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“As I remember, I had just woken up from a nap when I decided to create the universe.” So begins Alan Lightman’s playful and profound new novel, Mr. g, the story of Creation as narrated by God. Bored with living in the shimmering Void with his bickering Uncle Deva and Aunt Penelope, Mr. g creates time, space, and matter - then moves on to stars, planets, consciousness, and finally intelligent beings with moral dilemmas.
But even the best-laid plans can go awry, and Mr. g discovers that with his creation of space and time come unforeseen consequences - especially in the form of the mysterious Belhor, a clever and devious rival. An intellectual equal to Mr. g, Belhor delights in provocation: he demands an explanation for the inexplicable, requests that intelligent creatures not be subject to rational laws, and maintains the necessity of evil. As Mr. g watches his favorite universe grow into maturity, he begins to understand how the act of creation can change the Creator himself.
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By Diane on 09-04-12
The Universe: A Fable
This brief novel defies categorization. Drawing on philosophy, religion and mythology on the one hand and quantum mechanics, relativity, organic chemistry, evolution and astrophysics, on the other, it is the story of a universe (maybe ours?) and its creator.
The character of the creator (the Mr g of the title) recalls the demiurge creator god of gnosticism, a being who is enthralled, troubled and transformed by his creation. Satan and his minions (under the names of Belhor and Baphomet(s)) are also present with the interactions between Mr g and Belhor being reminiscent of that between the Accuser and God in the Bible's Book of Job.
The author creatively, often amusingly, addresses such diverse topics as the existence of time, matter, energy, consciousness, free will and sin. My only negative comment is that the book's conceit can grow a bit tedious at times and leaves several of its topics dangling, although I suppose the latter is intentional. The skillful narration adds wonderfully to the characterization of each of the book's figures. Overall I recommend Mr g as a worthwhile and thought-provoking listen.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful
By R. Klein on 03-08-13
Might work as a children's book
I was rather disappointed in this book. The concept seems to be the creation of the universe - though not necessarily ours - by a creator. It is written in what I'd consider a simplistic style, and to my mind was designed to possibly reconcile the controversy between creationism and evolution. It allows for both, but it doesn't work for me.
I found too many internal inconsistencies that wore on me. Maybe I'm just too analytical, but without time, I have to wonder how there ccould be "elders." Without substance, I have to wonder how once matter is created, it can be used by the inhabitants of "the void," where nothing actually exists. Yet those inhabitants are able to see and hear and interact with the other inhabitants of the void (then maybe it's NOT a void, because discrete beings DO inhabit it), as well as solid matter.
I didn't like the folksy interaction of inhabitants of the void, and found the dialog childish and tedious. And the repetitive counting of time got pretty old and very annoying pretty fast for me.
There was only one short segment of the book where relativity - the existence of good only in relationship to bad, for example - made part of the book interesting. Otherwise, unless I missed it, I didn't find anything in the story that had anything to say, or made the listen worthwhile at all.
If you have a hard time accepting evolution vs. creationism, maybe this book will give you a context within which to consider both as peacefully coexisting. But even there, I'm not sure it has a lot to say of any real substance.
Found it childish. Not one of my favored reads, I'm afraid.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful