposals from evangelical Christians all the time, and its only heresy seems to be implying that women have thoughts and feelings independent of their husbands.) So, in my opinion, you really have to go for it. You have to pull a Mark Twain here. Give those people something to be offended about! Give us some rollicking good blasphemy!But it doesn't quite get there. Moore humanizes Jesus -- he likes bacon! he's disappointed he can't have sex! -- but everything the Bible says still goes. There's little of the "how it really happened" that could have shed some light on Jesus (and been funny). There's really quite little resembling blasphemy in practice -- it's all in the premise. Clearly Moore comes down on the side of the Christian faith, which is totally fine with me, but if you claim to write something irreverent, there's so much more you can do. There's a huge amount of ground between taking the New Testament down and doing something original and irreverent that really hits it on the head.I suppose if I were offering advice to someone trying to recreate this type of novel, I'd have three main suggestions: more religious irreverence, more complex comedy, and more consent. Much more.more
All I can coherently conjure in my head, right now, is this humourous novel is a biblical bromance. Clearly I need to work on a proper review.more
In theory the idea of following Jesus aka Joshua during his early years through the lens of his best friend Biff should lead to some wacky and funny moments. Particularly if Biff is clueless and more than a little juvenile.

And it did at times. The explanations around bunnies at Easter and how turning the other cheek originated were great. However, the middle dragged and I become very annoyed with Biff. Some funny is good but when everything a character has to say is a sarcastic remark, tied to sex or profanity, it feels one dimensional. I give Moore props though for taking a really, really tough subject and wringing humor out of it. Somehow I think I would like him in person; he strikes me as open-minded, tolerant and unique. I may try some of his other books just to see if there is a connection.more
I grew up on these stories of Man's exploration and colonization of Mars. extraordinary.more
I wanted to like this better than I liked the other Moore I read. I tried because people whose literary tastes I admire told me that this was much better than The Lust Lizard of Melancholy Cove. But no. There were the odd amusing turns of phrase. The plotting was solid. The premise was good. I'm always up for poking fun at organized religion. I kept comparing this to Twain's blisteringly funny swipes at Christianity and found Lamb wanting.more
Every Catholic school girl's fanasty, the real story about Christ. Hilarious and heartfelt.more
A Lamb tale was written by Moore,
with naughty descriptions galore.
But Josh's pal Biff,
was really quite spiff.
And now I am left wanting more.

(Translation for folks whose gift of tongues does not include Limerick-ese:)

Lines 1 and 2 = This is the story of the life of Jesus (aka Josh), but Moore has outdone even Ted Turner's most outrageous colorizing job. If you like Monty Python humor, then you'll probably find it terribly funny, as I did.

Lines 3 and 4 = If you can get past the biblical connection, this is a fantastic story about the adventures of two boys (Josh and Biff) who find/make their way in the world. Through shared experiences (and even through ones that they do not share), they build a friendship that makes the ending absolutely heart wrenching. It didn't matter that I knew what was coming...I was devasted when the moment finally arrived.

Line 5 = And then Moore threw me a bone at the end. It was the act of a kind soul. I look forward to my next Moore read. May it be another wild and wooly roller coaster ride that brings me back home feeling breathless and smiling.

For completeness, I am including the notes that I made as I read:

Ch 1: Clever and funny in the style of Good Omens, which was released about a decade earlier than this book. Wonder if Moore intended Lamb as a spinoff/variant.

Ch 2: Now that I've gotten acclimatized to the clever humor, I'm starting to notice a wistful undercurrent. Does Moore share my embarrassment for being a foolish optimist who dreams that we all might learn to get along?

Ch 3: This book is a study of extremes, the way it flip-flops between cozy details of daily life like baking bread, then over to profane behaviors like sheep buggery. Not sure if Moore just wants to keep the reader off balance to make us more susceptible to his outrageous jokes, or if he is asking us to consider the arbitrary nature of cultural rules. Guess I'll have to swirl the glass and take another sniff...

Ch 4: I'm convinced that two stories are simultaneously being told here. The carrier story is about the humorous adventures of two boyhood pals who learn to find/make their way in the world. Beneath that carrier story is the real story, the one that a foolish wit would have written outright. Moore instead plays a witty fool who hides his real tale, like the prize in a treasure hunt. (Oh boy!)

Ch 5: Before reading this book, I thought that I had been religiously cavalier in my own novel for doing things like casting Lucifer as a shrink and defining angel-dom as...never mind. My point is that I don't even wiggle the needle on the Moore Naughtiness Scale.

Ch 6: I have begun wondering...If I met Christopher Moore, would his style of speech sound like Biff?

