We are currently making improvements to the Audible site. In an effort to enhance the accessibility experience for our customers, we have created a page to more easily navigate the new experience, available at the web address www.audible.com/access.
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.
Regular Price:$24.95
  • Membership Details:
    • First book free with 30-day trial
    • $14.95/month thereafter for your choice of 1 new book each month
    • Cancel easily anytime
    • Exchange books you don't like
    • All selected books are yours to keep, even if you cancel
  • - or -

Your Likes make Audible better!

'Likes' are shared on Facebook and Audible.com. We use your 'likes' to improve Audible.com for all our listeners.

You can turn off Audible.com sharing from your Account Details page.

OK

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 (2218 )
5 star
 (744)
4 star
 (838)
3 star
 (408)
2 star
 (149)
1 star
 (79)
Overall
3.9 (1605 )
5 star
 (588)
4 star
 (563)
3 star
 (291)
2 star
 (110)
1 star
 (53)
Story
4.2 (1590 )
5 star
 (698)
4 star
 (634)
3 star
 (204)
2 star
 (32)
1 star
 (22)
Performance
Sort by:
  •  
    Donna Templeton Chatham, NJ USA 01-06-15
    Donna Templeton Chatham, NJ USA 01-06-15 Member Since 2013
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    4
    1
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Fascinating twist for a scifi story"

    Excellent presentation. The storyline was well thought out and is an interesting departure from the usual ET encounter. I would recommend it.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Gidgie72 01-05-15
    Gidgie72 01-05-15 Member Since 2015
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    8
    1
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Interesting concepts"

    A well written and well thought through conversation about an interesting topic. worth a listen.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    WoofManTom 01-05-15
    WoofManTom 01-05-15 Member Since 2011
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    3
    2
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "A great read!"

    The combination of Sawyer's skill with this most excellent reader's voice(s) made for a heady and compelling read. Truly gripping!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer Phoenix, AZ USA 12-22-14
    Amazon Customer Phoenix, AZ USA 12-22-14 Member Since 2012

    bing281

    HELPFUL VOTES
    7
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    67
    15
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    2
    1
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "interesting and emotional"

    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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Eric 11-05-14
    Eric 11-05-14 Member Since 2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
    9
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    19
    10
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Interesting twist on science and religion"
    Would you consider the audio edition of Calculating God to be better than the print version?

    Didn't read the print version. Only listened to the audiobook.


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

    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.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    Possibly the alien coming over to dinner. Learning the logistics of it all was entertaining.


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

    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.


    Any additional comments?

    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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    N. L. Flowers Orange County, CA 11-03-14
    N. L. Flowers Orange County, CA 11-03-14 Member Since 2014

    N2Arkitektur

    ratings
    REVIEWS
    10
    2
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Compelling Premise"

    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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    TJDenver 08-26-14
    TJDenver 08-26-14 Member Since 2004
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    15
    7
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "One fo my favorite books by a favorite author"

    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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    J. S. Head Toronto, Canada 07-23-14
    J. S. Head Toronto, Canada 07-23-14 Member Since 2014

    jscott

    ratings
    REVIEWS
    26
    1
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "No doubt it was an award winner!"
    What did you love best about Calculating God?

    This book definitely rivals 2001 by A.C. Clark, with a great story line and a bit science intermingled with the story ...


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Hollis - "This side up" .. Ha.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    The description of the supernova.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Cheryl 07-15-14
    Cheryl 07-15-14

    Love books and love to put in my two cents' worth

    HELPFUL VOTES
    8
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    20
    14
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "OH GOD this is so disappointing"

    Maybe my expectations were unrealistic - I was looking forward to reading this book, but it's a redundant academic tome that gave me nothing.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Daniel 07-12-14
    Daniel 07-12-14 Member Since 2010
    HELPFUL VOTES
    12
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    34
    7
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "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
  • Showing: 61-70 of 147 results PREVIOUS167815NEXT
Sort by:
  • Miriam
    Seaford, East Sussex, United Kingdom
    12/1/09
    Overall
    "A Thoroughly Good 'Read'"

