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Publisher's Summary

Captain Ean Tephe is a man of faith, whose allegiance to his lord and to his ship is uncontested. The Bishopry Militant knows this — and so, when it needs a ship and crew to undertake a secret, sacred mission to a hidden land, Tephe is the captain to whom the task is given.

Tephe knows from the start that his mission will be a test of his skill as a leader of men and as a devout follower of his god. It’s what he doesn’t know that matters: to what ends his faith and his ship will ultimately be put — and that the tests he will face will come not only from his god and the Bishopry Militant, but from another, more malevolent source entirely....

Author John Scalzi has ascended to the top ranks of modern science fiction with the best-selling, Hugo-nominated novels Old Man’s War and Zoe’s Tale. Now he tries his hand at fantasy, with a dark and different novella that takes your expectations of what fantasy is and does, and sends them tumbling.

Say your prayers... and behold The God Engines.

©2010 John Scalzi (P)2010 Brilliance Audio, Inc.

What listeners say about The God Engines

Average Customer Ratings
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    5 out of 5 stars

Worship your god, pray you never meet them

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

Yes! A well written short story. It has its own uniqueness in it's subject matter and the way it's composed that should be a welcomed addition to the library of anyone that enjoys this genre.

What was one of the most memorable moments of The God Engines?

The most memorable moment of the book for me was undoubtedly the ceremony toward the end when the elders son underwent the 'process' to call their new lord and that moment when the village elder was..absorbed..by Tephe's 'Lord'.. I imagine the looks between the men at that last moment and sense of terror and fundamental betrayal and instance of realization of truth that lasts but a moment. The final moments of the book also offer introspection to those of us that are persons of faith..after all, in the end, what was there left to do but 'pray'!

That exit music is a bit of well-timed icing on the cake too isnt it? With the numerous times that I've listened to this book, I wonder if it's for that ending with the music just as much as the whole story telling.

Have you listened to any of Christopher Lane’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

I have listened to Christopher Lane's performances before. I continue to be impressed by the talent that he and other narrators have in the lending of their skill to the telling of the story. I have quickly discovered that what determines if an audiobook is successful in it's storytelling and captures the imagination and attention of the listener all hinges on the quality of the narration.
I own older "books on tape" that have subsequently been reissued as digitally downloaded audiobooks, and the newer narrators in my opinion have performed so poorly that my interest in the book was negatively affected.

'Wizards First Rule' anyone? 'Children of Hurin' anyone?

A quality narrator is critically important. In my years listening to audiobooks that fact is undeniable and Christopher Lane's performance in this was superb.

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

Yes. I listen to a fair number of audiobooks. I especially enjoy a long story with details fleshed and flushed out, tho, every now and then, and in recent times, with greater frequency, I do like a short story that I can sit down and enjoy from start to finish in a relatively brief timeframe. For me the length of this book reading was perfect. Another worthy candidate is 'StoneFather' by Orson Scott Card.. That too is a story well fleshed, presented and performed in a satisfyingly tidy package.

Any additional comments?

I don't think I am predisposed to write reviews, but I saw criticisms of this book that I thought were not deserving. I agree that the story is admittedly dark with an ending that left one thinking of one's self almost supplanted in the person of the main character. I agree that this is unlike many of the other John Scalzi writings, it's quite different that it wouldn't surprise me if it were the creation of someone else.

I even believe some of the criticisms might come from those of us that might see the veiled critiquing of religion, devout belief and religious faith.. I see it.. clearly. I don't think these elements took away from the quality of the product. The story, the quality of the narration, the total delivery.. I think it was in it's way supposed to leave many of it's readers "hollow", almost with the sense of near hopeless dispair in the face of the obliteration of our reality as we saw in the captain (did I give too much away? Hope not..). It's amazing and a testament to the quality of the writing that it's at the very end where one goes from being immersed in the story to confronted by it.. The very last word takes you aback..

As for me, I continue to have unshakable faith in my Lord, I read his commentaries daily, am devoted and trust in his mercies... and faithfully await his promised return amongst us.. heh-heh-heh..;) (roll in that music)... Yea.. I can see why many of us are upset.. lol..

6 people found this helpful

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Original Concept, Somber Tone

If John Scalzi can be credited with anything, it is coming up with original concepts in modern science fiction writing. This book is almost as good as his thoroughly entertaining and hilarious Redshirts. Instead of the mild dark humor of Redshirts, The God Engines removes all of the humor and cranks the darkness all the way up to 11. The tone is really gloomy, which I found to be a nice change of pace in genre that tends to lean towards the optimistic end of the spectrum.

