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Gott bewahre (Audiobook)

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An outrageous, irreverent look at faith, religion, modern culture and what might happen to the Son of God if he ever came back to Earth. "GOD'S COMING -- LOOK BUSY!" God really is coming, and he is going to be pissed... Having left his son in charge God treats himself to a week off at the beginning of the seventeenth century. He returns to find out that things on earth have An outrageous, irreverent look at faith, religion, modern culture and what might happen to the Son of God if he ever came back to Earth. "GOD'S COMING -- LOOK BUSY!" God really is coming, and he is going to be pissed... Having left his son in charge God treats himself to a week off at the beginning of the seventeenth century. He returns to find out that things on earth haven't gone quite to plan. A word about celestial time. Eternity isn't really eternal. It's just very slow. A day in heaven is the equivalent of 57 earth years. When He took His week off it was 1609, the height of the Renaissance -- King Lear was being performed on the London stage and Galileo was squinting through his prototype telescope. A good time to go fishing. When He returns it is 2009. It has not been an uneventful 400 years, thinks God, as He asks 'Where is the little bastard?' The 'little bastard' is trading guitar riffs with his new best friend Jimi. Well, he'd had a pretty rough ride down here and figured he was entitled to a little R&R. In celestial time, he's only been back a few weeks. After God has ripped Jesus a new asshole he calls a meeting of the Saints: the earth has become a human toilet. Genocide; starvation; people obsessed with vacuous celebrity culture 'and,' God points out, 'there are fucking Christians everywhere.' God hates Christians. What's to be done? Peter argues for flushing the whole thing down the toilet and starting again. God points out the time and effort He put into his creation. ('Have you any idea what it was like to sit through the Bronze Age? The main form of entertainment WAS BRONZE!'). In the end there is only one solution. They're sending the kid back. Cut to New York City, where JC is a struggling musician and petty criminal trying to help people as best as he can and gathering disciples along the way: a motley collection of basket cases, stoners and alcoholics. He finally realises his best chance to win hearts and minds may lie in a TV talent contest -- American Pop Star! It's the number one show in America, the unholy creation of an English record executive called Steven Stelfox.


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An outrageous, irreverent look at faith, religion, modern culture and what might happen to the Son of God if he ever came back to Earth. "GOD'S COMING -- LOOK BUSY!" God really is coming, and he is going to be pissed... Having left his son in charge God treats himself to a week off at the beginning of the seventeenth century. He returns to find out that things on earth have An outrageous, irreverent look at faith, religion, modern culture and what might happen to the Son of God if he ever came back to Earth. "GOD'S COMING -- LOOK BUSY!" God really is coming, and he is going to be pissed... Having left his son in charge God treats himself to a week off at the beginning of the seventeenth century. He returns to find out that things on earth haven't gone quite to plan. A word about celestial time. Eternity isn't really eternal. It's just very slow. A day in heaven is the equivalent of 57 earth years. When He took His week off it was 1609, the height of the Renaissance -- King Lear was being performed on the London stage and Galileo was squinting through his prototype telescope. A good time to go fishing. When He returns it is 2009. It has not been an uneventful 400 years, thinks God, as He asks 'Where is the little bastard?' The 'little bastard' is trading guitar riffs with his new best friend Jimi. Well, he'd had a pretty rough ride down here and figured he was entitled to a little R&R. In celestial time, he's only been back a few weeks. After God has ripped Jesus a new asshole he calls a meeting of the Saints: the earth has become a human toilet. Genocide; starvation; people obsessed with vacuous celebrity culture 'and,' God points out, 'there are fucking Christians everywhere.' God hates Christians. What's to be done? Peter argues for flushing the whole thing down the toilet and starting again. God points out the time and effort He put into his creation. ('Have you any idea what it was like to sit through the Bronze Age? The main form of entertainment WAS BRONZE!'). In the end there is only one solution. They're sending the kid back. Cut to New York City, where JC is a struggling musician and petty criminal trying to help people as best as he can and gathering disciples along the way: a motley collection of basket cases, stoners and alcoholics. He finally realises his best chance to win hearts and minds may lie in a TV talent contest -- American Pop Star! It's the number one show in America, the unholy creation of an English record executive called Steven Stelfox.

30 review for Gott bewahre (Audiobook)

