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)
Say something about yourself!
Definitely not what you would expect from the title. Good read for sure. Different perspective gives light.
I'll admit I had picked up this book without realizing it was a novel at all. It was definitely not what I was expecting, but the performance was very engaging so I gave it a chance and listened to it on a long road trip. I'm very glad I did.
This is a fun story with enjoyable characters, an easy and pleasurable listen, and an excellent performance by Jonathan Davis. I wish all my accidental discoveries were this pleasant.
I was looking forward to a good discussion about science vs god. but the alien character starts presenting mythical information (at least at this point to humanity.... ie. the grand unified theory of everything) to support his argument that god exists, thereby rendering the argument itself mythical and unreal. Didn't even bother to finish it.
Good book for a science nerd like myself. I enjoyed the story, aliens arrive in Canada to study earth evolution. I recommend to atheists, believers of any faith (and interested in science) and agnostics. Also of course because it's a good and unusual sci-fi book.
Very compelling story. I cannot judge the sciece, but the author is very convincing. I have faith it is true.
I enjoy spy, military, psychological, technical and fiction based in reality and science. I really value intimate, thorough writing.
Didnt partake in the print. The narrator added alot of personality to the main character. I really appreciated his spin on the character.
I havent read anything like it lately.
No i have not.
Just the amazement and wonder i had learning and mentally debating with points in the book.
Amazing book. I really enjoyed the mystery/problem in the book. I also really enjoyed analyzing God from a scientific standpoint. I highly recommend this if you are agnostic or atheist because it makes the book more relatable and more meaningful to follow. Some parts of the narrative were a little mushy and dramatic for me BUT i understood why they were there. Just for me personally i wanted more science and debate. Very thought provoking and interesting stuff.
Really interesting book. The story was very unusual and made you think. Must read for those who like great story lines
Lover of sci-fi, fantasy, horror, mystery, and westerns in all media, including old-time radio dramatizations.
This story seems to generate a lot of controversy, due to the topic. That's to be expected. Those who have strong views on the theist-atheist and creation-evolution issues might want to avoid this one.
Contrary to what I have read in some reviews, the author makes no attempt to answer these questions, or even to sway the audience in one direction or the other. This is fiction, and darned good fiction at that! He explores the questions from an unexpected angle. No spoiler here. Read the publisher's description. In this story, an advanced alien believes in the scientifically undeniable existence of a Creator, while an earth scientist denies it. The book explores the type of discussions that they might have set against the background of the first alien visit to Earth. Sawyers uses blatantly fictional "scientific evidence" along with arguments that you might actually hear a scientific creationist use to support the theist alien's position. That seems to upset some reviewers, but again, it's fiction.
All of the controversy aside, I really enjoyed this book. If you can take it for what it is intended to be, it's well worth a listen/read. I will definitely check out more Robert Sawyer. Also, Jonathan Davis did a very competent job on the narration. I only give five stars for wow-level work, hence the four stars for both story and reading. Well done, guys.
I couldn't finish listening to this. It was just to frustrating. I kept wanting to explain the poor logic. I would expect a book that presents itself as an exploration into a deep subject that has been debated for centuries to at least do the background work and present the best arguments on both sides. This book doesn't even come close.
"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.
"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.
"Enjoyable read, but..."
Skip the first 2' 45'' or so. The authors introduction, in my opinion, takes away from the story.
"Starts at a Gallop. Ends in a Canter"
Great start. Wastes no time getting stuck in. The premise is intriguing. The main alien is a hoot. Ultimately just fizzles out but takes a long time doing it.
"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.
"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.
Report Inappropriate Content