Ch 7: Moore is a skilled storyteller. I'm getting captured by the characters and plot. And not because they are biblical/historical figures. I like Josh, Biff, and their families and friends. (Not Jakan, of course.)

p. 117 Can't stop for each chapter now, I'm on a roll. But I did want to mention one thing: I had been wondering what this story might have been like if Moore had toned down the naughtiness to make it more palatable to more people. I've decided that the tale would have felt watered down...and I prefer my Scotch neat.

p. 119 Biff: "He was going to kill you." Josh: "It happens. He didn't understand. He does now." I love this story!

p. 120 Moore was/is a Mel Brooks fan. (See the Balthasar/Blucher interval.) How did I not foresee this?

p. 123 Wherein the archangel Raziel is hoist on his own ego-petard...seriously, who among us has not suffered that one? (Liar)

p. 127 Please ignore these updates. (I need them to write reviews because I have no memory for nitty-gritty details.) Biff: "Wouldn't it be funny if you weren't the Messiah? I mean if you abstained from knowing a woman your whole life, only to find out that you were just a minor prophet?" Pretty well sums up my youthful fear of following the arbitrary path defined by society.

p. 147 The archangel Raziel suddenly reminds me of my husband in his TV control obsession. (Sorry honey...good thing you don't belong to goodreads.)

p. 154 Quoting Lao-tzu...this story is giving me so many flashbacks.

p. 185 Josh: "What does the Tao value above all else?" Biff: "Compassion? Those other two jewel things?" Josh: "No, inaction. Contemplation. Steadiness. Conservatism..." And here I thought Tao was about acceptance...once again, I feel like Biff.

p. 199 Biff thinks: ...we had studied Confucius, whose philosophy was little more than an extensive system of etiquette. (Speak efficiently, Biff. The whole system could have been replaced by the well worn parental exclamation, "Be nice!")

So glad Part III is over. Felt like I was suffering from time dilation. (Personal fault: I have no patience for recycled jokes.)

Part IV was no better. Admittedly, the focus had moved to mocking India/Buddhism, but it feels like the same joke. I get it: Religion and culture are arbitrary, and all cultures demonize sex while loving to wallow in it. (If Part V has the same theme, I will be seriously tempted to smite myself.)

p. 287 Well, Biff. I think I can answer your question as to why the other gospels neglected to discuss Josh's life between infant-hood and 30 years. That interval was not sufficiently interesting because it did not involve deep connections to loved ones. Glad to have you guys back home.

p. 306 Love the bunny scene.

p. 334 Good summary, Biff.

p. 353 The tone has shifted. I feel Josh's death looming now...
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The book reads like a group of short stories but all put together makes one big storyStoryline: In the future, people go to Mars to make it a new “Earth” since they’ve done a great job destroying Earth. Martians get sick with human diseases and die. We ruin Mars just like we ruined Earth. A war breaks out on Earth. . .I enjoyed this book but it has a lot of warnings for us.Warning 1: Don’t destroy our Earth, it’s the only one we have.Warning 2: Stop the racism and prejudices.Warning 3: Don’t be so afraid of the unknown.Martian Chronicles was a short read that could be seen as depressing sci-fi. I read it in high school but definitely have a better understanding of the novel now, as an adult.Thanks to Sarah Says Read for reading it with me! (I know, Sarah, it took me forever to get this post up since we read it a while ago!)Have you read The Martian Chronicles?Thanks for reading,Rebecca @ Love at First Bookmore
Well, calling this "finished" is a lie, as I gave up half way through. I can't say that it was terrible....parts of it made me chuckle. But by and large, I felt like I was reading a bood by a 13 year old boy. Not my cup of tea.more
Christopher Moore's speculative history about Jesus' best friend from childhood, Biff, is a pretty light hearted tale that explores the first 30 years of the Christ's life - through the eyes of a smart-alecky Jew named Biff. Well, Biff's his nickname but it suffices.

If you are easily offended by the thought of Jesus saying some bad words don't read this book; he doesn't do it often, but, really Jesus is portrayed like any kid with the exception that he knows he is supposed to save us. Thus, at times, Jesus lives vicariously through Biff. Jesus can't have sex? Well, that won't stop him from encouraging Biff's exploits and then hearing about it afterwards. Likewise, Jesus can't persue an earthly relationship with Mary Magdelene - so Biff does in his stead. I won't spoil how that works out but you can be certain Biff can't live up to Jesus.

The story is told as if Biff were writing his own book of the Bible, though with much more modern language and, for the most part, the tale revolves around Jesus and Biff seeking out the three wise men who visited Jesus' manager when he was a baby. Each wise man has some stuff to teach Jesus (and Biff gets his own lessons along the way) until, finally, they return for the fateful day where Jesus is captured, then crucified and dies.

I know, Jesus rises from the dead 3 days later - Biff's story doesn't get into that but it does tell you what the "H" stands for in Jesus H. Christ.

Overall this was a fun read but not as good as I had hoped. While parts were funny I can't think of any laugh out loud moments; something I was expecting based on all the cover blurbs.
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I am usually not one for humorous books, my funnybone must be broken or dislocated, but I enjoyed this book. I didn't feel lost in the biblical allusions (my sunday school lessons are half forgotten by now). While I don't think I'll be reading more books by Christopher Moore, I am glad that I picked up this one.more
I just love Ray Bradbury. He has a way of making you think about the subjects he writes in a different and unique way. Each story is packed with a multitude of underlying questions of ethics, revenge, and the definition of people. It's been a long time coming for me reading this book, as it was one of my blind spots. Excellent, fantastic, and well worth the wait.more
2.5 stars ... and that's being generous.