  1. 5 out of 5

    Paul

    This book is very, very funny. It is not a literary masterpiece and has lots of flaws. It will also offend many many people. It will particularly offend religious fundamentalists (especially Christian ones) and those who are racist and homophobic. Oh, and if you are offended by swearing and casual drug use, you may also have problems with it. When I say swearing, well it's not the odd damn and blast, just a little stronger. The premise is quite simple God goes for a weeks fishing in the 17th Cen This book is very, very funny. It is not a literary masterpiece and has lots of flaws. It will also offend many many people. It will particularly offend religious fundamentalists (especially Christian ones) and those who are racist and homophobic. Oh, and if you are offended by swearing and casual drug use, you may also have problems with it. When I say swearing, well it's not the odd damn and blast, just a little stronger. The premise is quite simple God goes for a weeks fishing in the 17th Century and returns in 2011 (heaven time is different). He is distinctly upset at what humanity has done to the earth; genocide, pollution famine and f**king Christians all over the place. God does not like Christians. God's message is very simple Be Nice. This was the commandment he gave Moses, who promptly dumped it and made up 10 of his own. He consults with Jesus, who is playing a guitar with Jimi Hendrix and smoking some very good marijuana (everyone smokes it in heaven). They decide Jesus must return to earth and promote the message Be Nice. Jesus, a struggling musician, turns up in New York with a rag tag band of followers in the form of the despised, homeless, broken. He enters American Idol (run by a very thinly disguised Simon Cowell) and history repeats itself in interesting ways. Don't try to work out the timeline or the plot; there are enough holes to drive several buses through. The book is FUNNY. Especially the first quarter. The descriptions of Hell are gruesome but there are some neat touches; the fate of politicians and investment bankers. Hitler working as a waiter in a jewish restaurant. The fate of the founder of the KKK is particularly inventive. There is underneath it all a very human story about the whole point being Be Nice; nice involving justice, equality and fairness for all; oh, and lots of weed to smoke. This is guarenteed to make most people wince at some point, but the satire is biting. All the fundamentalists end up in hell; the suicides, damaged and lost are of course in heaven; along with the gay community ("God loves fags"). It's a good read and I laughed out loud on several occasions; said ouch, that went too far on others; but mostly it is excellent satire with a very human message.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Ray

    Rarely nowadays do I finish a book in a day, but this one had me harking back to the days when I would regularly do this. It hooked me and sucked me in, and I read it in a couple of lengthy sittings. It is a little patchy in places and perhaps seeks to shock just a bit too much at times, but these are small flaws in an excellent book. God comes back from a fishing trip (lasting 400 earth years) and is not happy with the mess humans are making of the earth - when he left to go on his holiday the R Rarely nowadays do I finish a book in a day, but this one had me harking back to the days when I would regularly do this. It hooked me and sucked me in, and I read it in a couple of lengthy sittings. It is a little patchy in places and perhaps seeks to shock just a bit too much at times, but these are small flaws in an excellent book. God comes back from a fishing trip (lasting 400 earth years) and is not happy with the mess humans are making of the earth - when he left to go on his holiday the Renaissance was shaping up nicely. He sends his son back to sort it out. JC lands up in New York, and we meet him aged 32, a failed musician on the edge of society. JC is a laid back guitar playing dopehead (he jammed with Jimi Hendrix in heaven). He has a pleasant demeanour and an honesty and integrity that unsettles people. He soon gathers a bunch of misfits, dropouts and outcasts around him and they embark on an exhilarating journey finding fame, wealth and death. Funny, dark, scabrous, irreligious, caustic and cutting - and also warm and wise, this book undercuts the rotten foundations of much of today's culture and community. I particularly liked the portrayal of God as a toke taking, whiskey swilling, cigar smoking bon viveur with a visceral dislike of militant Christians in general and Catholics in particular. The scene in hell where the Holy Joes get what they deserve is eyewateringly funny. If you are precious about religion this is not a book for you.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Sam Quixote

    God comes back from his fishing holiday to find that since he's been gone (a few days in Heaven but centuries on Earth) things have gone badly. Looking at what he's missed, He particularly doesn't like the 20th century. God makes up his mind to send Jesus back down to Earth to remind everyone of his one and only rule - "Be Nice" - a rule that Moses decided to ignore and come up with 10 of his own. Down on Earth, Jesus is 31 years old, in a band, something of a stoner, and being nice to everyone. God comes back from his fishing holiday to find that since he's been gone (a few days in Heaven but centuries on Earth) things have gone badly. Looking at what he's missed, He particularly doesn't like the 20th century. God makes up his mind to send Jesus back down to Earth to remind everyone of his one and only rule - "Be Nice" - a rule that Moses decided to ignore and come up with 10 of his own. Down on Earth, Jesus is 31 years old, in a band, something of a stoner, and being nice to everyone. And then one day "American Pop Star" starts looking for new contestants and Jesus decides to audition. What better way to tell people to "Be Nice" than on the platform of the biggest show on television? After getting accepted, there's a road trip to LA, the rise of Jesus as a music phenomenon, and the inevitable ending... There was so much I liked about this book. First off, while the opening chapters in Heaven might seem a bit too cartoonish, John Niven quickly establishes strong characters in God and Jesus, the biting dialogue shooting back and forth. Then the dinner in Hell with the Devil was an utterly marvellous scene, the Devil being a superb character in Niven's hands, I would've liked to have seen more of him. You can tell Niven had a fun time populating Hell with some of humanity's latest horrors, now deceased. What he has Hitler doing is especially funny but not as brutal as some of the KKK members or hypocritical Christians. Speaking of excellent characters, Jesus goes from being a Bill-and-Ted-type stoner to a more rounded person as the chapters fly by and I ended up really liking him. He's funny, well grounded, and is basically a good dude. Niven doesn't have him be overly preachy, or overly good, just be a decent person. And on the flip side is Steven Stelfox (the name is the only thing separating this character from Simon Cowell) who is the nasty British judge on American Pop Star. His rants and screaming sessions before and after the shows were particularly brilliant and reminded me of some of the scenes from Niven's last novel, the superb "Kill Your Friends". I could write 2000 words on what I liked about this book easily but I'll keep it short. The scenes on the road trip from New York to LA were fantastic, clever, and touching; the scenes on American Pop Star were exciting and funny; and the scenes following in Texas shows Niven's ability to go from comedy to drama to high octane action effortlessly - Niven is a true master of fiction and this book showcases his abilities fantastically. And the music! You wouldn't believe how well Niven writes music, about how it's performed, how it sounds, without even needing to hear it, you hear it on the page, and it's exhilarating! I recently read another "Jesus returns!"-type story called "The Final Testament of the Holy Bible" by James Frey, and while that was a decent book, I felt it took itself too seriously and that this lack of humour spoiled the overall message of the book. John Niven's "The Second Coming" is different in that it doesn't question the basics of Christianity - there is a Heaven and Hell, a God and Devil, etc - but it does question some of the dogma of the religion and does so with humour and intelligence. More importantly, it's never repetitive or predictable (except for the end of course), and never once was I bored reading it. If you're looking for a good book this Easter, hell anytime of the year!, you couldn't do much better than "The Second Coming".

