BONUS AUDIO: Author Robert J. Sawyer explains how the creationism vs. evolution debate informed the writing of Calculating God.
©2000 by Robert J. Sawyer; (P)2008 Audible, Inc.
"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)
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.
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.
This wouldn't make a very good movie.
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.
Deranged, easily-bored, eclectic, sci-fi nerd.
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.
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.
joe the shmoe
Imagining the otherness of extraterrestrials along with the similarities
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
God is real and not what you think
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.
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
This book was so incredible I read it 4 times in the last month! It's the best audiobook I've listened to ever!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
Its like some is telling me story. Better than TV or Movies.
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.
Finally going into space in the search of what they called God.
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.
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