Robert J. Sawyer is an excellent author and I applaud his attempt to address a religious notion, using science fiction as this vehicle. I enjoyed the foreword where he describes his reasoning and thought the the idea was very unique. That being said, I think this book treads the middle ground and shouldn't infuriate religious or the completely non-religious individual, but also doesn't inspire either side with any real profundity. It was a good listen, but often times got mottled down with the simplistic conversation of the main character and his alien counterpart. The ending provided a well needed change of pace that made the book a nice pick, but far from outstanding. Worth 1 credit but don't expect to be overly wowed!
I can’t figure out why so many like this book. I found it emotionally manipulative, preachy, and tedious. I only finished it because I was on a long trip and had nothing better to do …. And boy was I glad when it finished! The story wasn’t a story any more than Ayn Rand wrote “stories” to soapbox her various opinions (though I actually liked her books). The arguments for god were tired and specious, the human characters were stereotypical and the entire notion that aliens could show up and not be more of a social phenomena is silly.
I mostly liked the www. series that Mr. Sawyer did except for the weak finish and again, preachiness disguised as part of an actual story … so thought I’d try this one. What a mistake.
good story and interesting however mostly a story about a fight within ones consciousness. The only hard part to deal with is space travel without gene manipulation.
Didn't read the print version. Only listened to the audiobook.
Hearing the alien logic for the existence of God as explained by the alien. Given the events that take place in the book's universe, it is all very well laid out and logical. Flips the normal sci-fi trope of the atheist scientist convincing the religious person of the non-existence of God on it's head. Very entertaining.
Possibly the alien coming over to dinner. Learning the logistics of it all was entertaining.
For the first 1/2 to 2/3 of the book I could not stop listening. Then it sort of loses its magic towards the end.
The terrorism sub plot does not fit with the rest of the book. It's just a distraction and has no real relevance to the overall plot.
Robert J. Sawyer isn’t one of those authors who is intimidatingly good at writing prose. In fact, he’s one of those authors that I could see myself someday becoming. His strength is in the really great premise and compelling dialog. Calculating God has some of the most interesting dialog I’ve read since The Screwtape Letters by C. S. Lewis. The premise is even more compelling; a deistic alien comes down to earth to compare notes with an atheist paleontologist to compare notes on extinction events and end up in a great debate on intelligent design. This is a book for those that love good dialog and interesting debates. It will likely challenge you regardless of what side of the debate you are on.
From the moment that Hollus the alien landed in the plaza of the Royal Ontario Museum and strolled in to see a paleontologist, I was hooked. The book had a little of everything, humor, pathos and as with all of Sawyer's books, a lot of science but never dull. I've read most of his books, and this one is right up there with his trilogies. A really fun read.
This book definitely rivals 2001 by A.C. Clark, with a great story line and a bit science intermingled with the story ...
Hollis - "This side up" .. Ha.
The description of the supernova.
Love books and love to put in my two cents' worth
Maybe my expectations were unrealistic - I was looking forward to reading this book, but it's a redundant academic tome that gave me nothing.
This might be the second most important book one will ever hear. It isn't the best story - it is a great story, but not "the best ever"; it's value is in making important points about the scarcity of life. I was immediately captivated by it and went out and bought the hardcopy to give to my kids.
This would be like updating, then blending, Douglas Adam's Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy with C.S. Lewis's Out of the Silent Planet. Sawyer uses very lighthearted tones to illustrate deep ideas.
Jonathan Davis nailed the attitude of Hollus.
I did more yardwork because I kept listening to this. I also intend to listen to it again in a few months.
There were some laugh-out-loud scenes early in this book. That is all I can say about them. My physicist and computer-engineering friends will probably love it, too.
Maybe. The charm of this book is in its humorous twists that would not have the same effect a second time around, so once is enough.
Our introduction to the alien as he saunters into the museum and asks to see an expert was absolutely delightful and totally believable. This moment set the tone so that I was laughing and chortling through the whole book.