The God Engines

  • by John Scalzi
  • Narrated by Christopher Lane
  • 3 hrs and 15 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

Captain Ean Tephe is a man of faith, whose allegiance to his lord and to his ship is uncontested. The Bishopry Militant knows this — and so, when it needs a ship and crew to undertake a secret, sacred mission to a hidden land, Tephe is the captain to whom the task is given.
Tephe knows from the start that his mission will be a test of his skill as a leader of men and as a devout follower of his god. It’s what he doesn’t know that matters: to what ends his faith and his ship will ultimately be put — and that the tests he will face will come not only from his god and the Bishopry Militant, but from another, more malevolent source entirely....
Author John Scalzi has ascended to the top ranks of modern science fiction with the best-selling, Hugo-nominated novels Old Man’s War and Zoe’s Tale. Now he tries his hand at fantasy, with a dark and different novella that takes your expectations of what fantasy is and does, and sends them tumbling.
Say your prayers... and behold The God Engines.


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Original Concept, Somber Tone

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.
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- Michael


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.
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- Jim "The Impatient"

Book Details

  • Release Date: 12-15-2010
  • Publisher: Brilliance Audio