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Bible Stories for Adults Paperback – February 28, 1996

3.3 out of 5 stars 11 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Morrow's Towing Jehovah (1994), which has just won the 1995 World Fantasy Award for best novel, wickedly satirizes orthodox religion by recounting the journey of an oil tanker towing God's immense, decaying corpse to its final resting place at the North Pole. The stories in Morrow's new collection run in a similar vein, deliciously skewering not only Judeo-Christian mythology but other sacred cows of modern society, from capitalism to New Age spiritualism. In the Nebula-winning "Bible Stories for Adults, No. 17: The Deluge," Morrow presents a prostitute who is rescued by the ark's crew from a flood but who shouldn't have survived, for she inevitably helps revive the evils God meant to destroy. "The Confessions of Ebenezer Scrooge" delightfully exposes the flaws of corporate charity when Marley's ghost returns with another round of rebukes for a disconcerted Scrooge. In Bible stories numbers 20 ("The Tower" ) and 31 ("The Covenant" ), respectively, Morrow gives us God's own amendment, in His own words, to the Tower of Babel story and describes a computer's reconstruction of Moses' tablets. Morrow's brand of mordant wit invites comparison with such master satirists as Vonnegut and even Swift, and he deserves to share an audience with them that sprawls beyond the bounds of genre fandom. Not to be missed. Carl Hays --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Kirkus Reviews

Twelve tales, 198494, drawn from various publications, by the author of Towing Jehovah (1994), etc. The main thrust here isn't always biblical, though satire looms large--along with dollops of ironic, iconoclastic, or subversive wit. The dazzlingly effective best of a decidedly superior bunch: A murderously mutinous WW I American infantry private ends up in the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier with a permanent honor guard; reversing his Babel decision, God gives everyone the power of perfect comprehension--with equally devastating results; a robot civilization adheres to the Darwinian principle of natural selection, despite the manifest impossibility of its applying to them; and the sad story of Gunther Black, a man with multiple personalities so numerous that they form nations--and conduct war! In other notable what-ifs, Moses never receives a replacement set of law tablets; Lincoln considers signing an armistice; Helen decides to put an end to the Trojan War; Ebenezer Scrooge lives out his days as an unregenerate capitalist rascal; and Job realizes he's been duped and demands a rematch. Elsewhere, a dead woman's donated organs yearn to reunite; Noah ponders the possibility of other survivors; and, finally, in a rather silly fable, a farmer's wife gives birth to planet Earth. A splendidly provocative series of engagements for supple and enquiring minds; mandatory for fanatics of any stripe. -- Copyright ©1996, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 243 pages
  • Publisher: Mariner Books (February 28, 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0156002442
  • ISBN-13: 978-0156002448
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.6 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.1 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,626,528 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Born in 1947, James Morrow has been writing fiction ever since, as a seven-year-old living in the Philadelphia suburbs, he dictated "The Story of the Dog Family" to his mother, who dutifully typed it up and bound the pages with yarn. This three-page, six-chapter fantasy is still in the author's private archives. Upon reaching adulthood, Morrow produced nine novels of speculative fiction, including the critically acclaimed Godhead Trilogy. He has won the World Fantasy Award (for Only Begotten Daughter and Towing Jehovah), the Nebula Award (for "Bible Stories for Adults, No. 17: The Deluge" and the novella City of Truth), and the Theodore Sturgeon Memorial Award (for the novella Shambling Towards Hiroshima). A full-time fiction writer, Morrow makes his home in State College, Pennsylvania, with his wife, his son, an enigmatic sheepdog, and a loopy beagle.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
James Morrow's ideas are sometimes preposterous, sometimes pretentious, but always wildly inventive, and Bible Stories for Adults is no exception. While a couple of the included stories might cause the reader to roll his or her eyes in the presumptuousness of the author, or the wild implausibility of the ideas involved, it's a good bet the story will still get read -- if only because it's wonderfully entertaining.
