Locus on Martian Sands

Feels more like early Kurt Vonnegut… both writers seem to channel the same prankster glee that covers deep despair. Martian Sands crackles with energy and life while poking at some big questions about the nature of reality.

Which is kinda nice!

book news

Jesus & The Eightfold Path cover and pre-orders!

I’m delighted to announce that Jesus & The Eightfold Path is now available for pre-orders! The book costs £10 for a limited edition hardcover of just 200 copies. While these are not signed, I should be at Fantasycon this year for the launch, and will make sure to sign copies there.

The awesome cover – and isn’t it an awesome cover? – is by Melissa Gay, who did the cover for HebrewPunk back in the day. Check it out!

THREE WISE MEN CAME FROM THE EAST for the infant Jesus in The New Testament. Three brave companions accompany the Buddha in the Chinese classic A Journey to the West. Could they have been the same three? Guided by a star, three strange companions arrive in the barbarous land of Judea to seek a newborn child–a possible messiah to some, and the reincarnation of the Budda to others.

When the child’s life is threatened, his family and new guardians escape to Egypt, returning years later, to a Jewish land on the cusp of annihilation by the Roman Empire.

Once a general in the Judean army, now a Roman agent, Josephus Flavius is sent by Caesar back to his home land to observe and report on the actions of the troubling young man now preaching sedition in the Galilee–a boy with the unsettling powers of kung-fu…

Their lives would collide in a cataclysmic confrontation between Romans and Jews, between empire and rebels–and change the world forever…

And here is Gardner Dozois reviewing the book in the latest issue of Locus:

Lavie Tidhar is one of the most interesting new writers to enter the genre in some time, and his chapbook novella “Jesus and the Eightfold Path” is another major work by him, although even harder to pin down by genre than is his usual work.  A vivid and gonzo reimagining of the life of Jesus, it’s less sacrilegious and more respectful than you would think a story whose working title was “Kung Fu Jesus” would be, although Jesus does indeed get to use his martial arts skills, learned under the tutelage of the Eastern Masters who taught him to follow the Eightfold Path, to beat up the moneylenders as he casts them from the Temple, defeat some attacking mummies, and so forth.  Although all this would probably have been enough to get Tidhar burnt at the stake during the Middle Ages, he actually treats Jesus with a fair degree of reverence, as a man who really has been touched by the Divine (although what Divine remains open to question) and possesses immense preternatural abilities.  Much of the gonzo humor, and much of the entertainment value, is carried by the Three Wise Men, here reimagined as former kings, wizards, and minor gods impressed into service by a superior supernatural force, and called Sandy, Monkey, and Pigsy; they get many of the best lines.  There’s also a supporting role for the slippery Jewish historian, Josephus Flavius.  Perhaps what this reminds me the most of is the movie Big Trouble in Little China, if the filmmakers had decided to tackle the Gospels as well as Chinese mythology.  Although some of the more pious may be offended, most readers will probably find this hugely entertaining.