  4. 4 out of 5

    Nigeyb

    Many moons ago I read Kill Your Friends and I loved it, so I am not sure why it took me so long to read another book by John Niven however I have now, and I am very glad that I finally got round to it. If you’re religious, and easily offended, then avoid this book. If you dislike profanity then avoid this book. Conversely, if you enjoy perceptive humour that nails many a sacred cow, and that simultaneously manages to be perceptive, quietly profound, compelling, original, amusing and outrageous th Many moons ago I read Kill Your Friends and I loved it, so I am not sure why it took me so long to read another book by John Niven however I have now, and I am very glad that I finally got round to it. If you’re religious, and easily offended, then avoid this book. If you dislike profanity then avoid this book. Conversely, if you enjoy perceptive humour that nails many a sacred cow, and that simultaneously manages to be perceptive, quietly profound, compelling, original, amusing and outrageous then make time for The Second Coming. It's tough being a saint in the city, even when you're the son of God, back again, this time in modern day America, to show humanity how God wants us to behave. That divine message is just two words “Be Nice”. The less you know about the plot the better. I devoured it. 5/5

  5. 5 out of 5

    Casey

    A woman saw me reading this book (albeit with a different cover) and asked me if I was reading a book about Jesus. "Yeeeees," I replied hesitantly. "Where can I buy it?" she pushed. I told her Amazon, not disclosing that I got it from Amazon.co.uk because this will never, ever, ever be published in America. And it's our loss. What you need to know is the Christians have it all wrong. Moses was an egotist who made up the Ten Commandments himself. All God wanted to say was "just be nice." God LOVES A woman saw me reading this book (albeit with a different cover) and asked me if I was reading a book about Jesus. "Yeeeees," I replied hesitantly. "Where can I buy it?" she pushed. I told her Amazon, not disclosing that I got it from Amazon.co.uk because this will never, ever, ever be published in America. And it's our loss. What you need to know is the Christians have it all wrong. Moses was an egotist who made up the Ten Commandments himself. All God wanted to say was "just be nice." God LOVES gays. He also loves pot, booze, and swearing. You don't want to know what's going on in Hell with Ronald Reagan. Because humans have gone about ruining the beautiful planet in the blink of an eye in Heaven-time (okay, about a week), God decides to give us one more shot by sending Jesus down again. What better way for him to get a national platform than by going on American Idol, facing off against a very thinly veiled Simon Cowell? This is scathing, hilarious, dark, and a very honest look at how fucked up our world is.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Vero

    This was close to great... It was mostly fun to read, well written and it had some crude humor and quite obvious twists of Christian theology.   And that was my main problem with this book: It is right in your face. No subtlety, no not so obvious sarcasm or irony. It was all there, right in the open.   The idea was actually better, than the plot in the end. What would Jesus do, if he came back to earth? Not exactly a fresh and original idea.  And mixing that with having him apply for a talent scoutin This was close to great... It was mostly fun to read, well written and it had some crude humor and quite obvious twists of Christian theology.   And that was my main problem with this book: It is right in your face. No subtlety, no not so obvious sarcasm or irony. It was all there, right in the open.   The idea was actually better, than the plot in the end. What would Jesus do, if he came back to earth? Not exactly a fresh and original idea.  And mixing that with having him apply for a talent scouting TV show? Not exactly mind-blowing.   So it was a nice read, but nothing to write home about.   I was actually a bit disappointed.