    I really enjoyed this book from start to finish. I found it to be well constructed, thought provoking, well paced with many unfolding layers and contexts. The story begins simply enough with an alien landing on earth to talk to a palaeontologist. The focus of the collaboration between alien and human is initially about whether or not God exists and the creation of the Universe. The early part of the story recounts the debates that develop between the two parties, each maintaining an opposite point of view. As the story unfolds however, the focus subtly and gradually shifts from this a discussion, to an exploration of the relationships between the characters in the book. We learn about the palaeontologist, his world and family, and about the alien's world and family. We witness the bond of friendship growing between both individuals. The story continues to expand, and weaves in as a part of the plot, some of the current forces which are occurring in our society. The development of the plot in this way adds a real thriller element to the story, as well as maintaining the interest and pace of the book.
    Overall the book explores some fascinating hypotheses about life and it's existence, the rise and fall of species and civilisations, the structure and nature of civilisations depending on what their thought structure is based upon, life and death of an individual at a personal and an inter-relational context. It also throws in some fascination facts about the Universe in which we exist.
    A most thought provoking, interesting and engaging "read". In essence it is a real 'human story' with an unexpected twist at the end. I still find myself thinking about some of the ideas, concepts and hypotheses presented in the story.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Martin
    Inerness, United Kingdom
    9/3/08
    Overall
    "a good, or is that god, thought experiment"

    I really found the idea of this book interesting at first so decided to give it a go. If you have ever thought much about evolution and creationism I think you will find it entertaining. There was almost a retro feel to the aliens in this book, not sure why, but they just seemed like that? But for the price it was certainly worthwhile and really quite enjoyable. I will be getting a few more of these titles.

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • podge
    1/6/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Enjoyable read, but..."
    Any additional comments?

    Skip the first 2' 45'' or so. The authors introduction, in my opinion, takes away from the story.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Wendy
    otley, west yorksls21 2bp, United Kingdom
    4/7/13
    Overall
    "enjoyable, informative and makes you question"

    I bought this after having listened to other books by this author.

    If you try to explain the story to anyone they will think you are mad for listening to it and that it must be a boring book, but the story line is not only entertaining but also informative. Sawyer is very clever in the way he weaves true science into his stories and I find myself wanting to know and understand more about the science. At times I go back to listen to to certain areas again and I think I would now like to actually read the book.

    I am writing this review before I have finished listening to the book, but I cannot recommend it highly enough. I am enjoying the story, the science and the questions it makes me ask myself. It is based on creationism but Sawyer makes you question eveything and deosn't preach. I am enjoying the book so much that I bought the actual book for a friend who is a staunch catholic because I wanted her ideas to be questioned.

    All I would say is listen with an open mind and try to follow the science rather than being put off. It is deffinately a book I will listen to many times and that is very unsual for me.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Steve
    Preston, Lancs, United Kingdom
    12/2/09
    Overall
    "I don't regret listening to it, but..."

    The story is well written, and well read, and some of the details of alien biology / behaviour I thought were brilliant. I commend the author for writing this book, I am glad it exists, and would recommend it!

    BUT, and for me this is a **massive** but, the main human character - the paleontologist - is rubbish at his job! He is likeable and quite a decent person, decently enough written etc, but he seems to not actually know much about evolution! I feel he is quite poorly researched, granted the book was written in 2000 and I am inclined to give the author the benefit of the doubt that the information we have at our disposal these days was not available to a lay audience back then... though I suspect I am just trying too hard to defend him, because I did like quite a bit about the book.

    I think anyone armed with a copy of Dawkins' books, The Greatest Show on Earth, and God Delusion, would blow the vast majority of the arguments out of the water (see spoilers below for more detail) AND be left with a better knowledge of evolution than the protagonist!

    And the early misuse of the Occam's Razor made me cringe!

    Overall a good book, just seriously hindered by the author's research, or lack thereof

    ---------
    Potential spoilers below - but important clarifications
    ---------
    I said that Dawkins' books would blow the "majority" of the arguments out of the water, because some, indeed the only good ones are based on alien knowledge, ie the author's imagination.

    Also the Paleontologist seems to have an intellectual crisis over whether or not evolution is true, even though what the alien tells him is compatible with evolution by natural selection! The 'god' the alien has 'proof' of is not one I recognise from any bible passage I have read ;)

    I also suspect that the research regarding certain astronomical events is also lacking, but I know less about that area.

    1 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • Showing: 1-5 of 5 results

    There are no listener reviews for this title yet.

Report Inappropriate Content

If you find this review inappropriate and think it should be removed from our site, let us know. This report will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.

Cancel

Thank You

Your report has been received. It will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.