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    Review of Calculating God by Robert J. Sawyer (see his website)

    Tor, 2000

    Review by Jennifer Vilches

    Aliens land in Toronto, but instead of 'take me to your leader,' it's 'take me to your paleontologist.' This attention grabbing start leads to the alien scientist Hollus working with paleontologist Tom Jericho to research the various extinction events in Earth's past. Hollus explains that the planets of both the alien races that have come to visit Earth have had five of these catastrophic events at roughly the same time. The aliens believe that this is evidence of God's existence and are searching for further signs of God's intervention in the universe. Tom, dying of lung cancer, has a very hard time accepting any arguments for the existence of God and spends a good portion of the book debating scientific proofs with Hollus.

    Calculating God has a fascinating, unusual and thought-provoking premise. Sawyer mixes both humorous and poignant moments in with the quite believable scientific discussions. Tom's internal turmoil as he deals with cancer is handled very well. However, the dramatic events that unfold in the last half of the book seem forced and over-blown. Sawyer is at his best when working with moral and philosophic quandaries and thoughtful scientific debates. I just couldn't get past the feeling that the ending didn't really mesh with the rest of the book.

    See more reviews of novels by Robert J. Sawyer.

    Two Stars

    Reviewed 5/21/04

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