It is the most expensive machine ever created by humankind, run by the world's most powerful supercomputer. It is the brainchild of Nobel Laureate William North Hazelius.
Will the Torus divulge the mysteries of the creation of the universe? Or will it, as some predict, suck the earth into a mini black hole? Or is the Torus a Satanic attempt, as a powerful televangelist decries, to challenge God Almighty on the very throne of heaven?
Twelve scientists under the leadership of a famed Nobel Laureate are sent to the remote mountain to turn it on. And what they discover must be hidden from the world at all costs. Wyman Ford, ex-monk and CIA operative, is tapped to wrest from the team their secret, a secret that will either destroy the world - or save it.
The countdown begins.
©2007 Splendide Mendax, Inc. (P)2008 Macmillan Audio
Old soldier. Gentleman farmer. Ex-northerner, I hate snow. Ubuntu user. Democrat, but only because the other party is marginally worse.
I'm not a fan of most of Preston's novels, Tyrannosaurus Rex being a notable exception. But I had a great time with this book. It is both a ripping good yarn and a thoughtful exploration of the old science-versus-religion debate.
Preston's long list of compelling caricatures and characters includes televangelist preachers, former Green Berets-turned-jesus-freaks, aloof brilliant scientists, sleazy inside-the-beltway politicians, an oddly prescient Russian computer nerd, an itinerant mad pastor, a Navajo shaman, steely-eyed FBI agents, a Jack Abramoff clone, an emotionally shattered ex-CIA agent, and talking computer connected to an artificial singularity. Hell, even L. Ron Hubbard makes an appearance. With a cast like that, how can you go wrong?
And at the center of it all, Preston poses questions: Was religion an evolutionary necessity? Can we reach adulthood as a species without leaving revealed religion behind? Are the paths of religion and science converging? Is science not really religion in the end?
I never write reviews but I have to say this is the best thing I've listened to in five years on audible. The reader is amazing, the story engrossing. I laughed and couldn't stop listening. I was sorry when it was over.
Don't you just love a great story well told?
Note: That my title is NOT science v. GOD. If you thrill to physics mysteries: dark matter, string theory, subatomic particles, 'the big bang', quantum mechanics & all huge mysteries on beyond human understanding (like God.)You'll LOVE this book. If a devout (fill in blank) religion, you may hate it. Well enough narrated, excellently edited I couldn't put this one down. WHAT was happening??? The clever interweaving of Navajo creation myths (which on a quick computer search do jibe with the story) an unpredictable plot. And as a previous reviewer said.. "It's only a book" (a FICTIONAL book, I'd add ..so lighten up.) True faith shouldn't be threatened a by mere thriller. Again fifth stars reserved for "required reading." If I could give it 4 1/2 stars I would because it's darn close. Finally the author is expert at relating key physics ideas (a big Stephen Hawking theory) in layman's terms without insulting us. No small feat! That passage alone was worth the credit.
I enjoy the pace and passion of this book. I agree with a few other reviewers that the characters are exaggerated for effect and could have been less stereotypical. However; this is entertainment, not a social commentary on the human condition. I have to give it a 5 as well to offset those who don't seem to get that. The over the top portrayal of the evangelist and real fears that the future is not covered in their "book" must hit to close to the bone for christo fascists. I can't believe someone actually thinks that scientist "try to disprove the bible". I think you have a twisted sense of your beliefs and absolutely no idea about real science. I bet these are the same people who think there is actually a debate with science and so called "intelligent design" and don't recognize that 0.01% of the fringe are being given 50% of the coverage by a sensationalist media. I am a scientist. Scientific method has everything to do with the physical world around us and nothing to do with the spiritual one. They are not mutually exclusive. Get over it and enjoy a good story.
Your basic thriler / sci-fi story - nothing special but nevertheless enjoyable. Type of thing you would see as a made-for-TV movie on, say, the SciFi channel. Of course it has the mandatory final big confrontation with lots of explosions, death and destruction.
I usually enjoy books by Douglas Preston, but did not like this one at all. The story seemed very contrived and I wasn't convinced by any of the characters. On top of that, the narrator was down right annoying. His nasal voice was distracting throughout the reading. I hope Mr. Preston does better next time.
This was a good and entertaining story. There were times when I thought I had accidentally bought one of the “Left Behind” ‘Christian’ apocalypse novels, and I was never sure what the author was “getting at” until I finished the book. In fact the “Left Behind” books were mentioned in an aside at one point. I figured out the final plot twist well in advance, but that didn’t hurt the story for me. ‘Blasphemy’ was an OK book in my opinion, but not particularly outstanding. I did enjoy it and the narrator was entertaining and creative as well.
I gave this five stars just to offset the hypersensitive types who over-reacted to the message about uninformed zealots. It also takes on megachurches and some of their less well-behaved and thoughtful preachers,members and hangers-on.
This book is actually quite pro-religion; it's got a problem with mindless fundamentalism of all stripes. And sorry, it's no "homage to L. Ron Hubbard."
There are many intriguing ideas in the book, and that makes it well worth the time. I urge you to seriously consider it.
Here are some of the problems...
As for the story: yep, too many stereotypes. This could have been a better book given more time, care and editing. The writing is fine, but too many plots twists are telegraphed("Hey, I just noticed this cliff...").
It took me an hour to get past the sub-par narration. There's at least one jarring mispronunciation ("mantilla" like "ill" rather than "tree") and some of the voice characterizations might have been done differently. They served to emphasize the stereotypical nature of the characters rather than deflect that feeling.
Until I read the reviews, I was not completely sold on purchasing this book. After seeing the emotion evoked from as another reviewer described as "hypersensitive types" I couldn't help myself and had to find out. I found the story fast paced and highly entertaining. It had me chuckling and shaking my head at the absurdity of human nature that drives us humans into obsessive actions. So all I can say is if you take your religion seriously, then don't get your panties in a knot - it's just a story!!! - and an entertaining one at that!
I found this book enjoyable and outright funny at times. The author does rely on some character stereotypes in the story, but remember the reason most stereotypes exist is because there is a bit of truth in them. I found the locations and characters particularly interesting in this book because I live and work 10 minutes from Pat Robertson's compound and my best friend taught English on the Navajo reservation in Ganado, AZ for 3 years.
A quick note: If you are the type that accepts a fundamental or literal interpretation of the lore and writings of any religion you won't enjoy this book, so don't bother with it. I've never been able to understand why "born again" types would fiddle with science fiction anyway- there's a lot of cookie-cutter fantasy out there tailored to that point of view that won't upset you with facts, logic, or reality.
Also important to mention that anyone calling this writer's point of view godless or atheist is dead wrong. I've always thought, for instance, that the mechanics of evolution were perhaps the best evidence in all of my scientific training that there might be a higher power involved in the running of the universe. If you understand that statement and why I find those that fight science on religious grounds to be so humor-inspiring, then you probably have the right mindset to enjoy this book.
Oh, and don't forget- Satan put fossils in the rocks to confuse us and test our faith. What fun!
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