This collection of stories about Mars reminded me of Edgar Rice Burroughs stories. But where Burroughs entertained with adventures and action, Bradbury expounded on various themes, mostly anti-war and anti-establishment.

The science in this fictional work played bit parts, merely a vehicle to get to a theatre of operations far removed from old Earth. A place where scenarios about preserving nature and archeological sites had paramount value. A place where minorities could start anew without the yoke of their oppressors dragging them through the dust. A place where the past could be preserved at the expense of Martian sanity.

Rockets and atomic radio epitomized the Earth technological achievements. The Martians were vulnerable due to their telepathy and inward focus. Even less believable was the travel time to and from Earth -- unrealistically short considering the vast distances and plotting the different orbits of Earth and Mars to take advantage of launch windows.

I skimmed many of these stories, I admit. I was either bored or frustrated. Some of them shine, like the tale about Spender and the one towards the end of the collection about the house running on autopilot. Otherwise, I'd sooner forget I read them.

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What really is a collection of short pieces, tied together for a fifty-span of the colonization of Mars and the near-destruction of the human race. This is probably my favorite Bradbury book, although on this most recent reread, I had a little trouble reconciling some of the attitudes and ideas of what 2030 would have been (circa 1960s). It’s still a very interesting look at the effects of colonization and space exploration, and how humans would react to life on Mars. It’s a fun little book.more
This is my first Christopher Moore book. Though his books are easily available in the local bookstores in the vicinity of my home, I didn't heed much interest in his works until now. I mean, what kind of an author uses fonts that look childish enough (close to comic sans)on his book covers? The answer after reading this novel; the funniest author out there. I would have to thank cracked.com for their article on funny books published last month which recommended reading Lamb by Christopher Moore.

The story is told in the first person by Jesus Christ's childhood friend Biff, and it is absolutely funny. The story of Jesus's life from birth to 30 years of age is not documented, so Biff is resurrected by an angel and told to write his story of Joshua. And surprisingly, although Moore pokes fun at everything, it does not seem offensive.

* mild spoiler*

There is a bit of a lull in between due to a bit of predictability in the story line when Joshua and Biff reach India in their quest to realize Joshua's purpose of being a Messiah. As soon as I read that they were going to India, I thought they would have to deal with Untouchables, Kali Worshipers and... learn about Kamasutra (Needless to say, last one only applies to Biff).

But all said and done, this might be the funniest book out there. And I should tell the obvious that this is a total work of fiction.

And although it is written purposefully in a totally nonsensical way, the feel is not lost. The end will make you blithely melancholy. Yup, the last statement is an oxymoron, and that's what makes this book one of my favorites.


