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Science Fiction - Space ship searches for God on a remote planet

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Aug 10, 2009, 8:26am Top

I read this in the very late 80's I think it was a new book at the time but I could be wrong.

In the story a group of people travel across the universe to find God supposedly on a remote planet. There is a lot of dry social commentary kind of humour in the book.

For some reason I keep thinking it's part of the Frederik Pohl Heechee saga but I can't find any in that series that match this story but things like the description of the Heechee spaceship interiors remind me of the space ship in this book.

Aug 11, 2009, 4:23am Top

Might be Riding the Torch by Norman Spinrad. Skinny little book, with (my copy) a mostly black cover. Earth, I think, is dead, and all the people are traveling in a group of generation ships; they have ubiquitous personal Internet (as in, think and you have the data/images/sounds) and are constantly rebuilding the interiors of their ships/personal spaces for fashion and fun. A story-maker goes out with the scouts who are seeking ahead for habitable planets - he finds out that not only is this planet they're looking at no habitable, none of the ones they've found (which are a lot more than they've told the ship-people) have been even remotely habitable. The story-maker makes a show about how God and the Devil fought over people and God made all the worlds uninhabitable to win the fight, so the ships are their only home now...and it more or less ends there, leaving the impression that people are accepting this.

God, social commentary, traveling across the universe.

Aug 11, 2009, 5:35am Top

Thanks for your reply but I don't think that is it. I'm pretty sure there were no generation ships in this story and Earth is not dead. I'm sorry my details are not better.

I do remember that in the end they get to the planet and "meet" god or someone but it turns out not to be what they thought. It was a pretty humorous book as well. Perhaps I think it's heechee because it was Frederik Pohl like but might not have been him.

Aug 11, 2009, 6:24am Top

Reading this made me think of The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy series. I can't remember precisely which book but there is a search for a creator.

From the blurb of So Long and Thanks for All the Fish:- "They go in search of God's Final Message to His Creation and, in a dramatic break with tradition, actually find it.

But I'm still not entirely sure that's the right book in the series.

Aug 11, 2009, 6:48am Top

Hmm that is interesting, I have read the 4 main books in the series but really don't remember the 4th one (the one you've mentioned) all that well. I am inclined however to think it's probably not the book as though it had humour I do not recall it feeling like Douglas Adams humour but I could be wrong. I also don't think Marvin or a robot was in this story.

Aug 12, 2009, 2:33am Top

possibly The Mote in God's Eye? I also remember reading a story years ago where a priest was traveling with an exploration team and they ended up on a planet where the sun had burned out and he discovers that the date corresponds with birth of Jesus so the slar flare that killed the world they are on was actually the star of Bethlehem. It was a great story but I can't remember the name or author.

Aug 12, 2009, 8:28am Top


Your story is "The Star", Arthur C. Clarke. Can't think of anything for MEStaton's query.

Aug 12, 2009, 12:06pm Top

Oh happiness! sorry for the mini-thread hijack, but I'm delighted to get that info. now I hope MEStaton gets lucky too!

Aug 13, 2009, 4:47am Top

Thanks guys, Although Mote in God's Eye is similar it's not the story I'm thinking of. I'm pretty sure it's not that involved. The book mainly takes place aboard the ship as it journeys to its final destination.

I'm also starting to be positive that it was written/published in the 80's I keep thinking it might be Heechee Rendezvous but when I read the synopsis it just doesn't sound completely right. I may have to read it and see.

Aug 21, 2009, 11:34pm Top

@ MEStaton

It could be Children of God by Mary Doria Russell.

It's about a priest, Emilio Sandoz who is recounting the story if a group of people traveling the planet Rakhat to find God.N (This story is detailed in Sparrow by the sam author). It is not a humorous book, however, so it may not be the one you're thinking of.

