Calculating God by Robert J. Sawyer
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Bookshelves: critters-from-outer-space, sci-fi, science, spiritual
An alien ship plunks down outside the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto and an extra-terrestrial walks in to the reception desk and says, “Take me to your paleontologist.” How much better does a book opening get?
My bookish cousin Mem gave me this book for my birthday after I’d finished the futuristic YA sci-fi Earth Girl and expressed my disappointment at a single sentence referring to scientific proof of the existence of God. That was it, just a single throwaway sentence, with no follow-up. How do you say oh, by the way, we’ve proved God exists, and just leave it there like a wet towel on the sofa without another word?
Calculating God delivers the goods. Our alien friend Hollus has come to Earth to examine fossils, looking for information about previous extinction events to tie in with similar extinction events on other planets. Working with paleontologist Thomas Jericho, scientist-to-the-bone and card-carrying atheist, Hollus shares the evidence and deductions that prove other civilizations’ theory of intelligent design, by turns humorous and poignant and wise, and always fascinating.
This book was perfect for me. I consider myself quite spiritual; it’s organized religion that I have issues with. I enjoy parables and myths from religions around the world, but as allegory, not carved-in-stone fact. I also believe that our planet is considerably older than 4,000 years and think Darwin and Pythagoras and DaVinci and Einstein were sexy as hell. The circumstances for the book’s theory are fictional but the theory uses what is, as far as I can tell, accurate science as far as we know it, just detailed enough to be convincing without going completely over my head. The spiritual aspect is never smarmy or preachy or scripture-y.
And it’s fun.
This was a kick of a read. Loved it.
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