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I really enjoyed this offering from Moore. If you enjoy having a good laugh at religion, and don't take things too seriously, this book is a solid laugh.more
A masterful piece of science fiction. So bleak, yet very human at its core. Bradbury has a knack for bringing out the worst in the human race, but he always finds a way for there to be the smallest glimmer of hope for us as well.more
The humans have ruined earth and are looking for a new place to ruin live, they come to Mars, the Red planet (I don’t know why Mars, maybe because it is a planet, maybe because the moon was too close in case the earth exploded, maybe Ray Bradbury felt Martians would be cool). The first expeditions were ‘failures’, meaning the humans …..spoiler. It may seem odd to say there are spoilers in a book that was written over 50 years ago, but there is a chance my readers haven’t read it. After all, this was my first time reading it.Back to Mars, eventually the Humans settled on Mars, the first part of this book is told from the Martians point of view, then after the Humans start living on Mars, it becomes from their point of view. If you read this book, you’ll see why that had to be.Parts of this book were published in magazines, that gives it a ‘short story’ feel, however they are all strung together and make one story, but with many parts. Ray Bradbury was a master at short stories (Illustrated Man anyone?). His method of telling you what is happening in a way that explains what is going on without actually explaining it makes for an easy read: He started the Flame Birds and they went into town. The Martian Chronicles is a very thought provoking and at times disturbing book, but enjoyable.My only beef with Ray is he didn’t like ebooks, and so it is hard to find any of his books in that format. However this was a small, hardbound, very pretty book. I almost didn’t take it back to the library. I recommend this book to science fiction fans. Others might not be able to follow it.more
Ray Bradbury's ​The Martian Chronicles​ is a novel of science fiction, set in a future extrapolated from the society of the 1950s. This vision of the future explores both humanity's nature, and its relationship to technology. In doing so, it follows in the tradition of Mary Shelley and Nathaniel Hawthorne, by questioning what the increasing sophistication of our sciences and arts mean for society. It is clear from the outset (when the first expeditions cross immense distances in their rockets) that technology has brought mankind new powers – but the way these powers are used are not necessarily for the good of all.As well as the deleterious impact which the mere presence of humans seems to have on the native population of Mars (their numbers dwindling even as they struggle to repel the invaders), mentions of war and conflict start to appear as the humans settle. In particular, the spectre of nuclear war lingers over the human societies which are established on Mars, inescapable even through the vastness of space. The suggestion is that men have brought their warlike natures with them.The chronicle which is most tellingly ambivalent about the technologies of the future is the beautiful “​There Will Come Soft Rains​”, which tells the story of a house. This house has all the affordances of advanced technology, such as automatic ovens, story-telling machines, metal cleaning rodents and a panoply of helpful gadgets. These devices play on to their own set schedule, even when it is clear that no humans remain — the technology outlives its masters, and is seen to be indifferent to their fate. The eventual destruction of the house by fire paints a vivid image of a technological apocalypse.It is interesting to speculate how much this dystopian mood was inculcated by the society of the 1950s, where the world had recently survived a convulsive war in which technology played an unprecedented role. However, the importance of the work means that it is not just of its own age — it is a book for all the ages of man.more
This is a new take on the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Biff has been reincarnated. He was Christ’s friend and now he has been brought back to life in the 20th century in order to tell his story. This is a well researched novel that relies on what is know about the life of Christ and about the history of the area in order to fill in the blanks of Jesus’ life; the period between age 14 and age 30. Jesus travels the world with Biff, learning about compassion, sin, alchemy, science, love, Buddhism, and life itself. A great book that is both funny and meaningful.more
Lamb is an entertaining read about Jesus' childhood friend, excised from the Gospels and risen from the dead to tell the story of the missing 30 years of Jesus' life. The whole concept almost seems like a writing workshop exercise: how do you write the Passion into a comic novel? Moore elects to take the Biblical narrative seriously, making the end of the novel far more serious than the rest of it. The rest of it is pretty ridiculous, although there are not a lot of laugh-out-loud moments.more
Across the ancient sea floor a dozen tall, blue-sailed Martian sand-ships floated, like blue ghosts, like blue smoke.'Sand ships! But there aren't any more, Elma, no more sand ships.''Those seem to be sand ships,' she said. But the authorities confiscated all of them! They broke them up, sold some at auction! I’m the only one in this whole damn territory's got one and knows how to run one.''Not any more,' she said, nodding at the sea.The best thing about this book, is the atmosphere of calm, of dying civilisations that no longer struggling to stay alive. The stories have an elegaic quality, whether the protagonists are Martians or Earthmen, even though there is violence some of the stories.The only story I remembered in much detail from the last time I read it is "The Third Expedition", with the stunned expedition members finding what seems to be an old-fashioned Ohio town on Mars, when they land their rocket on the lawn of a Victorian house. Other memorable stories include "Way Up in the Middle of the Air", "The Martian", "The Silent Towns" and "There Will Come Soft Rains", the last of which I have read more recently, or maybe heard narrated on a podcast.more
Cornball and silly. Fahrenheit 451 is one of the finest books I've read, so I enthusiastically got this hoping for more of the same. What a let down. Goofy stories, no big ideas, no science (okay, it does take place on Mars) all together made it unenjoyable. One or two of the stories rate a little higher, but very disappointing on the whole.more
A charming and very funny book. Equally irreverent and reverent at the same time. It bogs down a bit when Biff and Joshua are visiting the various wise men, but on the whole is delightfulmore
A dystopian series of stories. No characterization; limited continuity; technical items unbelievable and techical issues ignored. This was not worth reading.more
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Reviews