The book takes place on an interstellar ship that is literally powered by a "god". There is a physical humanoid god inside the ship which powers the engines. The catch is, this god is an unwilling participant and only powers the ship under the threat of torture and death. It's unclear if it's an actual god, or merely a being of extraordinary power. However, there are other gods, and the people on this ship worship a different god who is at war with all other gods.

The society on the ship is a fascinating draconian mix of military and religious hierarchy. The highest ranking official on the ship is the Captain, the second highest is the Priest ... they don't get along. (The reader narrates them perfectly, he reads their lines in a matter of fact, almost curt tone, just the way I think people like that would talk.)

I won't give anything away about the ending. Many other reviewers have lots to say about the ending (too much in my opinion, I think many are inadvertently giving away what happens). All I have to say is that I think the ending is reasonably well written, but perhaps a bit abrupt.

18 people found this helpful

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I love Scalzi’s work, but

This was just not one of his best. It was hard to get into and I did not make any real connection to any of the characters. Glad I listened to it, but won’t listen to it again.

4 people found this helpful

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Absolutely original premise, excellent writing

this was not what I expected from Scalzi, but I was certainly not disappointed. Fantastic new world introduced, and many layers to unpack if you wanted to. if not, it's still an excellent read (listen). performance was excellent as well, thoroughly enjoyed it!

4 people found this helpful

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I love Scalzi's writing but not this book

The reader is good but the book has a depressing and cynical ending. I have read most of Scalzi's other works and several have been excellent--wonderful characters, funny and sometime hilarious dialog, good story development and good endings for those of us that like morality tales. Not so this book. Some good ideas but a disappointing story. However, I realize that some readers/listeners might like the book. Just be prepared for a black black conclusion.

20 people found this helpful

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speechless

the first time I began this book I had trouble staying interested. the second time, having faith in John Scalzi, I gave it my full attention. I was not disappointed. in fact, at the end I had to sit in silence a while to absorb what just happened.

I highly recommend giving this story your full attention.

3 people found this helpful

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the humour is way, way under the surface

not your usual scalzi (well the ones i've consumed on audible anyway), however i did detect him smiling away behind the scenes.

i agree with others here, this universe should be explored, christopher baby does a good job of bringing the characters to light in this dark, smelly world.

all in all i enjoyed this, not his usual rumpole meets the games, more a serious dark drama which places the toe into religion.

7 people found this helpful

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Only Scalzi title i haven’t enjoyed

I have almost all of Scalzi’s books in my audio library, so I’m obviously a fan. This book, I hated. There’s “dark”, but this is six levels further down.

It begins with torture, rapidly descends to dismal depression, then goes downhill from there. Scalzi fans be warned, this is nothing like his previous books.

2 people found this helpful

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Surprisingly entertaining

These short works are usually quick throwaways, but I enjoyed this better than I expected. Definitely an unusual idea and approach to science fiction - spaceships powered by enslaved gods and faith of the crew in the enslaving god.

2 people found this helpful

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Very Weird (in a Good Way™)

Let's be real—this story is dark and a little macabre. Christopher Lane's haunted performance really brings to life this somewhat bizarre tale of enslaved Gods that power spaceships. If that sounds like your style, maybe you'll enjoy this book as much as I did.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Kawie1
  • 02-24-15

The God Engines

Set in a world where man had flown to the stars on the backs of gods rather then science this short delivers a very detailed world and belief system. Scalzi has a unusual mind and this wonderful tale about belief and faith showcase it!
Kind of wish this was a much longer story.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Booklover
  • 06-16-18

Great Sci-Fi brilliantly performed by Mr Lane!

An excellent short story performed with extra-ordinary talent by Christopher Lane. As an experienced listener of audiobooks, with well over 5000 titles in my library, I very rarely find a title that stands out for the best of reasons. This does this in spades!!

If you like Sci-Fi and a great performance you may well LOVE this!

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  • carl
  • 02-25-18

Terrible performance

I've listened to 100s of audio books rarely do I down rate the performance but this one is so bad I think it actually detracts from the story

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  • Anonymous User
  • 12-10-19

Potential not realised.

A very interesting story premise. However the story feel not realised as many interesting elements and character growth are skipped over in favor of exposition and reaching the next story beat.