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I have to say I was a little disappointed by The Bible. I've seen many reviewers call it 'life changing' and promise that it contains profound wisdom and divine knowledge, as well as it being 'the best selling book of all time', but I wouldn't go as far with my praise. The Bible is comprised of two shorter stories with one recurring character who appears regularly to tell the other characters how badly they're messing up.
It starts off with some Sci-fi elements, as the character 'God' creates the universe within a week and then stuffs it full of great and wonderful things. I think it's worth noting that God is also the author of this book, which I thought reeked of egotism, but I let it slide. We're then introduced to two other characters, a man and a woman, who don't get much in the way of a back story. The only thing we know about them is that they just appeared one day and that they were created so utterly stupid that they thought they could hide from an all-knowing and all-seeing God after siding with his arch nemesis, a talking snake.
This God guy punishes them in a fair and measured way for their ignorance - by condemning the rest of their race to misery, sin and injustice for the rest of time. Meanwhile, his arch nemesis the snake got away with just a few legs lopped off. When you start off with such a stupid pair of people it's obvious that inbreeding their genes is only going to make them worse, so after all of the incest and murder that their children get up too, God wipes the slate clean and kills off the entire human race, save for one guy in a boat.
It all goes a bit quiet after that as God takes a step back, maybe feeling a bit guilty after his extermination of an entire planet. Then a new bearded hero arises in the form of Moses and God decides to tone down his rage, focusing instead on being a racist. After picking favourites and plaguing the Egyptians for an undisclosed amount of time, God decides to send his son down amongst the people to sort them out once and for all. If you can't beat 'em, join 'em!
God's son is called Jesus (probably to be played by Gerard Butler in a film adaptation), but Jesus is also God and a ghost too! The only real Godly characteristics Jesus has from the outset is his killer beard and knack for reeling off a wicked anecdote. You might think God being on Earth would be greeted with harmony and rejoice, but instead the reaction of the people is pretty far-fetched as they choose to spurn and persecute the guy, despite him trying to impress them with free alcohol and feeding 5000 festival goers with one fish.
Eventually the people that God created get a bit sick and tired of him being around, showing off and telling the same old stories, so they decide to crucify him. Jesus is double-crossed, Scorsese style, by Judas, one of his right-hand men. Judas feels pretty bad about selling out his friend so he commits suicide, only to return as Dracula in the sequel 2000 years later. Like every good superhero, Jesus has a crisis of confidence and temporarily loses his powers, but it couldn't have come at a worse time as he is brutally tortured and murdered by Jews and Romans. Luckily he reacquires them in time to reincarnate from the dead and float back up to Heaven, suggesting that the all-powerful God couldn't even survive for a few years on Earth, unlike the rest of us mere mortals!
The story was littered with fantastical events and a fair few plot holes, whilst the Deus Ex Machina twist was used far too often. The characters were introduced at random and given no back story, and they spoke in a language that was so difficult to understand that even Shakespeare would have to scratch his head. There were some legends along the way, like Samson and Jesus' bodyguard, Peter, but most of the other humans were just flood fodder, or there to be tortured to prove a point.
It combines many themes and genres, from science-fiction, homophobia, infanticide, incest, racism, genocide and war to apocalyptic survival, horror and ultra-violence. Overall, most of the characters are too stupid to feel any connection with, I mean - I wouldn't go around nailing God to a cross, and my wife would be out on the street if she was pregnant and a 'virgin'. But it's probably worth a read for the sheer amount of carnage and violence contained within its pages.
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