Just read the free preview. Sad the whole book is not available. Anyways...what I've read so far....love it! Never mind the historical significance or insignificance ;-) .....love your story writing and your sense of humourmore
I am 27 years old and an avid reader. I never had a favorite author before I discovered Christopher Moor. lamb is by far my favorite. It is funny without really being offensive to believer's. Every page has something to make you laugh. I tell everyone about this book.
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Once I shut up my inner Catholic, I really loved this book. Not only was it irreverent and funny, but really thought provoking. Great exploration into the idea of what would happen if you woke up and found out your best friend really was the messiah. Moreover, how does a young man deal psychologically with the responsibility of being the savior of the world.more
Rating: 4 of 5Status updates - 7/4/2012, page 37: The imagery, especially of the Martians' masks, is so vivid. I'm not sure where this story's going ... and I dig that.7/7/2012, page 205: Not what I expected; although, I'm not sure I really expected anything except maybe typical sci-fi stuff. One to think about before I write a "review."more
I had some issues with this book, namely the "bed trick" pulled on Mary. A "bed trick," in other words, is a rape. This event, and the conversation had before it, made it difficult for me to like either Biff or Joshua moving forward. However, most of my friends who read this book didn't have the same reaction, so I'll try to put that aside to review this. (Still, I can't recommend it, and anyone sensitive to this type of scene really should avoid it.)This book is one of those where you find yourself thinking that the author could have done so much better with what he or she had, with just a little more thought and effort. This is a neat premise, and taking it on in with a thoroughly modern sensibility and tongue-in-cheek humor is a great way to go. But it turned out to be "almost" funny and "almost" heretical without fully committing to either.I really liked Biff's one-liners; his dialogue was always catty and on-point. I laughed a few times. But the narrative never got there. He often made gimme jokes that just didn't measure up to his dialogue. One example that stuck in my head was when Biff discussed never being able to live up to Jesus's example of forgiveness. He says something like, "It was the only thing I could never understand. Well, that and geometry!" It's the standard joke cliche -- "Math is hard, amirite?" It's a gimme. You could have really done something funny with that, but instead you went with a cliche. There were things that really were hilarious -- Raziel's obsession with soap operas and inability to realize they aren't real -- but most of the stuff just wasn't quite there.It's the same thing with the retelling of Jesus's early life. (Aside: Does it count as a retelling when the Bible doesn't talk about his early years at all?) Christopher Moore clearly wanted to take a heretical track in order to make it comedic, which you really have to do, given the subject matter. If you take on this area of history for your novel, you are going to get complaints no matter what you do. (The Red Tent gets banning proposals from evangelical Christians all the time, and its only heresy seems to be implying that women have thoughts and feelings independent of their husbands.) So, in my opinion, you really have to go for it. You have to pull a Mark Twain here. Give those people something to be offended about! Give us some rollicking good blasphemy!But it doesn't quite get there. Moore humanizes Jesus -- he likes bacon! he's disappointed he can't have sex! -- but everything the Bible says still goes. There's little of the "how it really happened" that could have shed some light on Jesus (and been funny). There's really quite little resembling blasphemy in practice -- it's all in the premise. Clearly Moore comes down on the side of the Christian faith, which is totally fine with me, but if you claim to write something irreverent, there's so much more you can do. There's a huge amount of ground between taking the New Testament down and doing something original and irreverent that really hits it on the head.I suppose if I were offering advice to someone trying to recreate this type of novel, I'd have three main suggestions: more religious irreverence, more complex comedy, and more consent. Much more.more
All I can coherently conjure in my head, right now, is this humourous novel is a biblical bromance. Clearly I need to work on a proper review.more
In theory the idea of following Jesus aka Joshua during his early years through the lens of his best friend Biff should lead to some wacky and funny moments. Particularly if Biff is clueless and more than a little juvenile.

And it did at times. The explanations around bunnies at Easter and how turning the other cheek originated were great. However, the middle dragged and I become very annoyed with Biff. Some funny is good but when everything a character has to say is a sarcastic remark, tied to sex or profanity, it feels one dimensional. I give Moore props though for taking a really, really tough subject and wringing humor out of it. Somehow I think I would like him in person; he strikes me as open-minded, tolerant and unique. I may try some of his other books just to see if there is a connection.more
I grew up on these stories of Man's exploration and colonization of Mars. extraordinary.more
I wanted to like this better than I liked the other Moore I read. I tried because people whose literary tastes I admire told me that this was much better than The Lust Lizard of Melancholy Cove. But no. There were the odd amusing turns of phrase. The plotting was solid. The premise was good. I'm always up for poking fun at organized religion. I kept comparing this to Twain's blisteringly funny swipes at Christianity and found Lamb wanting.more
Every Catholic school girl's fanasty, the real story about Christ. Hilarious and heartfelt.more
A Lamb tale was written by Moore,
with naughty descriptions galore.
But Josh's pal Biff,
was really quite spiff.
And now I am left wanting more.

(Translation for folks whose gift of tongues does not include Limerick-ese:)

Lines 1 and 2 = This is the story of the life of Jesus (aka Josh), but Moore has outdone even Ted Turner's most outrageous colorizing job. If you like Monty Python humor, then you'll probably find it terribly funny, as I did.

Lines 3 and 4 = If you can get past the biblical connection, this is a fantastic story about the adventures of two boys (Josh and Biff) who find/make their way in the world. Through shared experiences (and even through ones that they do not share), they build a friendship that makes the ending absolutely heart wrenching. It didn't matter that I knew what was coming...I was devasted when the moment finally arrived.

Line 5 = And then Moore threw me a bone at the end. It was the act of a kind soul. I look forward to my next Moore read. May it be another wild and wooly roller coaster ride that brings me back home feeling breathless and smiling.

For completeness, I am including the notes that I made as I read:

Ch 1: Clever and funny in the style of Good Omens, which was released about a decade earlier than this book. Wonder if Moore intended Lamb as a spinoff/variant.

Ch 2: Now that I've gotten acclimatized to the clever humor, I'm starting to notice a wistful undercurrent. Does Moore share my embarrassment for being a foolish optimist who dreams that we all might learn to get along?