  7. 4 out of 5

    James

    There is a scene halfway through this book where JC rips into a cover of Springsteen's 'Born to Run'. It is a manic delight to read, and I'm sure that John Niven took great pleasure in writing it. Niven, a journalist who worked in the music industry, is Scottish, and his nationality is very much in evidence here in this anarchic, profane and undoubtedly hugely controversial story of Jesus Christ's return to Earth. Sent by his father, horrified by what people had done in his "name", JC plays into There is a scene halfway through this book where JC rips into a cover of Springsteen's 'Born to Run'. It is a manic delight to read, and I'm sure that John Niven took great pleasure in writing it. Niven, a journalist who worked in the music industry, is Scottish, and his nationality is very much in evidence here in this anarchic, profane and undoubtedly hugely controversial story of Jesus Christ's return to Earth. Sent by his father, horrified by what people had done in his "name", JC plays into the hearts and minds of middle-America when he decides (or perhaps it is decided for him) to take part in a reality television show based on 'American Idol'. There is much here to delight the open-minded reader. Niven introduces us to a God who doesn't care whether we believe in him or not; all he asks is that we just "be nice." Do that, and when you arrive at the Pearly Gates, you will be greeted with a spliff and a bottle of Champagne - the good stuff, so you know. There is much here, too, to annoy, disgust, and cause fear in the hearts of fundamentalists everywhere. Not that they would know, of course; they won't be reading it. Their loss.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Sho

    I can't praise this book highly enough. The blurb says that around the time of the Renaissance God takes a week off and goes on holiday, since everything on earth is going swimmingly. When he gets back, earth time running differently to heaven time (Einstein was right), it's the early 21st century and, to put it bluntly, everything has gone to ratshit. So, God decides to send his son back to teach mankind how they should be living... My husband read this a while back and told me to read it because I can't praise this book highly enough. The blurb says that around the time of the Renaissance God takes a week off and goes on holiday, since everything on earth is going swimmingly. When he gets back, earth time running differently to heaven time (Einstein was right), it's the early 21st century and, to put it bluntly, everything has gone to ratshit. So, God decides to send his son back to teach mankind how they should be living... My husband read this a while back and told me to read it because "you'll love it". Well, I love all sorts of things so it joined my pile (teetering, on the brink of toppling). Finally I picked it up on Sunday evening and... couldn't put it down. I read far far too long, and when I got up in the morning read more over my breakfast mug of tea. I took it to work (which surprised some people because I usually have my Kindle with me) and it sat on my desk, beckoning and beguiling me until 11:59 at which point I grabbed it and took off into a little-used meeting room to devour a few more chapters. When I got home I cracked it open and ignored everyone and everything until I'd finished it. And, of course, then I was sad because I'd finished it too quickly and I should have savoured it. But I couldn't because it was just so fantastically written, so more-ish so... bloody brilliant that I just couldn't stop myself. I heard that there are people who rarely read. Can take it or leave it. And I wonder, really, how that can be when there are novels like this in the world.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Olivier

    It's the first book by John Niven I read and I must say I'm a little disappointed. I loved the beginning, heaven was great. I laughed a lot for the first few pages but after that it wen downhill. The depiction of hell wasn't really inventive and the rest of the book was a little too easy. I liked the character of Jesus but every other one (apart maybe stelfox) was a little too much one dimensional and you could see the ending coming miles and miles away. Too bad. I not a religious person so I wa It's the first book by John Niven I read and I must say I'm a little disappointed. I loved the beginning, heaven was great. I laughed a lot for the first few pages but after that it wen downhill. The depiction of hell wasn't really inventive and the rest of the book was a little too easy. I liked the character of Jesus but every other one (apart maybe stelfox) was a little too much one dimensional and you could see the ending coming miles and miles away. Too bad. I not a religious person so I wasn't offended by the point of view of the story and the swearing can be funny (love as a joint smoker who swear a lot...and love fags .)

  10. 5 out of 5

    Martinc

    Our times are truly troubled with war, genocide, disease, and hate lurking around every corner. In "The Second Coming", God sees that everything is screwed up after returning from a short vacation. After short deliberation, he decides to use the only cure for the problem. He sends Jesus back in. Now, the returned savior must brave life as a struggling musician, whilst simply getting people to "Be nice!" Seeing it as a good chance to spread his message, Jesus decides to enter the competition "Ame Our times are truly troubled with war, genocide, disease, and hate lurking around every corner. In "The Second Coming", God sees that everything is screwed up after returning from a short vacation. After short deliberation, he decides to use the only cure for the problem. He sends Jesus back in. Now, the returned savior must brave life as a struggling musician, whilst simply getting people to "Be nice!" Seeing it as a good chance to spread his message, Jesus decides to enter the competition "American Pop Star". A plethora of chaotic twists ensues. The plot opens with everyone in Heaven scurrying around as they anxiously await the return of God from a "short" fishing trip. Upon arrival, however, the Boss quickly sees that there's chaos everywhere. In a heavenly board meeting with the apostles, the full scope of the situation is reviewed and Jesus a.k.a. JC is put back to work. The Son of God must now struggle as a musician in a rather unsuccessful band in the sprawling metropolis of New York City. While there, he tries to spread his message, but is never able to reach more than a few people. When "American Pop Star" auditions come to town, JC enters hoping to reach out to more people and must then compete both musically and against the sinister schemes of a music producer with a remarkable similarity to a former American Idol judge. Among all these events is also a chaotic and adventurous odyssey from NYC to Los Angeles. Once the competition is over and done, Jesus eventually retires to the plains of Texas, where he sets up an alternate living community with his two fellow band members and various outcasts of society whom he meets throughout the book. At this point everything seems perfect. But how long can the peace last? Overall, this book is absolutely amazing. Simply looking at the cover, I first thought that it would be an over-exaggerated satire. However, much to the contrary, it is immensely thought-provoking all the while keeping up an exciting narrative. The author's writing style is incredibly vivid and flows at a rapid speed while providing great detail. Much of the material is simply hilarious some of the sad parts are truly gut-wrenching. This book might be slightly confrontational to some of the more hardcore, Bible-thumping, Christian audiences. However this is done in a very tasteful and accurate manner as throughout his journey, Jesus must the deal with the relevant topic of religious and social hypocrisy and especially the end of the book shows that people today aren't very different from how they were 2000 years ago. I highly recommend this book for teenage and adult audiences and especially for church-goers.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Jim Murphy

