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Calculating God Audiobook

Calculating God

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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

4.0 (3178 )
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4.0 (2493 )
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4.3 (2478 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Daniel 07-12-14
    Daniel 07-12-14 Member Since 2010
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Best mix of science and faith I have ever heard"
    Where does Calculating God rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    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.


    What other book might you compare Calculating God to and why?

    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.


    What about Jonathan Davis and Robert J. Sawyer ’s performance did you like?

    Jonathan Davis nailed the attitude of Hollus.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    I did more yardwork because I kept listening to this. I also intend to listen to it again in a few months.


    Any additional comments?

    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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    M0SS Idaho 06-30-14
    M0SS Idaho 06-30-14 Member Since 2014
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Great Narration, Wonderful Story"
    Where does Calculating God rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    Very high. Narration was perfect. The story really made me think about my perspective on God as I shared many of the same thoughts as the protagonist in this story.


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

    This wouldn't make a very good movie.


    Any additional comments?

    One of the most thoughtful books I've ever read/listened to in a while. It has given me a new perspective on God and his nature, and the evolution of this Earth.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    JP 06-24-14
    JP 06-24-14

    Deranged, easily-bored, eclectic, sci-fi nerd.

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    "Humorous, Realistic, Philosophical SciFi"
    Would you listen to Calculating God again? Why?

    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.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Calculating God?

    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.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jonathan 06-10-14
    Jonathan 06-10-14
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    "Nice premise, needs some polishing"

    I was very intrigued by the notion of using science to prove God and of Alien races far more faithful than ourselves but this story fell a little short for me. Much like religion itself, it takes a mighty leap of faith to prove God's existence. That said, I am glad to see a story like this out there and I think it is definitely worth a listen, just not a favorite.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Joseph Schifilliti 05-31-14 Member Since 2013

    joe the shmoe

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "SciFi Theology"
    What made the experience of listening to Calculating God the most enjoyable?

    Imagining the otherness of extraterrestrials along with the similarities


    If you’ve listened to books by Robert J. Sawyer before, how does this one compare?

    No


    Which scene was your favorite?

    The explanation of how our sense of mathematics is related in part to our anatomy. Maybe not so much a great scene but a curious insight


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

    God is real and not what you think


    Any additional comments?

    I applaud the effort. It is hard enough to try to make science fiction seems plausible. Trying to add god into the mix would seem wholly unworkable. I think this is well done in that regard.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Elaine Sumas, WA, United States 05-27-14
    Elaine Sumas, WA, United States 05-27-14 Member Since 2015

    I'm 66. I've read Audiobooks now for 6 years. After an assault, I had minor brain damage and couldn't read. Audible got me back to books

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "An alien reveals god."
    Where does Calculating God rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    This book was so incredible I read it 4 times in the last month! It's the best audiobook I've listened to ever!


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Calculating God?

    At the first page, Calculating God grabs each moment with compelling drive. From the first spoken word to the last, the characters capture your attention and never gives it back.


    Have you listened to any of Jonathan Davis and Robert J. Sawyer ’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    Calculating God is the first book I've listened to by Robert J. Sawyer and Jonathan Davis! It has sent me to find Robert's other books, and to write Jonathan a letter, of thanks for his talent in making the book live.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    Many of the conversations between the alien and the scientist brings them to a close relationship which moved me to care deeply for these characters. I never met an alien with a sense of humor.


    Any additional comments?

    As an author, myself, I admire Robert's daring with character, plot, and intelligence. This book almost convinced me it was real. I found myself arguing the science. Amazing Book.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Rick Kintigh Chicago, IL USA 05-27-14
    Rick Kintigh Chicago, IL USA 05-27-14 Member Since 2013
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    "A unique science fiction perspective."
    Any additional comments?

    Calculating God was a bit of a roller coaster for me intellectually but ultimately I enjoyed it. It is a science fiction story where the conceit is the proof of intelligent design and a creator of the universe. The majority of the book I was annoyed with Robert J. Sawyer because his alien scientists did not submit actual evidence; describing an experiment or finding which revealed the existence of a god. Relying on circumstantial evidence undermined the weight of the alien credibility and lessened the sociological and cosmological impact. I am an unapologetic non-theist but welcomed the conjecture within this framework but was left mostly incredulous. I think it is important to note that late in this book there is potential direct evidence integrated into the narrative which grounds the discussion and salvages the purpose of this book. There is a good amount of solid science incorporated including detailed exobiology which always fun to think about, but ultimately the structure of the book and quality of the dialog and writing kept this from being a favorite. It is however a worthwhile read and a unique specimen in the genre of science fiction.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    funkyman33 Ottawa, Canada 05-24-14
    funkyman33 Ottawa, Canada 05-24-14 Member Since 2016

    funkyman33

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    "Interesting, but sometimes preachy."

    The theme of this book is very unique and interesting - aliens who arrive to Earth believe in God, and try to convince us that God exists (with scientific evidence). I enjoyed the characters in the book (at least the human ones) and how they interacted with the aliens. The ended was particularly strong and really developed the protagonist's character.

    However I found the writing distracting. The author refers extensively to Toronto and Canadian politics, which (as someone who grew up in Toronto) distracted at times and felt unnecessary. In addition, I found the book got preachy at times, and descended into long diatribes about religion and god. This took me out of the story (which is fundamentally fiction, but with a strong argument).

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    CatManda Cathedral City, CA United States 05-22-14
    CatManda Cathedral City, CA United States 05-22-14 Member Since 2016
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    Story
    "WONDERFUL LISTEN"

    This challenged me on all fronts. I have lots of education, but learned something new with every chapter. When I recommended the book to our librarian she automatically thought it was a religious book and I assured her that this is a BOOK TO OPEN UP YOUR MIND.
    I am grateful to Robert Sawyer for his story of so many possibilities to consider and events to reflect on and visions to stimulate the imagination.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kindle Customer Tucson, AZ, United States 05-22-14
    Kindle Customer Tucson, AZ, United States 05-22-14 Member Since 2011

    Its like some is telling me story. Better than TV or Movies.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "I think you will enjoy."
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    Off beat, it's not you typical Scifi. No matter where you stand on the question of God this book is entertaining. And it leaves you thinking, maybe about God or maybe about space travel.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    Finally going into space in the search of what they called God.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    The main characters death. There was no miraculous cure or one on one encounter with God. There was a man coming to terms with mortality, his own his families even the worlds.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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