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The God Engines by John Scalzi

The God Engines (edition 2009)

by John Scalzi

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4533523,009 (3.47)30
Title:The God Engines
Authors:John Scalzi
Info:Subterranean (2009), Edition: Trade Hardcover, Hardcover, 136 pages
Collections:Read but unowned
Tags:Sci-fi, Fantasy, Horror, Religion, Fiction

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The God Engines by John Scalzi

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Showing 1-5 of 34 (next | show all)
136 pages Science fiction . This is the best work of short fiction I have ever read. It is an intense short story . This much different from Scalzi other works. This is world where space ships transit thevoid between stars by means of enslaved being known as Gods. This is a story about one man's faith and one God's rebellion. Written as a stand alone story I hope Scalzi returns to this universe and writes more stories in it.
  Cataloger623 | Nov 8, 2014 |
Scalzi has written and said that he wrote this book to prove he can write dark fiction. Maybe so, but I found the book full of his wit and the ending both terrifying and humorous. ( )
  nmele | Oct 21, 2014 |
In this novella, Scalzi manages to quickly bring to a life a world where gods use humans to fight for them, and the fallen gods power starships. It manages quite a few twists and turns in its short span and I would happily read more stories set in the same universe. ( )
  lithicbee | Jun 30, 2014 |
Average SF novella whereby Scalzi pokes fun at religion and discovers the 'Turtles all the way down' issue that Pratchett first poked fun at years ago.

HUmmanity has spread ot the stars as have other beings. But theur gods are no match for ours, and can get caught and subdied. Once shackled to the floor of a spaceship they can be persuaded - with the proper tools - to take the spaceship anywhere the captains and priest decide. Preists obviously become very important in such a scenario. Although when the captured gods start rebelling then it all gets a bit more tricky.

Kind of obvious, and going ot be offensive to many believers probably. I've no idea why this is a novella form, because with a bit more exploration, plot and characterisation it could be quite good. But as it is it's just average. ( )
  reading_fox | Apr 22, 2014 |
ORIGINALLY POSTED AT Fantasy Literature.

Ean Tephe, captain of the Righteous, is a man of great faith. In fact, it’s the faith of Tephe and his crew that keeps Righteous running — it gives power to their god, enabling him to enslave the captured god which powers the spaceship. Somehow, the “defiled” god, like all the conquered gods that run the spaceships in Tephe’s land, are able to swallow light-years of space to transport their crews wherever they need to go. When Captain Tephe and his crew are sent on a missionary journey to proselytize a new planet and their god engine starts to act up, Tephe’s suddenly in danger of losing his religion.

The God Engines, which I listened to on audio (Brilliance Audio) narrated by Christopher Lane, has a tantalizing premise and some appealing characters. I liked Captain Ean Tephe, his capable first mate, and Shalle, the woman who “nurtures the faith” of the officers. The vicious and angry god who is chained to Righteous was truly frightening (Lane’s creepy voice amplified this). The plot, which is slow at the beginning, rapidly speeds up at the end (this is only 3 hours on audio) and becomes intense, scary, twisty, and surprising.

Perhaps it was John Scalzi’s intention, but I never felt comfortable reading The God Engines. My first problem is that it’s closer to horror than science-fantasy. The plot is unpleasant all the way through and it lacks any of Scalzi’s well-known humor or lightness. I was tense and unsettled the whole time I was listening. I realize that this is personal problem, of course, and many readers will appreciate this unexpected darkness from John Scalzi.

My second issue is that The God Engines is simply too short for what it tries to do. I enjoy reading novellas, but they tend to work better when the setting is already familiar, either because they’re set in our own world or in a world the author has explored before. This world, which is entirely new for Scalzi’s readers, was just starting to feel real and I was just settling into it by the time the story was over. Similarly, the idea of blindly worshiping a god whose character you’re unsure of is tantalizing (though not original), but the surface of this concept was merely scratched and I wasn’t given enough time to deeply consider how this would play out in this world. Likewise, the importance and pitfalls of faith were just beginning to be explored.

The ending of The God Engines felt arbitrary and unsatisfying. Scalzi abandoned his characters, world, ideas, and story, just as he was getting going. It’s nice to see John Scalzi trying something new, but I can’t help but wonder if maybe he didn’t like it either. ( )
  Kat_Hooper | Apr 6, 2014 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
John Scalziprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Cong, VincentIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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To Doselle Young
And gratefully acknowledging the efforts of
Bill Schafer, Yanni Kuznia, Tim Holt, Gail Cross,
Vincent Chong, and Cherie Priest
First words
It was time to whip the god.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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A novella of dark fantasy.
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Devoted to the Bishopry Militant and to his crew, ship captain Ean Tephe is given a secret mission to a hidden land.

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