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If John Scalzi can be credited with anything, it is coming up with original concepts in modern science fiction writing. This book is almost as good as his thoroughly entertaining and hilarious Redshirts. Instead of the mild dark humor of Redshirts, The God Engines removes all of the humor and cranks the darkness all the way up to 11. The tone is really gloomy, which I found to be a nice change of pace in genre that tends to lean towards the optimistic end of the spectrum.
The book takes place on an interstellar ship that is literally powered by a "god". There is a physical humanoid god inside the ship which powers the engines. The catch is, this god is an unwilling participant and only powers the ship under the threat of torture and death. It's unclear if it's an actual god, or merely a being of extraordinary power. However, there are other gods, and the people on this ship worship a different god who is at war with all other gods.
The society on the ship is a fascinating draconian mix of military and religious hierarchy. The highest ranking official on the ship is the Captain, the second highest is the Priest ... they don't get along. (The reader narrates them perfectly, he reads their lines in a matter of fact, almost curt tone, just the way I think people like that would talk.)
I won't give anything away about the ending. Many other reviewers have lots to say about the ending (too much in my opinion, I think many are inadvertently giving away what happens). All I have to say is that I think the ending is reasonably well written, but perhaps a bit abrupt.
9 of 9 people found this review helpful
I am a huge fan of Scalzi. I knew ahead of time this would be dark. I did not know how political and down right boring it would be. Yea, I understand the whole Gods are engines thing and it is not the first time telepathy has been part of space travel. The Guildsman of Dune are probably the best known. I know reviewers don't want to be negative, but this is my money we are talking about.
12 of 13 people found this review helpful
Set in a world where man had flown to the stars on the backs of gods rather then science this short delivers a very detailed world and belief system. Scalzi has a unusual mind and this wonderful tale about belief and faith showcase it!
Kind of wish this was a much longer story.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
I've listened to 100s of audio books rarely do I down rate the performance but this one is so bad I think it actually detracts from the story