Books

Book Review: Calculating God by Robert J. Sawyer

I have mixed feelings about this book. This is a book about aliens arriving at Earth. The first alien shuttle lands outside the Royal Ontario Museum where the aliens ask to be taken to a paleontologist. The story unfolds from there. This book is a play on the idea what if the first aliens arriving at Earth were religious? It is an argumentation how science and evolution fit together with God, also taking a detour to ethics. While I enjoyed the argumentation (not always agreeing,) I didn’t care for the story or the character itself. They were weak and naïve. The dialogue felt unreal and odd and once again naïve as if someone who had never spoken thought what a dialogue between colleagues, police, murderers, husband, wife, and boss and employees would be like. The only dialogue I think was good was the one with scientific/God argumentation between Hollus and Thomas Jericho.

The thought that aliens might be religious and believe into God isn’t that far-fetched. If you think about religion here on Earth, it has evolved from our mind and how we observe our surroundings. So it is likely something similar to have happened to an alien race. And it is a basic question of a sentient being to think about how everything has come to be and if there is a maker behind all the laws that seem to have made life possible.

If I think the book from rereading or recommendation perspective, then I’m not convinced by the book. I wouldn’t read this again. But then again the best part and most intriguing part was the imagining what kind of evolution would have happened on other planets and what kind of aliens might have come to be with almost same specs as us. If you are a writer or someone interested in the concept of God and science, then this a book for you. But if you love a good story and characters, I would go in warned that this book might not deliver. That you like me didn’t find funny that the dialogue was juvenile or that first thing to interact with aliens was to show them sci-fi tv-shows. (This is not because I don’t love sci-fi tv-shows. I love them, but because it felt out of place and forced. And the bonding between the alien and the main character could have been done some other way.)

Thank you for reading!

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