    “Unimaginative” sums it up. You might have heard that this is a book about Jesus coming back in the present day and going on American Idol, and you might have thought “so that’s the first 50 pages, and then the plot builds and develops from there, right?” No: that’s it. Jesus is a dope-smoking, hard rocking, not particularly Jesus-y radical dude who sticks it to the man and makes Tyler Durden speeches and does not seem to have much of a plan at all, and then the book ends. I would be surprised i “Unimaginative” sums it up. You might have heard that this is a book about Jesus coming back in the present day and going on American Idol, and you might have thought “so that’s the first 50 pages, and then the plot builds and develops from there, right?” No: that’s it. Jesus is a dope-smoking, hard rocking, not particularly Jesus-y radical dude who sticks it to the man and makes Tyler Durden speeches and does not seem to have much of a plan at all, and then the book ends. I would be surprised if you found more in this book than you were expecting. It meanders to its predictable conclusion with no surprises along the way. Really, this book is unimaginative. Niven’s conception of Heaven and Hell could have been thought up by any high school student who has even a vague awareness of Douglas Adams or Python (the denizens of heaven even quote the Dead Parrot sketch, in case the influences were ever in doubt). Hell looks like a Planet Hollywood where Adolf Hitler is a waiter and Satan has a Hawaiian shirt, a cigar, and would probably be played by Danny DeVito. Meanwhile in Heaven, Jesus smokes dope and jams with Hendrix. The premise here, such as it is, is that God and Jesus believe much of the same common sense stuff as any 21st century liberal, and so during his time on earth Jesus becomes an angry mouthpiece for the author’s fairly predictable and safe rants- pro-marijuana, pro-choice, pro-gay, anti-capitalist, anti-gun, anti-catholic church, anti-muslim extremist. This misses a trick, because I feel like there’s an interesting book to have been made where Jesus’s arcane biblical views bump up against the harsh realities of the modern world- a fish out of water comedy. This is not that. Jesus is a fish IN water, if anything- an archetypal indie rock stoner with liberal views and a gift for rock guitar in a society where that is generally rewarded with money, attention and adoration. He uses the platform his talent garners to form a commune and promote his vaguely-defined “be nice”ism. Far from being persecuted for his beliefs, his downfall comes from the enemies he makes through his failure to adhere to his own commandment. As a character, Jesus is inconsistent- being unflinchingly principled with regards to his indie rock credentials, battling tooth and nail for his song choices, while at the same time letting all manner of awful things happen to him without protest, including a curious scene in which Jesus pulls down his pants and allows someone to sodomise him in jail. I commend the author’s surprising restraint for not making the obvious “turn the other cheek” joke, which is the one compliment I can really think of here.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Georg

    Heaven is a better place than earth. Nothing new so far. But in this book even hell is a better place than earth, more entertaining, funnier and more interesting people there. So my advise is: Read the first chapters, skip the middle part and look forward to the last part. The book teaches another lesson: You can write a funny book about bad people, you can write a sad book about good people but you CANNOT write a funny book about a good man. So the two commandments should be like this: 1. Be nic Heaven is a better place than earth. Nothing new so far. But in this book even hell is a better place than earth, more entertaining, funnier and more interesting people there. So my advise is: Read the first chapters, skip the middle part and look forward to the last part. The book teaches another lesson: You can write a funny book about bad people, you can write a sad book about good people but you CANNOT write a funny book about a good man. So the two commandments should be like this: 1. Be nice 2. Don't try to write a funny book about good people

  13. 5 out of 5

    Make

    Not really something you'd call fine literature, but a rockin' good time, with its heart in place and many enough spikes and arrows directed in all the right directions. Plus some real poignancy towards the end. Good enough to make me want to check you 'Kill Your Friends', Niven's first novel. Not really something you'd call fine literature, but a rockin' good time, with its heart in place and many enough spikes and arrows directed in all the right directions. Plus some real poignancy towards the end. Good enough to make me want to check you 'Kill Your Friends', Niven's first novel.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Davide Rubini

    If somebody asks me for a fun, smart, controversial novel I never hesitate. This is my suggestion and I have yet to find something better. Niven puts your beliefs upside down and in his usual irreverent style show the inner side of a religion, not necessarily bad but surely powerful.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Fiona

