Robert J. Sawyer
Tor, Mar 3 2009, $14.95
Hollus the arachnid space traveler arrives on earth in Toronto. The “ET” enters the Royal Ontario Museum stating: “Take me to a paleontologist”. She has come to the third planet to discuss her people’s empirical evidence of the existence of God that they share with another alien race; her mission is to find other sentient species in order to add data supporting their theory.
Hollus meets dinosaur expert atheist Dr. Thomas Jericho. She explains to the earth scientist that on her homeworld and that of another planet five extinction events occurred concurrently; they hypothesized based on that limited data that these events have occurred on every planet with sentient life throughout the galaxy. She explains to the stunned Canadian, who still struggles with meeting an alien, the grand unifying theory of Creationism. Hollus finally makes the case that science has one goal: CALCULATING GOD in order “to discover why God has behaved as he has and to determine his methods”.
Although most of this profound science fiction novel is passive as the two scientists debate the existence of God, this is a terrific tale that will have the audience pondering how they would we react if an ET arrived with strong empirical evidence that God exists. The story line mostly focuses on Hollus the believer and Thomas the non-believer who wants to believe as he is dying from cancer. There is also a limited but fascinating look at the reactions of various people from the Intelligent Design crowd to the Darwinists and all sorts in between who have their own agendas. Fans of cerebral science fiction will relish the visit from a theistic evolutionary ET spider.