Ch 3: This book is a study of extremes, the way it flip-flops between cozy details of daily life like baking bread, then over to profane behaviors like sheep buggery. Not sure if Moore just wants to keep the reader off balance to make us more susceptible to his outrageous jokes, or if he is asking us to consider the arbitrary nature of cultural rules. Guess I'll have to swirl the glass and take another sniff...

Ch 4: I'm convinced that two stories are simultaneously being told here. The carrier story is about the humorous adventures of two boyhood pals who learn to find/make their way in the world. Beneath that carrier story is the real story, the one that a foolish wit would have written outright. Moore instead plays a witty fool who hides his real tale, like the prize in a treasure hunt. (Oh boy!)

Ch 5: Before reading this book, I thought that I had been religiously cavalier in my own novel for doing things like casting Lucifer as a shrink and defining angel-dom as...never mind. My point is that I don't even wiggle the needle on the Moore Naughtiness Scale.

Ch 6: I have begun wondering...If I met Christopher Moore, would his style of speech sound like Biff?

Ch 7: Moore is a skilled storyteller. I'm getting captured by the characters and plot. And not because they are biblical/historical figures. I like Josh, Biff, and their families and friends. (Not Jakan, of course.)

p. 117 Can't stop for each chapter now, I'm on a roll. But I did want to mention one thing: I had been wondering what this story might have been like if Moore had toned down the naughtiness to make it more palatable to more people. I've decided that the tale would have felt watered down...and I prefer my Scotch neat.

p. 119 Biff: "He was going to kill you." Josh: "It happens. He didn't understand. He does now." I love this story!

p. 120 Moore was/is a Mel Brooks fan. (See the Balthasar/Blucher interval.) How did I not foresee this?

p. 123 Wherein the archangel Raziel is hoist on his own ego-petard...seriously, who among us has not suffered that one? (Liar)

p. 127 Please ignore these updates. (I need them to write reviews because I have no memory for nitty-gritty details.) Biff: "Wouldn't it be funny if you weren't the Messiah? I mean if you abstained from knowing a woman your whole life, only to find out that you were just a minor prophet?" Pretty well sums up my youthful fear of following the arbitrary path defined by society.

p. 147 The archangel Raziel suddenly reminds me of my husband in his TV control obsession. (Sorry honey...good thing you don't belong to goodreads.)

p. 154 Quoting Lao-tzu...this story is giving me so many flashbacks.

p. 185 Josh: "What does the Tao value above all else?" Biff: "Compassion? Those other two jewel things?" Josh: "No, inaction. Contemplation. Steadiness. Conservatism..." And here I thought Tao was about acceptance...once again, I feel like Biff.

p. 199 Biff thinks: ...we had studied Confucius, whose philosophy was little more than an extensive system of etiquette. (Speak efficiently, Biff. The whole system could have been replaced by the well worn parental exclamation, "Be nice!")

So glad Part III is over. Felt like I was suffering from time dilation. (Personal fault: I have no patience for recycled jokes.)

Part IV was no better. Admittedly, the focus had moved to mocking India/Buddhism, but it feels like the same joke. I get it: Religion and culture are arbitrary, and all cultures demonize sex while loving to wallow in it. (If Part V has the same theme, I will be seriously tempted to smite myself.)

p. 287 Well, Biff. I think I can answer your question as to why the other gospels neglected to discuss Josh's life between infant-hood and 30 years. That interval was not sufficiently interesting because it did not involve deep connections to loved ones. Glad to have you guys back home.

p. 306 Love the bunny scene.

p. 334 Good summary, Biff.

p. 353 The tone has shifted. I feel Josh's death looming now...
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The book reads like a group of short stories but all put together makes one big storyStoryline: In the future, people go to Mars to make it a new “Earth” since they’ve done a great job destroying Earth. Martians get sick with human diseases and die. We ruin Mars just like we ruined Earth. A war breaks out on Earth. . .I enjoyed this book but it has a lot of warnings for us.Warning 1: Don’t destroy our Earth, it’s the only one we have.Warning 2: Stop the racism and prejudices.Warning 3: Don’t be so afraid of the unknown.Martian Chronicles was a short read that could be seen as depressing sci-fi. I read it in high school but definitely have a better understanding of the novel now, as an adult.Thanks to Sarah Says Read for reading it with me! (I know, Sarah, it took me forever to get this post up since we read it a while ago!)Have you read The Martian Chronicles?Thanks for reading,Rebecca @ Love at First Bookmore
Well, calling this "finished" is a lie, as I gave up half way through. I can't say that it was terrible....parts of it made me chuckle. But by and large, I felt like I was reading a bood by a 13 year old boy. Not my cup of tea.more
Christopher Moore's speculative history about Jesus' best friend from childhood, Biff, is a pretty light hearted tale that explores the first 30 years of the Christ's life - through the eyes of a smart-alecky Jew named Biff. Well, Biff's his nickname but it suffices.