    This book is about a quite serious and sad topic, about humans and religion and how humanity is going to hell. But the topic is handled with so much irony and humor that it was just fun to read. I loved the beginning and enjoyed every site of the part in heaven. Afterwards it slowed a bit down, but that was ok as the story needed to evolve. Even though it got less there was still a lot humor and I also loved the references to the book Kill your Friends. So if you want to read this, start Kill yo This book is about a quite serious and sad topic, about humans and religion and how humanity is going to hell. But the topic is handled with so much irony and humor that it was just fun to read. I loved the beginning and enjoyed every site of the part in heaven. Afterwards it slowed a bit down, but that was ok as the story needed to evolve. Even though it got less there was still a lot humor and I also loved the references to the book Kill your Friends. So if you want to read this, start Kill your Friends first. It is not required to get the plot but it is a nice extra.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Tom Loock

    I liked The Second Coming a lot, but it is a odd book: The first 70 odd pages take place in heaven and are extraordinarily funny. At that stage, I was really excited about the novel. Once the story moves to New York City however, the tone changes increasingly and towards the end, little of that humour is left (though delightful little sparkles pop up now and then). Having said that, the story of Jesus is not exactly a comedy. Mind you – it's still a very good book and if it weren't for the over-a I liked The Second Coming a lot, but it is a odd book: The first 70 odd pages take place in heaven and are extraordinarily funny. At that stage, I was really excited about the novel. Once the story moves to New York City however, the tone changes increasingly and towards the end, little of that humour is left (though delightful little sparkles pop up now and then). Having said that, the story of Jesus is not exactly a comedy. Mind you – it's still a very good book and if it weren't for the over-abundance of profanity* I would wholeheartedly recommend it. Compared to Christopher Moore's Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ's Childhood Pal and Ben Elton's Chart Throb, this book comes third, but Bronze isn't bad, right? John J. Niven is obviously both a very knowledgeable music fan and a guitar player and I thoroughly enjoyed the many obvious and subtle music references. * I never thought I'd have problems with profanity in a novel, but in this case a few hundred fewer f*cks and sh*ts would have improved this book a great deal.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Rae

    I really didn't enjoy this book one bit. I wasn't offended by it... But I didn't find it funny at all. I DNF'd it the first time around and was told to persevere with it by a chappie in our local book shop... second time around I disliked it even more. I found it quite unpleasant. For example, bankers getting raped in hell... I don't find that funny or clever. Am I to assume that John Niven stores the money he made from this book in a hole in his mattress? The satire is so grossly overblown that I really didn't enjoy this book one bit. I wasn't offended by it... But I didn't find it funny at all. I DNF'd it the first time around and was told to persevere with it by a chappie in our local book shop... second time around I disliked it even more. I found it quite unpleasant. For example, bankers getting raped in hell... I don't find that funny or clever. Am I to assume that John Niven stores the money he made from this book in a hole in his mattress? The satire is so grossly overblown that it seems grotesque rather than clever. He makes out that Jesus is this huge rock legend.... But then slags off Ritchie Blackmore...... It's like an anticapitalist teenaged stoner wrote a book about Jesus going on holiday with his mates. It's a shame because as an atheist, the idea of a book reclaiming the teachings of Jesus and stripping it down to 'Be Nice' totally appealed. I think John Niven and I have completely different definitions of the word 'Nice'. Similarly I have quite a dark and juvenile sense of humour (Chris Brookmyre has me in stitches). Sadly, it didn't work for me at all. I may have stretched to 2 stars if I didn't feel so grotty after reading it.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Michi

    Cool concept, horrible execution. Every once in a while there would be a genuinely hilarious passage ruined almost immediately by the author aiming the next joke at the absolute lowest common denominator he could possibly find. The humour value in harping on and on about how stoned God is or how much he swears is rather limited. The humour value in graphic depictions of sinners being raped in hell is negative (especially when an extra layer of racism is added with a "Lol, black guys have big coc Cool concept, horrible execution. Every once in a while there would be a genuinely hilarious passage ruined almost immediately by the author aiming the next joke at the absolute lowest common denominator he could possibly find. The humour value in harping on and on about how stoned God is or how much he swears is rather limited. The humour value in graphic depictions of sinners being raped in hell is negative (especially when an extra layer of racism is added with a "Lol, black guys have big cocks". I mean, really?) Also, the book is INCREDIBLY preachy and not in the way I expected from social satire either nor even with a purely "Be nice" message. I stopped reading at the passage that describes Jesus being upset because some people got nasty (shocking!) after he shamed them for buying junk food. That was less than 100 pages in so maybe the book gets better, but I have serious doubts.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Sarah

    What a wonderful, heart-warming story. <3 This is a very clever book. Alongside the comedy of having Jesus Christ being a guitar playing stoner taking part in a televised talent show, you have a well researched tale with clear comparisons to the 'original' story. I do not know enough about JC's disciples, I cannot remember enough details from my Sunday School upbringing, but even I could make a guess at which disciple was who in the story. I say it again, this is a very clever story. This story m What a wonderful, heart-warming story. <3 This is a very clever book. Alongside the comedy of having Jesus Christ being a guitar playing stoner taking part in a televised talent show, you have a well researched tale with clear comparisons to the 'original' story. I do not know enough about JC's disciples, I cannot remember enough details from my Sunday School upbringing, but even I could make a guess at which disciple was who in the story. I say it again, this is a very clever story. This story made me cry... because how could it not! It's a story of hope and of sadness because we know how the story ends. There was some sad tears leading up to the final few pages but then I had a watery, happy smile. The book is slighted dated, like the language used by Jesus when talking positivity about people who are gay. But overall, it gives a simple message... be fucking nice. And I think that is message we all need to be hear often.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Tomás

