Jesus on Mars: what I’m reading this week.

Jesus on Mars, by Philip Jose Farmer, has an astonishing plot premise. What if humans landed on Mars, and, in a hollowed-out mountain, found a human community who followed orthodox Jewish teaching? The humans were picked by up a space ship in AD 50, which rescued them from some dangerous situation. (We don’t get to learn much about the situation.).  The space ship in which they landed on Mars is just near the hollowed-out mountain. Along with the Jews, they picked up the resurrected Jesus.

Although this book was written in 1979 there is nothing that “jars the reader” because Farmer tried to predict the future and got it wrong.  The four earth crew who land on Mars include one Baptist, a Muslim, a lapsed Jew, and a woman who has been an atheist for many years.

They undergo a lot of internal conflict as they try to come to terms with Jesus’ apparent miraculous powers: making things levitate, having the head cut off a ram and then restoring the head to the animal, after which it walks off quite happily.

The Jesus announces that he will be coming to earth in the space ship that has been lying outside the mountain . This is broadcast directly to earth TV stations. That’s when the fun starts, but I won’t give away any more of the plot.

Science fiction is sometimes divided into ‘hard’ and ‘soft’. Hard scifi gets all the technical and scientific details right, in great detail. ‘Soft’ scifi is mostly about the characters and their relationships, like ‘soapies’,  Star Trek Voyager’ and ‘Star Trek the Next Generation’ were soft scifi. I’d recommend this book to anyone who likes “soft” science fiction. Some copies are available on Amazon.


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