[Robert J. Sawyer] Science Fiction Writer
Hugo and Nebula Winner

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Review Excerpts

Robert J. Sawyer's Calculating God

"Spectacular. Much of the novel is relatively cerebral, but Sawyer excels at developing his protagonists into full-fledged characters, and he adds tension to his story in several ways. This is unusually thoughtful SF." — Publishers Weekly

[Calculating God] "I always look forward to Robert J. Sawyer's books. One reason is that Sawyer is just about the best science fiction writer out there these days: compelling stories, believable scenarios, science and fiction that really interact. But the main reason is that after reading and reviewing several Sawyer novels, I know that each book he writes will be unique. I think it is safe to say that no book of popular science fiction exists that is remotely similar to Calculating God. In an effort to convince Tom Jericho of God's existence, Hollus uses scientific laws and the mathematics of probability. His arguments are the most convincing I have seen since Thomas Aquinas — maybe more so. I have always thought that a good novel keeps readers turning the pages to find out the fate of characters they care about. But for fiction to be called literature, the story should stay with readers and keep them thinking about it long after the book has been put away. It is safe to say that Sawyer has accomplished both with Calculating God." — Denver Rocky Mountain News (which named Calculating God the best SF novel of the year, and included it on their list of the year's best books of any type)

"Prepare to have your preconceptions challenged. Genre writers frequently ride their hobbyhorses, dragging readers behind them, choking on clouds of dusty facts. Sawyer is an exception; he deals with potentially hard-to-digest material — paleontology, genetics and stellar phenomena — airily transforming it into entertaining, albeit lengthy, discussions on the nature of God. For those who like to ponder the roles of science and religion, it is a delicious summer read: intelligent, emotionally engaging, peopled with interesting characters and driven by a thoughtful narrative that does not shy away from confronting profound questions. How can you go wrong?" —The Globe and Mail: Canada's National Newspaper

"Sawyer won the 1995 Nebula Award; his latest novel, Calculating God, is bound for similar kudos. It's an action-packed yet highly philosophical, theological and ethical story. Well-melded into the fast-paced plot, a wonderful dialogue goes on over the God question and over right, wrong and the purpose of life. There is nothing preachy-teachy at all, just a good yarn with some solid food for the brain. It's guaranteed to expand the minds of believers and non-believers alike." —Tom Harpur in The Toronto Star

"An engrossing and nuanced novel, full of food for thought and meat for meditation, the sort of epistemological gavotte that reminds us why God invented science fiction in the first place." —James Morrow, author of Towing Jehovah

"Hard science fiction at its best. Calculating God is more of a philosophical exercise than a shoot-'em-up thriller. An atheist palaeontologist with cancer has his personal belief system challenged when aliens arrive on Earth, declaring themselves to be on a mission to gather evidence for the existence of God." —Arik Kershenbaum in The Zoologist's Guide to the Galaxy: What Animals on Earth Reveal About Aliens — and Ourselves

First on Borders.com's Best SF&F of 2000 List: "When a book begins with a UFO landing in the middle of Toronto followed by a spider-like alien emerging and demanding `Take me to a paleontologist,' most readers would simply shudder and return it to the shelf in search of more weighty fare. However, in Sawyer's sure hands this opening launches us on a profound moral and scientific inquiry into the nature and existence of God. Sawyer spares us the acrobatics of space opera and instead spins a provocative, intellectually challenging and — yes! — entertaining sci-fi tale in the best tradition of the genre." —Borders.com's Tractor Beam newsletter

"Engaging and stimulating, raising huge questions in accessible and interesting ways." —Resource Links

"A near-future thriller; a provocative examination of religion, science, and cosmic disaster." —Locus

"Compelling to the final page, Robert J. Sawyer's Calculating God is not to be missed by fans of science fiction, religious history, philosophy or even thriller fiction, an intelligent and challenging work that is quite comparable to Sagan's classic Contact." —Curled Up With a Good Book

"Succeeds on multiple levels as science fiction, with a premise compact enough to generate intriguing dustjacket copy yet complex enough to sustain an entire novel. Utilizes dialogue to discuss theories of cosmic significance without seeming to lecture the reader too much. Tight, quick, and thought-provoking." —The New York Review of Science Fiction

"Provides the reader with self-searching moral and philosophical speculation, as well as solidly grounded scientific theory that characterizes good hard-science science fiction. A delightful reading experience because, to read it, you have to think about some pervasive human questions that cut across a range of intellectual disciplines. Reminiscent of the impact one could expect from early Arthur C. Clarke or Asimov. Sawyer returns us to the sense that the universe is huge and unexplored, and as full of hope as it is of doom. It also arouses passion for right and against wrong, makes aliens more sympathetic than many humans, and appeals to our basic sense of wonder. Yet it is a simple, straightforward story, as enchanting to a teenager as to a woman in her fifties." —SFRA Review

"Sawyer once again demonstrates his wild talent for innovative, iconoclastic storytelling as he relates a thought-provoking, sobering, yet wryly compassionate tale of one man's discovery of timelessness even as his own time is running out." —Library Journal

"An enthralling story. The climax is an exhilarating and touching glimpse of transcendence." —Starlog

"Exciting and emotional. Sawyer smoothly combines ethical questions and comical dialogue in a highly absorbing tale." —Booklist