    Super witty and hilarious but with a strong and unwavering stance on the issue of bigotry and Christian hypocrisy. A must-read. I hope this is adapted into a movie soon.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Dave Smith

    Grrr! I'm struggling with this book! Not that I didn't enjoy it (I loved a lot about it) but some things I didn't like. I'm not going to discuss the plot; it has been outlined in other reviews, mostly without spoilers, so go read them for a quick summary of what it means to Be Nice. And I don't think there's anything wrong in portraying Heaven in the way the author did, or Jesus' time spent on Earth before, during and after his brush with fame. He's writing fiction, and he can make Heaven whatever Grrr! I'm struggling with this book! Not that I didn't enjoy it (I loved a lot about it) but some things I didn't like. I'm not going to discuss the plot; it has been outlined in other reviews, mostly without spoilers, so go read them for a quick summary of what it means to Be Nice. And I don't think there's anything wrong in portraying Heaven in the way the author did, or Jesus' time spent on Earth before, during and after his brush with fame. He's writing fiction, and he can make Heaven whatever he wants it to be. Where the jokes are just jokes, they're laugh-out-loud funny, but hey, that's just my humour. Watch out for "If you build it, they will come". In a couple of places I felt that he'd done a "Leary" and borrowed off Bill Hicks a little, but it was necessary to deliver a masterful punchline of his own in the last page. Having read Kill Your Friends, I'm disappointed with Steven Stelfox' lack of presence in the last half of the book -- there was so much more that could have been done with him, keeping him a bigger part in Jesus' story. But that's only because I wanted him there, and it's right to say that if he was part of the story any longer than he was, maybe it wouldn't have been as good a book. It just seemed that for the first half of the book, he was being built up as a big adversary, but the real adversary was only partially enbodied in Stelfox, and the truth is that JC's adversary is the general air of hatefulness some people acquire to varying degrees. Other Goodreads.com critics of this book (the ones who gave it a one or two star) said the satire was too in your face and there was no subtlety about the author's sweeping condemnation of major religions and their followers. And I concur, and it did detract from my enjoyment of the book. I feel like I want to tell the author that Musliims make up almost one quarter of the worlds population and is the majority faith in many countries with current or recent female heads of state, more than "the west". Not every Muslim nation decrees that women mustn't drive. Not every American Christian believes homosexuals to be sinful. The author was stereotyping and he was not Being Nice. On the other hand, the head of the Catholic Church at the time of publication was Ratzinger who was a very easy target for the author's rants, and I'm OK with that because he was very BIG EASY DESERVING TARGET and the world should be comtemptful of him. In the context of this book, it can be proven that Mr Ratzinger is not Nice. But yet the book resonated with me, and I think that's because I'm sure in my early teens I believed in God, distrusted the Bible as a construct of man and felt that He just wanted us to be nice. Four stars overall because I enjoyed it a lot despite it's weeknesses.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Army of Penguins

    So! God takes a look at the world and decides that yeah, things are looking mighty fine. Time for short a vacation! Sure, time in Heaven passes differently than on Earth, meaning that God's week-long vacation lasts from the Renaissance to the current time. Now God comes back and catches up on fun subjects like the Holocaust. Oh boy. Or rather, oh f**k. Because this book has plenty of F-bombs. But I'm getting ahead of myself. The book starts in Heaven, then moves to Earth as Jesus Christ tries to ma So! God takes a look at the world and decides that yeah, things are looking mighty fine. Time for short a vacation! Sure, time in Heaven passes differently than on Earth, meaning that God's week-long vacation lasts from the Renaissance to the current time. Now God comes back and catches up on fun subjects like the Holocaust. Oh boy. Or rather, oh f**k. Because this book has plenty of F-bombs. But I'm getting ahead of myself. The book starts in Heaven, then moves to Earth as Jesus Christ tries to make things right once again. His mission? To spread the word of God's ONE Commandment (Moses was sort of a douchebag): Be nice. His method? American Idol. His adversary? That mean British guy whose name I forgot, but it doesn't matter because all names have been changed anyway, but everybody still knows who it is supposed to be. ;) I won't go into plot details, but let me just say that this is an amazing story. It goes from laugh-out-loud funny to sober, adds in a few truly emotional and touching moments, and yet never turns into some angsty, dark novel. This is mostly because this book is about Jesus Christ, Son of God. He believes that people can do good and that there are many good people. He looks at some homeless guy and sees the good in him. And ultimately, He wants to make a difference, and the reader will be by His side, going all "OH YEAH!" Now, a word of warning: This... is a book where God, Jesus and the other people in Heaven drop F-bombs and smoke weed, and where (to quote) "God loves fags". This book will epically piss off many people. Many, MANY people. If you pick this up and expect God to go all "What? Gay people? They're SINNERS! Repent! Repent! Convert those filthy atheists! Fire! Brimstone!" then... oh boy, do I feel sorry for you. But everybody else will be in for a wild ride. One of the few books that made me grin wildly and hop up and down on my seat while reading it. Go and check it out, but maybe take a look at the first few pages on Amazon or so first to see if the style is your thing.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Ian Mapp

