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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 (3360 )
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  •  
    N. L. Flowers Orange County, CA 11-03-14
    N. L. Flowers Orange County, CA 11-03-14 Member Since 2014
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    "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
  •  
    Jim Hussey Portland, OR 09-28-14
    Jim Hussey Portland, OR 09-28-14 Member Since 2017
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    "Thought provoking"
    Where does Calculating God rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    High up. Bringing up lots of questions and possible answers.


    What did you like best about this story?

    The premise of an intelligence influencing the universe and finding the evidence for that theory. That and the alien's that aren't so different from us. I liked aliens that are not stereotypically attacking us or unable to communicate with.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    Meeting the spider-like alien at the museum. The protagonist, the professor, was delightful. And how he dealt with his boss, and avoided the politics.


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

    The realization of the pattern of destruction and recreation. That moment of realizing that there appeared to be scientific evidence of intelligence running the universe.


    Any additional comments?

    There was no religious or faith based agenda. Just the premise that, at some time, we might discover an intelligence at work in the background. I found that fascinating. Sawyer was reminding us that we have theories and that more knowledge always seems to shoot holes in out theories and beliefs.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Gaius Marius Rome 09-04-14
    Gaius Marius Rome 09-04-14 Member Since 2009
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    "Aliens come with proof that God exists..."
    Would you listen to Calculating God again? Why?

    Maybe. I don't re-read many books.


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

    The "Gateway" novels by Poul Anderson. At their heart they are the same books, just different styles and eras, and address somewhat different arrays of scientific theories in their search for a greater power monkeying with the Universe.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    The friendship of Thomas and Hollus (the alien) was what made this novel special. I won't say what my favorite scene was as it would be a major spoiler.


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

    This is a beautiful and thought provoking book, but it will make you cry if anything.


    Any additional comments?

    I don't compare this to "Gateway" lightly. That book wove together scientific fact and theory into an incredible search for "superior" beings who manipulate the entire Universe to their own ends. This book is much more thought provoking and poetic in it's arguments and intentions, but equally brilliant in making you think about the world we know (and think we know). Sawyer carefully argues both sides of many issues...Is science as dogmatic and flawed as religion? What qualities does "God" possess, even if he does exist? I especially loved the way the aliens deal with the politics of humanity, and neutralize the inevitable shady government characters. All in all a book that deserves a place among the classics.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    TJDenver 08-26-14
    TJDenver 08-26-14 Member Since 2004
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    "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.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Big E 08-01-14
    Big E 08-01-14 Member Since 2013
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    "Endearing, funny, and thought provoking."
    Would you consider the audio edition of Calculating God to be better than the print version?

    I'm not one for writing big epic reviews. For the most part I listen to audio books during my commute, which is about an hour each way. However, this book hooked me in, and I couldn't stop listening to it. I pretty much powered through it in about 3 days. Very captivating, very heartwarming and comical.


    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    J. S. Head Toronto, Canada 07-23-14
    J. S. Head Toronto, Canada 07-23-14 Member Since 2014
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    "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
  •  
    Te Gurule 07-15-14
    Te Gurule 07-15-14 Member Since 2016
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    "Glorious story"

    One month after listening to this book, I relistened to it so my husband could experience the wonder of the story. Hearing it the second time brought the characters and the science of the book even clearer in my mind then the first time. I'm sure I'll read it again.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    analyzethis 07-15-14
    analyzethis 07-15-14
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    "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.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Daniel 07-12-14
    Daniel 07-12-14 Member Since 2010
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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
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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

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