**Warning: There are SPOILERS in this post**
I was intrigued by the premise of The God Hater from the start. An atheist involved in a large-scale artificial intelligence project comes to the inescapable conclusion that the virtual world he has helped to influence needs not only a law introduced from it’s creators, but eventually a savior as well. The only other option is total destruction of the artificial world at the hands of it’s own inhabitants. An obvious allegory, but with some new and exciting twists.
The book begins with Dr. Nicholas Mackenzie, a vocally atheist philosophy professor, involved in his favorite past-time – tearing down religion. The opening chapters give a good picture of just how much Nicholas disdains God and religion both, though it doesn’t stop him from being friends with co-worker Annie – professor of microbiology and believer – and her young son. Though some have said they felt Nicholas was too stereotypical, the arguments he makes and the attitude he presents are certainly ones that I’ve seen time and again in modern society and certainly represent the position well.
The idea of corporate espionage threatening the project added an element of danger that kept the story moving along nicely. The action begins right away, as Nicholas is kidnapped and threatened by shady characters looking for his brother, Travis. And no sooner does said brother enter the scene than the story is complicated by high-speed chases, hidden high-tech labs and deadly battles.
One small complaint I have is that the virtual world of Alpha 11 and his fellows doesn’t always feel real to me. Which seems like a funny thing to say, but the point of it was to accurately represent how a population might react in the real world. But the characters aren’t always very convincing to me. There is also the claim by Travis that this is their “last chance” to get it right. Maybe I misunderstood, but haven’t they run the program many times already? And can’t they essentially “fast-forward” to play out the entire world in very small real-world time? So I guess I don’t understand exactly why they couldn’t just start over again and introduce the law of Programmer from the beginning. Maybe someone smarter could clarify. It’s a minor quibble and I’m sure it wouldn’t have mattered anyway, as the introduction of the virus meant the world needed a savior regardless.
Overall, I really enjoyed The God Hater. I found it to be engaging on not only an intellectual and imaginative level, but an emotional one as well. In fact, the last few words of the book had me in tears. Which some might argue is not hard to do for this emotional mother of two, but there you have it.
Look for another post tomorrow, where I plan to tackle some of the discussion questions in the back of the book!
And don’t forget the rest of the tour:
Noah Arsenault - Red Bissell - Thomas Clayton Booher - Keanan Brand - Kathy Brasby - Rachel Briard - Beckie Burnham - Morgan L. Busse - Carol Bruce Collett - Valerie Comer - Karri Compton - CSFF Blog Tour - April Erwin - Amber French - Andrea Graham - Tori Greene - Katie Hart - Ryan Heart - Joleen Howell - Bruce Hennigan - Becky Jesse - Cris Jesse - Becca Johnson - Jason Joyner - Carol Keen - Emily LaVigne - Shannon McDermott - Matt Mikalatos - Rebecca LuElla Miller - Mirtika MollyBuuklvr81 - John W. Otte - Sarah Sawyer - Chawna Schroeder - Andrea Schultz - Tammy Shelnut - Kathleen Smith - James Somers - Donna Swanson - Jessica Thomas - Steve Trower - Fred Warren - Dona Watson - Nicole White - Dave Wilson
Disclaimer: In conjunction with the CSFF Blog Tour I received a free copy of this book from the publisher. All opinions expressed are my own.