My personal favorite from this collection was "The Tower," in which God, fed up with human vanity, makes a personal appearance on Earth and creates a tower of Babel in reverse -- a world in which every human being understands one another implicitly, and no secret is left unrevealed. The impact to humanity is cataclysmic, and the resulting story is both humorous and unsettling.
Bible Stories for Adults also makes a great introduction to the reader starting out with James Morrow, as it is lighter in tone and easier to digest than his (equally excellent) novel-length works.
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Format: Paperback
"Bible Stories for Adults, No. 17: The Deluge"--Not for the squeamish, this retelling of the Flood touches on some of Morrow's recurring themes. Why is it murder when humans kill, but not when God kills? What is the value of life? How should we live our lives? I did not find this as disgusting as when I first read it, but I'm also 10 years older.
"Daughter Earth"--I've written about this story before, and it was a pleasure to reread it. It is one of my favorites--a strange metaphorical tale that has character, humor, and a biosphere. This is the kind of story I want to write when I grow up.
"Known But to God and Wilbur Hines"--Well researched tale of World War I and how war is hell. It is okay, but we have seen the sentiment elsewhere, and, while the details are sharp and fresh, the actual plot and manner are a tad warmed over.
"Bible Stories for Adults, No. 20: The Tower"--I like this one a lot better than "The Deluge," possibly because of the great humor inherent in a story narrated by God himself. Morrow has a real gift for merging humor into his satire, and this is a prime example. The story itself, with its criticism of Donald Trump and the hubris of the well-off, and its method of turning the tables on the idea of Babel, is just marvelous.
"Spelling God with the Wrong Blocks"--This is a fabulous story. I finished this and, as with "Daughter Earth," thought, "This is the kind of thing that I try to write. A story that transposes one set of beliefs into the reference frame of another set of beliefs to put serious question marks into both absolutes.
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Format: Paperback
I must say first that the delicious jibes at all things judeo-christian were more enjoyable knowing that the hometown Christian Women's Collective was probably frothing over perceived insults. For the more open-minded types, Morrow could very well serve as a call to rally against blind acceptance and inexplicable faith. But that would be inconsistent with the spirit of the short stories contained in "Bible Stories for Adults". An entirely honest title: bump the PG up to PG-13 for adult themes. The nature of consciousness, of environmental balances, of individuality and humanity. There's nothing petty, pointless or too detail-oriented about the institution of slavery in American society. Realize that it is behind us now, but in historical terms, not by too damn long a time.
Morrow guts Western culture and preconceptions with gusto. But the real genius lies in the way he tempers his writing with humor, a great deal of it. The stories are nothing if not funny: the androids who are waiting for the Great Genital Coming, in which they will finally be differentiated into sexes; the other side of the Troy legend as related by a clever and aging Helen; Job's dung-heap, complete with a Zenith TV to pass the time.
I enjoyed all the stories, some more than others. There was a slight degree of inaccessibility to some of the stories which relied heavily on Biblical scriptures. If you do not know your Bible stories well, you may not get all the jokes. On the other hand, if you know the scriptures well enough to get all the jokes, you probably won't find them funny. Well worth a few bucks, especially since I believe that Morrow will be unable to resist satirizing money in his next collection.
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Format: Paperback
After reading this book, I place James Morrow in the same spot I hold for Joe Haldeman: favorite short-story writer. Simply put, the stories contained in this book are EXCELLENT! Morrow has a true economy of writing - he says so much with very few words, and his subject matter is very well chosen, most of the time taking a fresh look at historical events or Biblical stories.
I guess the majority of the stories vaguely qualify as science fiction, but each one has a profound message under its slight sci-fi trappings. Two definite stand-outs are "The Deluge", showing how evil remained in the world after the great flood (and making some nasty implications for the lineage of the human race), and "Arms and the Woman", a hilarious yet totally relevant retelling of the Trojan War from Helen's perspective. These two stories alone are worth the price of the book, but there's many more gems included. I'm still confused about the story concerning Job, but that's a minor detail; the others more than make up for it.
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