If you are easily offended by the thought of Jesus saying some bad words don't read this book; he doesn't do it often, but, really Jesus is portrayed like any kid with the exception that he knows he is supposed to save us. Thus, at times, Jesus lives vicariously through Biff. Jesus can't have sex? Well, that won't stop him from encouraging Biff's exploits and then hearing about it afterwards. Likewise, Jesus can't persue an earthly relationship with Mary Magdelene - so Biff does in his stead. I won't spoil how that works out but you can be certain Biff can't live up to Jesus.

The story is told as if Biff were writing his own book of the Bible, though with much more modern language and, for the most part, the tale revolves around Jesus and Biff seeking out the three wise men who visited Jesus' manager when he was a baby. Each wise man has some stuff to teach Jesus (and Biff gets his own lessons along the way) until, finally, they return for the fateful day where Jesus is captured, then crucified and dies.

I know, Jesus rises from the dead 3 days later - Biff's story doesn't get into that but it does tell you what the "H" stands for in Jesus H. Christ.

Overall this was a fun read but not as good as I had hoped. While parts were funny I can't think of any laugh out loud moments; something I was expecting based on all the cover blurbs.
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I am usually not one for humorous books, my funnybone must be broken or dislocated, but I enjoyed this book. I didn't feel lost in the biblical allusions (my sunday school lessons are half forgotten by now). While I don't think I'll be reading more books by Christopher Moore, I am glad that I picked up this one.more
I just love Ray Bradbury. He has a way of making you think about the subjects he writes in a different and unique way. Each story is packed with a multitude of underlying questions of ethics, revenge, and the definition of people. It's been a long time coming for me reading this book, as it was one of my blind spots. Excellent, fantastic, and well worth the wait.more
2.5 stars ... and that's being generous.

This collection of stories about Mars reminded me of Edgar Rice Burroughs stories. But where Burroughs entertained with adventures and action, Bradbury expounded on various themes, mostly anti-war and anti-establishment.

The science in this fictional work played bit parts, merely a vehicle to get to a theatre of operations far removed from old Earth. A place where scenarios about preserving nature and archeological sites had paramount value. A place where minorities could start anew without the yoke of their oppressors dragging them through the dust. A place where the past could be preserved at the expense of Martian sanity.

Rockets and atomic radio epitomized the Earth technological achievements. The Martians were vulnerable due to their telepathy and inward focus. Even less believable was the travel time to and from Earth -- unrealistically short considering the vast distances and plotting the different orbits of Earth and Mars to take advantage of launch windows.

I skimmed many of these stories, I admit. I was either bored or frustrated. Some of them shine, like the tale about Spender and the one towards the end of the collection about the house running on autopilot. Otherwise, I'd sooner forget I read them.

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What really is a collection of short pieces, tied together for a fifty-span of the colonization of Mars and the near-destruction of the human race. This is probably my favorite Bradbury book, although on this most recent reread, I had a little trouble reconciling some of the attitudes and ideas of what 2030 would have been (circa 1960s). It’s still a very interesting look at the effects of colonization and space exploration, and how humans would react to life on Mars. It’s a fun little book.more
This is my first Christopher Moore book. Though his books are easily available in the local bookstores in the vicinity of my home, I didn't heed much interest in his works until now. I mean, what kind of an author uses fonts that look childish enough (close to comic sans)on his book covers? The answer after reading this novel; the funniest author out there. I would have to thank cracked.com for their article on funny books published last month which recommended reading Lamb by Christopher Moore.

The story is told in the first person by Jesus Christ's childhood friend Biff, and it is absolutely funny. The story of Jesus's life from birth to 30 years of age is not documented, so Biff is resurrected by an angel and told to write his story of Joshua. And surprisingly, although Moore pokes fun at everything, it does not seem offensive.

* mild spoiler*

There is a bit of a lull in between due to a bit of predictability in the story line when Joshua and Biff reach India in their quest to realize Joshua's purpose of being a Messiah. As soon as I read that they were going to India, I thought they would have to deal with Untouchables, Kali Worshipers and... learn about Kamasutra (Needless to say, last one only applies to Biff).

But all said and done, this might be the funniest book out there. And I should tell the obvious that this is a total work of fiction.

And although it is written purposefully in a totally nonsensical way, the feel is not lost. The end will make you blithely melancholy. Yup, the last statement is an oxymoron, and that's what makes this book one of my favorites.