"As always, Sawyer manages to deftly weave in heavy, hard science exposition without the reader feeling a thing. Sawyer's is the kind of expository dialogue most writers drool over the thought of achieving, and the issues he raises will keep you thinking a long time after you put down the book. Calculating God is a must for any SF fan's reading list." —SciFiNow.com

"Engaging and thoughtful. A novel full of deeply insightful speculation on the universe at large and humanity's place in it; an electrifying mix of old-fashioned alien contact as well as pertinent, enthralling conjecture." —Barnes and Noble's official review, by Tom Piccirilli

"Inventive, fast-paced, and alternately funny and touching, Calculating God sneaks in a well-researched survey of evolution science, exobiology, and philosophy amidst the banter between Hollus and Jericho. But the book also proves to be very moving and character-driven SF, as Jericho — in the face of Hollus's convincing arguments — grapples with his own bitter reasons for not believing in God." —Amazon.com's official review, by Paul Hughes

"Elegant, intelligent — leave us staring off into the middle distance, sorting out all the new things that are wandering through our minds. If you think science fiction is kid stuff, flying saucers and ray guns and bug-eyed monsters, read Calculating God and think again." —Winnipeg Free Press

"Religion asks the Big Questions. Robert J. Sawyer, cutting to the bone, likes to work with an equally large canvas: all of time and space. Calculating God, intelligent, entertaining, provocative SF, is where they intersect." —Terence M. Green, author of A Witness to Life

"A new novel by Robert J. Sawyer is always a major event. Sawyer's strength as a science-fiction writer is the way he can synthesize complex scientific ideas in an accessible manner and extract philosophical meaning from them. Calculating God is most compelling when Jericho and Hollus debate the role of circumstance in the origin of organic life, taking in quantum theory, paleontology, evolution, biochemistry, and astronomy." —Quill & Quire

"Sawyer presents, in a very entertaining and interesting way, arguments for and against God's existence. I can think of no better way to present these topics than this lively novel, and I'll recommend it to anyone interested in thinking about these things, no matter which side of the fence they are on." —SFFaudio

"Vigorous speculation. Sawyer ends with grandeur worthy of Arthur C. Clarke." —The Denver Post

"Focusing on theological and biological ideas, Calculating God is, perhaps, Sawyer's most intellectual novel to date. He handles the various arguments and Jericho's attempts to deal with his doubts in a masterly way, which keeps the book's pace rapid. Sawyer has written a book which will lead to much thoughtful consideration of the issue of God's existence." —Steven Silver's Reviews

"Sawyer is one of the best science fiction writers in the business, and his novels are well-crafted ruminations on big ideas. If the words `science fiction' conjure up images of spaceships, ray guns, and bug-eyed monsters, settle down with this novel and discover that, in the right hands, some science fiction can be literature." —Halifax Chronicle-Herald

"Sawyer is a master of his craft. He's deft with the science, has a light touch with the big questions and is even occasionally laugh-out-loud funny. His books do what good science fiction should: force you to think laterally, abstractly — big." —Toronto Life

"Sawyer has once again crafted a novel that makes readers think about things they may have never considered before, which is definitely Sawyer's strength as a writer." —The Orlando Sentinel

"An ambitious and extremely funny science fiction adventure; Sawyer captivates with his witty characters and intriguing plot. Calculating God explores a vast range of current issues. Along the way, dinosaur and fossil aficionados will have plenty to sift through, feminist thinkers will enjoy the twists, environmentalists will sense the urgency of an impending sixth mass extinction, and those familiar with Ontario politics may chuckle as the Harris government takes a few raps on the knuckles. Fast-paced, well-researched and imaginatively conceived, Calculating God is the most captivating work of science fiction I've read since Carl Sagan's Contact." —Victoria Times Colonist

"As if such a premise wasn't politically incorrect enough in the broader literary world, it's darn near blasphemy in the sci-fi subculture. But that seems to have done nothing but liberate Mr. Sawyer and the novel he's written as a result has more fun, more challenging ideas and more humanity in it than a whole stack of nanotechnology and artificial intelligence driven cyber-thrillers." —BrothersJudd.com

"If sci-fi is literature that leaves you thinking as it thoroughly entertains you, then Sawyer's Hugo and Campbell Award finalist Calculating God is a paragon of the genre. Sawyer treats with heady themes that seldom are explored so well and so memorably. Don't miss it." —SciFi Dimensions

"An intellectual and emotional blockbuster from one of the powerhouses of science fiction. Sawyer packs his latest novel with insights about evolutionary biology that go beyond Stephen Jay Gould, musings about our place in the cosmos that recall Carl Sagan, all served up in an exquisitely human tale of heartbreak and soaring spirit. One of his best!" —Paul Levinson, author of The Silk Code

"Sawyer is first and foremost a writer of ideas, some concept that can drive a narrative through to a grand conclusion, one that remains true to science but often achieves that sense of transcendence. This is Sawyer's great strength, and it's fully present in Calculating God. As usual, the premise is astounding. Sawyer has created a very intriguing figure in Jericho, whose scientific mind is the battleground of ideas in the novel. It's a tribute to Sawyer's own enthusiasm for science that he makes the various arguments Jericho has with his new alien friend and others so exciting. Calculating God is a fine read, an intellectual thriller with real bite." —Douglas Barbour in Edmonton Journal

"This is a terrific tale. Fans of cerebral science fiction will relish the visit from a theistic evolutionary ET spider." —Alternative-Worlds.com

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