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Calculating God | [Robert J. Sawyer]

Calculating God

In this Hugo-nominated novel, an alien walks into a museum and asks if he can see a paleontologist. But the arachnid ET hasn't come aboard a rowboat with the Pope and Stephen Hawking (although His Holiness does request an audience later). Landing at the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto, the spacefarer, Hollus, asks to compare notes on mass extinctions with resident dino-scientist Thomas Jericho.
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Publisher's Summary

In this Hugo-nominated novel, an alien walks into a museum and asks if he can see a paleontologist. But the arachnid ET hasn't come aboard a rowboat with the Pope and Stephen Hawking (although His Holiness does request an audience later). Landing at the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto, the spacefarer, Hollus, asks to compare notes on mass extinctions with resident dino-scientist Thomas Jericho. A shocked Jericho finds that not only does life exist on other planets, but that every civilization in the galaxy has experienced extinction events at precisely the same time. Armed with that disconcerting information (and a little help from a grand unifying theory), the alien informs Jericho, almost dismissively, that the primary goal of modern science is to discover why God has behaved as he has and to determine his methods.

BONUS AUDIO: Author Robert J. Sawyer explains how the creationism vs. evolution debate informed the writing of Calculating God.

  • 2009 Audie Award Winner, Science Fiction/Fantasy

  • ©2000 by Robert J. Sawyer; (P)2008 Audible, Inc.

What the Critics Say

"Is Sawyer Canada's answer to Michael Crichton? Very possibly yes." (Montreal Gazette)
"Jonathan Davis...is one of our very best narrators and this is a fine performance. I was rapt the entire time, and even near tears at one moment in the book." (sffaudio.com; named an SFFaudio Essential)
"Jonathan Davis portrays a thoughtful and quietly introspective Jericho....As the conversation with Hollus continues, Davis keeps a steady pace and reflects the intellectual engagement of both characters. He presents the alien's speech as lightly studied, a fitting style for a non-English speaker who coordinates his speech between two mouths." (AudioFile)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.9 (1891 )
5 star
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3 star
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Overall
4.0 (1303 )
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Story
4.2 (1290 )
5 star
 (577)
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 (502)
3 star
 (164)
2 star
 (28)
1 star
 (19)
Performance
Sort by:
  •  
    Robert Castro Valley, CA, United States 05-17-10
    Robert Castro Valley, CA, United States 05-17-10 Member Since 2000
    HELPFUL VOTES
    98
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    "A Good Story Spoilt in the Telllng"

    This book has a strong story at its core but I feel that it is weakened considerably by the preaching manner in which it is written. This tone seemes to have been picked up and amplified furher by the narrator. An interesting read but not an enjoyable one.

    4 of 12 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Gary Putinsky Pontiac, Michigan 03-26-10
    Gary Putinsky Pontiac, Michigan 03-26-10 Member Since 2005

    Questioner

    HELPFUL VOTES
    21
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    "Interesting"

    The adding of violence by radical christians detracted from the plot

    5 of 15 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Donna HollolaFinland 03-23-09
    Donna HollolaFinland 03-23-09
    HELPFUL VOTES
    9
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    3
    1
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    "Great!"

    I laughed, I cried, I thought!

    9 of 27 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Think about this IL, United States 04-22-14
    Think about this IL, United States 04-22-14 Member Since 2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Didn't keep my attention"

    Sounded to be an interesting book, with an argument between beliefs of God vs. science. I listened for several hours and it just couldn't hold my interest, so I gave up.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Lauren 04-20-14
    Lauren 04-20-14 Member Since 2014
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    3
    1
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Thinly Disguised Ploy for Chritianity"
    This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?

    Christians


    How did the narrator detract from the book?

    His voice acting often overlapped between characters and was confusing at times.


    You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

    It was mediocre.


    Any additional comments?

    I was so disappointed that I didn't finish listening. It may have gotten better after the first 1/3 to 1/2

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Keith Huntsville, AL, United States 04-17-14
    Keith Huntsville, AL, United States 04-17-14 Member Since 2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
    12
    ratings
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    143
    7
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    Story
    "Why the Siege Mentality?"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    Yes. It asks many of the important questions of our age, including why scientists (I'm one myself) have developed a siege mentality when it comes to discussing the possibility that the universe was designed by an intelligence 13 billion years ago. The answer, of course, is that the ongoing war on science by the rightwing has created an "us versus them" mentality in both groups, which makes this a fairly important novel: It asks questions that neither the science community nor the religious community are willing to publically address.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Tom Jericho, because of his struggle with cancer. I have to admit, this part of his character was unbelievably frightening to me. Who isn't scared of the notion of finding out you have a terminal disease with nine months to live?


    Which character – as performed by Jonathan Davis and Robert J. Sawyer – was your favorite?

    Probably Jericho, as well. The narration of the rednecks was particularly poor, however.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    The way Sawyer wrote about the protagonist's cancer really was frightening to me. I guess that kind of thing is subjective for each reader, but it really did *get to me.* Otherwise, no, I did not have an extreme reaction. The book, via its characters, asks lots of questions, some deep, some shallow, all important.


    Any additional comments?

    It is a true shame that the Hugo Award was denied to this novel. It is Sawyer's masterpiece. I believe it lost to one of Rowling's Harry Potter novels. I have no issue with her work, but it isn't nearly the quality of this novel.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Victoria Rio Rancho, NM, United States 12-15-13
    Victoria Rio Rancho, NM, United States 12-15-13 Member Since 2004
    HELPFUL VOTES
    7
    ratings
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    240
    11
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    0
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    "DULL"
    Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

    No. Found the story boring


    What could Robert J. Sawyer have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

    I had a hard time with imagining a big insect alien story line.


    What does Jonathan Davis and Robert J. Sawyer bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    The narrators voices were pleasant to listen to.


    Did Calculating God inspire you to do anything?

    No.


    Any additional comments?

    I couldn't get through the first hour of this book. It didn't grab me.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Adam Silver Toronto ON 04-17-12
    Adam Silver Toronto ON 04-17-12 Member Since 2009
    HELPFUL VOTES
    4
    ratings
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    55
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    "Thought provoking and engaging"

    A great story filled with interesting ideas and fascinating characters. The author does a brilliant job at bringing the City of Toronto to life, but the narrator does miss some of the local flavour (his french-canadian accent is cringe-worthy). That minor nit aside, as it would only bother a local, definitely worth a listen.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    William Derry, United Kingdom 10-23-11
    William Derry, United Kingdom 10-23-11
    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
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    1
    1
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    "Just ok"

    I liked listening to this for a while, but then felt it to be more a space for the author to promote his own religious and moral ideologies. I didn't enjoy it after some time. After some time I also found the storyline a little uncreative.

    1 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Bruce Houston, Tx. USA 07-21-09
    Bruce Houston, Tx. USA 07-21-09 Member Since 2008
    HELPFUL VOTES
    11
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    226
    4
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    "Audible Mistake?"

    Although I did enjoy this story, I was led to believe it was 12 hours long. For some reason the story is sent in 2 versions making it 12 hrs total for both versions. Had I realized this I would not have bought it. I doubt this was intentional but I feel cheated.

    4 of 13 people found this review helpful
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