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I really enjoyed this offering from Moore. If you enjoy having a good laugh at religion, and don't take things too seriously, this book is a solid laugh.more
A masterful piece of science fiction. So bleak, yet very human at its core. Bradbury has a knack for bringing out the worst in the human race, but he always finds a way for there to be the smallest glimmer of hope for us as well.more
The humans have ruined earth and are looking for a new place to ruin live, they come to Mars, the Red planet (I don’t know why Mars, maybe because it is a planet, maybe because the moon was too close in case the earth exploded, maybe Ray Bradbury felt Martians would be cool). The first expeditions were ‘failures’, meaning the humans …..spoiler. It may seem odd to say there are spoilers in a book that was written over 50 years ago, but there is a chance my readers haven’t read it. After all, this was my first time reading it.Back to Mars, eventually the Humans settled on Mars, the first part of this book is told from the Martians point of view, then after the Humans start living on Mars, it becomes from their point of view. If you read this book, you’ll see why that had to be.Parts of this book were published in magazines, that gives it a ‘short story’ feel, however they are all strung together and make one story, but with many parts. Ray Bradbury was a master at short stories (Illustrated Man anyone?). His method of telling you what is happening in a way that explains what is going on without actually explaining it makes for an easy read: He started the Flame Birds and they went into town. The Martian Chronicles is a very thought provoking and at times disturbing book, but enjoyable.My only beef with Ray is he didn’t like ebooks, and so it is hard to find any of his books in that format. However this was a small, hardbound, very pretty book. I almost didn’t take it back to the library. I recommend this book to science fiction fans. Others might not be able to follow it.more
Ray Bradbury's ​The Martian Chronicles​ is a novel of science fiction, set in a future extrapolated from the society of the 1950s. This vision of the future explores both humanity's nature, and its relationship to technology. In doing so, it follows in the tradition of Mary Shelley and Nathaniel Hawthorne, by questioning what the increasing sophistication of our sciences and arts mean for society. It is clear from the outset (when the first expeditions cross immense distances in their rockets) that technology has brought mankind new powers – but the way these powers are used are not necessarily for the good of all.As well as the deleterious impact which the mere presence of humans seems to have on the native population of Mars (their numbers dwindling even as they struggle to repel the invaders), mentions of war and conflict start to appear as the humans settle. In particular, the spectre of nuclear war lingers over the human societies which are established on Mars, inescapable even through the vastness of space. The suggestion is that men have brought their warlike natures with them.The chronicle which is most tellingly ambivalent about the technologies of the future is the beautiful “​There Will Come Soft Rains​”, which tells the story of a house. This house has all the affordances of advanced technology, such as automatic ovens, story-telling machines, metal cleaning rodents and a panoply of helpful gadgets. These devices play on to their own set schedule, even when it is clear that no humans remain — the technology outlives its masters, and is seen to be indifferent to their fate. The eventual destruction of the house by fire paints a vivid image of a technological apocalypse.It is interesting to speculate how much this dystopian mood was inculcated by the society of the 1950s, where the world had recently survived a convulsive war in which technology played an unprecedented role. However, the importance of the work means that it is not just of its own age — it is a book for all the ages of man.more
This is a new take on the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Biff has been reincarnated. He was Christ’s friend and now he has been brought back to life in the 20th century in order to tell his story. This is a well researched novel that relies on what is know about the life of Christ and about the history of the area in order to fill in the blanks of Jesus’ life; the period between age 14 and age 30. Jesus travels the world with Biff, learning about compassion, sin, alchemy, science, love, Buddhism, and life itself. A great book that is both funny and meaningful.more
Lamb is an entertaining read about Jesus' childhood friend, excised from the Gospels and risen from the dead to tell the story of the missing 30 years of Jesus' life. The whole concept almost seems like a writing workshop exercise: how do you write the Passion into a comic novel? Moore elects to take the Biblical narrative seriously, making the end of the novel far more serious than the rest of it. The rest of it is pretty ridiculous, although there are not a lot of laugh-out-loud moments.more
Across the ancient sea floor a dozen tall, blue-sailed Martian sand-ships floated, like blue ghosts, like blue smoke.'Sand ships! But there aren't any more, Elma, no more sand ships.''Those seem to be sand ships,' she said. But the authorities confiscated all of them! They broke them up, sold some at auction! I’m the only one in this whole damn territory's got one and knows how to run one.''Not any more,' she said, nodding at the sea.The best thing about this book, is the atmosphere of calm, of dying civilisations that no longer struggling to stay alive. The stories have an elegaic quality, whether the protagonists are Martians or Earthmen, even though there is violence some of the stories.The only story I remembered in much detail from the last time I read it is "The Third Expedition", with the stunned expedition members finding what seems to be an old-fashioned Ohio town on Mars, when they land their rocket on the lawn of a Victorian house. Other memorable stories include "Way Up in the Middle of the Air", "The Martian", "The Silent Towns" and "There Will Come Soft Rains", the last of which I have read more recently, or maybe heard narrated on a podcast.more
Cornball and silly. Fahrenheit 451 is one of the finest books I've read, so I enthusiastically got this hoping for more of the same. What a let down. Goofy stories, no big ideas, no science (okay, it does take place on Mars) all together made it unenjoyable. One or two of the stories rate a little higher, but very disappointing on the whole.more
A charming and very funny book. Equally irreverent and reverent at the same time. It bogs down a bit when Biff and Joshua are visiting the various wise men, but on the whole is delightfulmore
A dystopian series of stories. No characterization; limited continuity; technical items unbelievable and techical issues ignored. This was not worth reading.more
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