Dec 15, 2009, 2:56pm Top

I think I am looking for the same title. The plot goes that scientist discover that a comet comes into proximity of the earth every so many years and when it does there are outbreaks of wars caused by religious fervor. They decide to intercept the comet and send a ship after it before it gets close to earth. The story goes that as the ship gets closer to the comet its crew starts breaking down into religious factions and the fighting starts. I would love to reread this book but for the life of me cannot remember the title or author. Sound familiar to anyone?

Dec 15, 2009, 7:31pm Top

I read a book in the 80's called The Lazarus Effect by Frank Herbert. The people in the ship were searching for a new planet, but I don't recall it being a search for God, but then I don't recall that much about the story. The title does suggest something religious, and the first book had Jesus in the title. Just a thought.

Dec 15, 2009, 9:59pm Top

Its not the Lazarous Effect or the Jesus Incident, though they both have a religious theme. They are about a sentient computer (Shp) that by gaining the powers of a god, can be called God. (Capable of building worlds, changing history, etc.)

Dec 16, 2009, 7:27pm Top

Was there something about an insurance company refusing to pay one of the cosmonauts' life-insurance to his family when he leaves Earth, because he wasn't technically dead? My memory's not entirely clear, but if it sounds familiar, I'll go through my memory cache . . .

Dec 17, 2009, 4:53am Top

#14 I'm not to sure about that detail but if you can find any titles that would be helpful

Dec 24, 2009, 1:03am Top

This message has been deleted by its author.

Dec 24, 2010, 10:53pm Top

I remember reading something that may be the novel of which you are thinking.

The story I recall has a group of of spaceships land on Earth to ferry people to see god (or someone claiming to be god.) I think the book specified that the ships did some sort of hyperspace FTL travel.

Meanwhile, a parallel plot line has a man working as an executioner utilizing a device which unlocks all ancestral memory (causing death in a manner similar to HHGG's Total Perspective Vortex.) I think there was also something weird with the guy having his way with the victim's bodies... Anyway, I recall that at some point his curiosity gets the better of him and he is driven to enter the machine itself.

I think somehow the people going to meet "god" end up interacting with the mind of the executioner at some point.

I also remember that the people are taken to some dreary planet and interact with "god" in the form of a tired old man.

Hopefully, I'm not confusing multiple books.

Sep 12, 2011, 1:25am Top

Ray Bradbury wrote a short story called "The Man" which can be added to this theme but not the novel looked for.

Oct 9, 2013, 9:47pm Top

The title a couple people are looking for (ForeignCircus) is "Calculating God"

Oct 10, 2013, 9:09am Top

Venus on the Half-Shell? I won't spoil who god is

Oct 10, 2013, 4:08pm Top

Calculating God is from 2000.

Oct 11, 2013, 7:30pm Top

This thread reminds me of a "Name That Book" I posted almost two years ago. There were a lot of suggestions offered, but none matched. Some of the suggestions might be the book you are looking for.

Read it here:


(And if anyone happens to figure out my book, that would be a bonus) ;)

Oct 22, 2013, 12:58pm Top

No one's mentioned Star Trek V: The Final Frontier yet? The Enterprise gets hijacked and Kirk et al end up at the center of the galaxy to meet "God".

Oct 24, 2013, 7:28pm Top

The Sparrow? by Mary Doria Russell, starring a Jesuit priest?

Edited: Oct 29, 2013, 9:13am Top

Possibly Hyperion by Dan Simmons? A group of pilgrims are on a journal to meet the Shrike (I'm not sure that it's actually a God, but it is worshipped by a cult). During their journey, they tell each other their stories, as in The Canterbury Tales.

Oct 29, 2013, 11:22am Top

It's definitely not The Sparrow. In that book a priest comes across an intelligent race that turns out to be merely a domesticated species owned by a more intelligent race.

Edited: Nov 6, 2013, 9:54pm Top

The race for God, by Brian Herbert. This one has been haunting me for a while too, lol.

Nov 7, 2013, 9:28am Top

touchstone fairy
The Race for God

Aug 9, 2014, 9:31pm Top

Judgement Day by James F David sounds like the novel.

Dec 13, 2014, 4:05pm Top

The very belated touchstone fairy
Judgement Day James F David

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