    The return of Steven Stelfox is something that has to be anticipated, even if he has only a minor part to play in this book - somehow turning into Simon Cowell in the process. For those that dont know him, he was the most morally reprehensible character ever created and in the last book, kill your friends, we got to understand what went on in his head. It wasn't pretty, but it was damn funny. This book is about the 2nd coming of christ. He has been sent back to earth by god, who is unhappy that th The return of Steven Stelfox is something that has to be anticipated, even if he has only a minor part to play in this book - somehow turning into Simon Cowell in the process. For those that dont know him, he was the most morally reprehensible character ever created and in the last book, kill your friends, we got to understand what went on in his head. It wasn't pretty, but it was damn funny. This book is about the 2nd coming of christ. He has been sent back to earth by god, who is unhappy that the messgae "be nice" has been lost. And he is not very happy with the christians who have taken his name. This gives rise to some standard christopher brookmyre type rants on all that is wrong with the world. There is nothing to really disagree with. The story has Jesus getting his message to the masses through the attendance on Americas Next Pop Star. Stelfox is one of the judges. All very funny, cute observations and an obvious story develops. However, its just too whimsical in comparison to KYF. Good, not excellent.

  24. 5 out of 5

    R. Moores

    This is an entertaining and solid stoner comedy. Think of it as a Seth Rogen film. It's funny but not particularly deep. It's definitely not as edgy as it thinks it is either, picking the usual easy targets to mock. I noticed many reviewers like the start of the book and then think it loses its way. I am the exact opposite. I hated the heaven chapters, they were so lame: 'what if everyone just smoked weed and partied in heaven? What if hell was Ronald Regan pooing his pants and Hitler being anall This is an entertaining and solid stoner comedy. Think of it as a Seth Rogen film. It's funny but not particularly deep. It's definitely not as edgy as it thinks it is either, picking the usual easy targets to mock. I noticed many reviewers like the start of the book and then think it loses its way. I am the exact opposite. I hated the heaven chapters, they were so lame: 'what if everyone just smoked weed and partied in heaven? What if hell was Ronald Regan pooing his pants and Hitler being anally violated.' I mean, come on! Luckily the book picks up with American Idol storyline which had some inspired moments and the Waco type situation at the end is intriguing. I wish there had been more of a focus on Jesus' Utopia and what happen as communes like this grow. Anyway, if you read this book as a bit of fun, then it's a 4 star. If you are expecting more you may be disappointed. I did the former and that's why I've rated it highly. Be Nice!

  25. 4 out of 5

    Maraia

    That was hilarious af. I don't recommend it for the easily offended. XD That was hilarious af. I don't recommend it for the easily offended. XD

  26. 5 out of 5

    MissFede

    Was expecting more. It started great but fizzled out pretty fast.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Daniele Nidoli

    How religion should be

  28. 4 out of 5

    Helen the Bassist

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. 4.5 stars. Where to start?! Definitely not for the easily offended. Had its focus been a different religion's main prophet let's just say there would almost definitely be a fatwah by now! However, if you can accept the fictional concept of a joint toking, lead guitarist American, happily cursing (but never blaspheming) 'bum' as the return of JC and of a God who really doesn't give a **** whether folks believe in him or not - check out the great Rolling Stones analogy - but at the same time He reall 4.5 stars. Where to start?! Definitely not for the easily offended. Had its focus been a different religion's main prophet let's just say there would almost definitely be a fatwah by now! However, if you can accept the fictional concept of a joint toking, lead guitarist American, happily cursing (but never blaspheming) 'bum' as the return of JC and of a God who really doesn't give a **** whether folks believe in him or not - check out the great Rolling Stones analogy - but at the same time He really would like more folks to 'Be Nice' then you will find yourself reading an excellent satire on modern life with quite pointed digs at organised religion, the overexploitation of the planet, consumerism and celebrity culture to name but a few. The role of Moses' ego in b*ggering everything up in the early days is quite amusing. The depictions of Hell and the menu of tortures and punishments abounding are quite 'wince-enducing'...and there's even a Restaurant at the end of Eternity (my nomenclature). Throughout the whole book JC remains consistently gentle and does the right thing as he gathers a new band of misfits around him. Towards the end you begin to recognise the parallels with the original story...spotting the new 'Judas' and seeing the powers of the modern age plotting against JC and his friends. JC's death in the 21st century is no less shocking than the original...quite horrifying in its short depiction. His brief return sets events in motion for a kinder world in a modern way. Just read it with an open mind...and Be Nice.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer Christie

    Rude, crude, socially unacceptable and fabulous.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Gavin McCallion

    A clever read, a good few laughs and definitely the God for me. Maybe a touch to heavy on the satire and weed, but aside from that it kept me engaged start to finish.

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