An excellent thinking-man's sci-fi novel. This is not a ray-gun, beam-me-up, space-ship romp type of novel. It examines what it means to be human and finite in an almost infinite universe.
I tend to be attracted to books that combine religion and science fiction -- possibly because they're so rare, science and religion being two subjects that rarely overlap. This was different even within that narrow sub-category, because it dares to ask exactly what God really is, and then goes out to look for Him and make direct contact.
However, it doesn't get to do that before going through the motions. Much of the first half of the book involves two main characters revisiting most of the better-known arguments for an intelligently-designed universe, and if you've spent any amount of time studying those before reading this book you might find them time-consuming. Even so, a good read and an interesting angle on a question as old as humanity itself.
Great! Good story, great characters, great ideas. Nebula Award winner.
Great metaphysical sci-fi, first contact story. One of the best opening premises I've seen in a long time -- "Take me to your paleontologist"!
One of my all time favorite books. This is one I won't post, because I plan to read it many more times. I highly recommend it. One of Sawyer's best, and I haven't read a bad one by him.
An alien and a human attempt to prove the existence of God. Excellent sci fi.
Interesting way to present God, from an alien's perspective. The whole story is about an alien visiting earth as part of a study to find God's purpose for creation and sending civilizations on similar paths of development. Good characters, pretty good story writing. The main character, an anthropologist sought out by the alien(s), is a bit of a moron, but the writer makes you feel for him. Not a great book, but not bad either. A fun little read.
Shades of Ervin Laszlo and "Science and the Akashic Field" a must read companion piece to this novel by Robert J. Sawyer!
I was so overjoyed to find the work of Robert Sawyer that I've been grabbing everything up and loving it...except for this. I feel like this dim witted religiosity, "intelligent design", is being rammed down my throat to the point I want to puke it back up and throw the book away unfinished. Please tell me the author doesn't really believe this nonsense. If so, my respect for him has plummeted. I'm around 40% through the book and I sure hope it goes somewhere *else*.
ETA: Finished now. It doesn't. The words maudlin and tripe come to mind.
Sorry to be the odd man out, but this book is terrible. Others may like it, but I found it shallow, poorly thought out, and badly written. I have a review online on my own website, but it is full of spoilers. If you want to read that review, go here: http://www.bangtherockstogether.com/books/calculating_god.html
If you'd rather just trust me, skip this book.
Throw in a story of benign aliens visiting Earth, much discussion of God and science, and a few sub-plots ... and you have this book. Not a great read, but quite interesting in places.
Science fiction on a grand scale
Scifi, aliens, how many Gods?