Calculating God

Calculating God

Book - 2000
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Calculating God is the new near-future SF thriller from the popular and award-winning Robert J. Sawyer. An alien shuttle craft lands outside the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto. A six-legged, two-armed alien emerges, who says, in perfect English, "Take me to a paleontologist."
It seems that Earth, and the alien's home planet, and the home planet of another alien species traveling on the alien mother ship, all experienced the same five cataclysmic events at about the same time (one example of these "cataclysmic events" would be the meteor that wiped out the dinosaurs). Both alien races believe this proves the existence of God: i.e. he's obviously been playing with the evolution of life on each of these planets.

From this provocative launch point, Sawyer tells a fast-paced, and morally and intellectually challenging, SF story that just grows larger and larger in scope. The evidence of God's universal existence is not universally well received on Earth, nor even immediately believed. And it reveals nothing of God's nature. In fact. it poses more questions than it answers.

When a supernova explodes out in the galaxy but close enough to wipe out life on all three home-worlds, the big question is, Will God intervene or is this the sixth cataclysm:?

Calculating God is SF on the grand scale. Calculating God is a 2001 Hugo Award Nominee for Best Novel.
Publisher: New York : Tor, 2000
Edition: 1st ed
ISBN: 9780812580358
0812580354
9780312867133
0312867131
Branch Call Number: SF SAW
Characteristics: 334 p. ;,22 cm

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CranbrookLibrary Feb 02, 2015

A spaceship lands outside the Royal Ontario Museum. Out steps an alien and says, Excuse me. I would like to see a paleontologist.'

This sounds like the start of a mediocre 1950's science fiction paperback not worth the paper its printed on. But taking into account that the author is Robert J. Sawyer, one of Canada's foremost science fiction writers, and that this novel won a Nebula Award, the reader may decide to reconsider.

The reward is a philosophically and morally complex story that considers whether great cataclysmic global events prove the existence of God. Being placed firmly in 2000s Toronto keeps the story real even as the plot takes the reader far away from the ordinary.

This book manages to combine big ideas and humour in a satisfying way. Recommended for those who want to give science fiction a try.

z
zipread
Oct 12, 2011

Accomplished Canadian Science Fiction author starts this novel improbably enough with aliens from outer space who want to learn of our planet’s past. Surely this is a piece of sci-fi doggerel designed to appeal to a youthful audience. We expect nothing more than bad aliens, goods scientists, space-ship chases and the inevitable triumph of man over alien. A kind of “Cowboys and Aliens” . But surprisingly no. This novel gives you so much more. Rather than an adventure story, this is an intellectual story. This novel deals in philosophy as well as mayhem on a stellar scale. You may be pleasantly surprised if this is your first venture into this genre.

r
Robert J. Webster
Aug 20, 2010

I liked it, a good story.

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