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Calculating God by Robert J. Sawyer
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Calculating God (edition 2000)

by Robert J. Sawyer

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1,490507,918 (3.64)38
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.… (more)
Member:dharding
Title:Calculating God
Authors:Robert J. Sawyer
Info:Tor Books (2000), Edition: First Edition, Hardcover, 334 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:****
Tags:None

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Calculating God by Robert J. Sawyer

Recently added byDSchmitt, private library, marce1611, TimHansel53, SleepySheep, jpbronco, Freedonia, Ulyssesmentor
Legacy LibrariesTim Spalding
  1. 00
    Agent to the Stars by John Scalzi (ShelfMonkey)
    ShelfMonkey: Both are about first contact situations.
  2. 01
    The Chronoliths by Robert Charles Wilson (amysisson)
    amysisson: Another hard SF book with great "what if" questions.
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» See also 38 mentions

English (47)  Spanish (1)  French (1)  Romanian (1)  All languages (50)
Showing 1-5 of 47 (next | show all)
Great idea. OK execution. Author provides a defense for intelligent design theory, which interested me but could have been shorter and included criticisms of that theory. That would have made the book more compelling. Also, a couple of annoying subplots. Worth reading if you like SF with big ideas. ( )
  GCMarshallJr. | Oct 29, 2019 |
This book addresses a complex topic, and my reaction was likewise complex. The premise is quite extraordinary: an alien lands in front of the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto and asks to speak with a paleontologist. This scientist happens to be Tom Jericho. Tom and the alien strike up an odd sort of friendship as they debate shared histories of mass extinctions on their home worlds and why that might be. It turns out, this species of alien and others agree that the complex nature of life means they are all creations of God. For an atheist like Tom, this is a difficult idea to swallow, even as he questions his own mortality as his terminal cancer worsens.

This isn't a book packed with action. It involves a lot of talk and examination. I imagine that would bore some people; I was fascinated. At only a few points did I feel the info dumps were a bit too bunch. Really, this kind of heady examination of religion through science fiction is my jam. Mary Doria Russell's The Sparrow is one of my favorite books of all time.

Where the book faltered for me in a HUGE way was a subplot involving two bumbling bad guys. (I won't go into details for the sake of spoilers). Not only were these characters tropes without a shred of nuance, but the entire plot ended up being completely irrelevant to the major events at the end of the book.

And wow, that ending delivered some major surprises and some genuine feelings, too. It's a shame that the bad taste of that unneeded subplot continued to linger. Even so, I do recommend this if you like books that address theology through science fiction. This read will stay with me--because of the good aspects, and unfortunately, the not-so-good. ( )
  ladycato | May 6, 2019 |
I tried to read this book. I think it has the distinction of the first and one of the rare books that I just could not finish because I disliked it and found it to be a waste of time. The main character came across as whiny and my impression for the story was TMI. ( )
  KateSavage | Mar 29, 2019 |
Novela bien llevada, sorprendente y de lectura ágil. ( )
  maxtrek | Jan 30, 2019 |
I have been waiting to read this book for a long time. The concept sounded very interesting and Robert Sawyer can put together a sentence but man I didn't like this book. Started skimming about half way and then just gave up. I am going to have to go back to my old ways of letting books go early, I just really wanted to like this one.

My main problem with it was the pacing. The plot was a close second. I barely enjoyed the movie my dinner with Andre. Reading it was something I could have skipped forever. This seems to be a love it or hate it book. I didn't hate it but I also didn't find it that interesting or exciting.

( )
1 vote CSDaley | Mar 28, 2018 |
Showing 1-5 of 47 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (5 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Robert J. Sawyerprimary authorall editionscalculated
Davis, JonathanNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Staffilano, GianluigiTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
Complete fossil skeletons are rarely found. It is permissible to fill in the missing pieces using the reconstructionist's best guesses, but, except for display mounts, one must clearly distinguish those parts that are actual fossilized material from those that are conjecture. Only the authentic fossils are true first-person testimony of the past; in contrast, the reconstructionist's contributions are something akin to third person narration.

—Thomas D. Jericho, Ph.D, in his introduction to Handbook of Paleontological Restoration (Danilova and Tamasaki, editors)
Dedication
For Nicholas A. DiChario and Mary Stanton, who were there for us when we needed friends the most
First words
I know, I know - it seemed crazy that the alien had come to Toronto.
Quotations
Learning to ignore things is one of the great paths to inner peace.
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Book description
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?

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