Have one to sell? Sell yours here
Sorry, this item is not available in
Image not available for
Image not available

Tell the Publisher!
I’d like to read this book on Kindle

Don't have a Kindle? Get your Kindle here, or download a FREE Kindle Reading App.

Calculating God [Mass Market Paperback]

Robert Sawyer
3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)

Available from these sellers.


Amazon Price New from Used from
Hardcover --  
Paperback £10.13  
Mass Market Paperback, July 2001 --  
MP3 CD, Audiobook £25.25  
Audio Download, Unabridged £14.00 or Free with Audible.co.uk 30-day free trial

Book Description

July 2001
Calculating God is the new near-future SF thriller from the popular and award-winning Robert J. Sawyer. An alien shuttle craft lands outside the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto. A six-legged, two-armed alien emerges, who says, in perfect English, "Take me to a paleontologist." It seems that Earth, and the alien's home planet, and the home planet of another alien species traveling on the alien mother ship, all experienced the same five cataclysmic events at about the same time (one example of these "cataclysmic events" would be the meteor that wiped out the dinosaurs). Both alien races believe this proves the existence of God: i.e. he's obviously been playing with the evolution of life on each of these planets. From this provocative launch point, Sawyer tells a fast-paced, and morally and intellectually challenging, SF story that just grows larger and larger in scope. The evidence of God's universal existence is not universally well received on Earth, nor even immediately believed. And it reveals nothing of God's nature. In fact. it poses more questions than it answers. When a supernova explodes out in the galaxy but close enough to wipe out life on all three home-worlds, the big question is, Will God intervene or is this the sixth cataclysm: ? "Calculating God" is SF on the grand scale. "Calculating God" is a 2001 Hugo Award Nominee for Best Novel.

Customers Who Viewed This Item Also Viewed

Product details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Pan Macmillan; First Mass Market Edition edition (July 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0812580354
  • ISBN-13: 978-0812580358
  • Product Dimensions: 17.6 x 11.1 x 2.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,111,725 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Robert J. Sawyer has been described as Canada's answer to Michael Crichton. Critically acclaimed in the US he is regarded as one of SF's most significant writers and his novels are regularly voted as fan's favourites. He lives in Canada.

Product Description


"It's hard to think of a modern science-fiction author with dreams as vast as those of the internationally acclaimed Robert J. Sawyer."--"The Toronto Star""Is Sawyer Canada's answer to Michael Crichton? Very possibly yes."--"Montreal Gazette"

Sell a Digital Version of This Book in the Kindle Store

If you are a publisher or author and hold the digital rights to a book, you can sell a digital version of it in our Kindle Store. Learn more

What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
14 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Occupational Health issues for paleontologists?? 17 Feb 2004
By Stephen A. Haines HALL OF FAME
Format:Mass Market Paperback
This is speculative fiction at its very best. Sawyer addresses fundamental questions with a clarity rarely approached by today's fiction writers. Why are there 'forces' in nature which exceed all logic? We've accepted gravity and electromagnetism for centuries. The strong and weak nuclear forces have been deduced. None of these forces truly make sense. They can be measured, but they can't be known. Atomic nuclei should fly apart and the issue of light as wave or particle remains unresolved. So why do these abnormal phenomena exist? Whell, it turns out that's what the Sprite used to make Nature work.
Sawyer has updated the old philosophy of Deism. Concerned by their inability to reconcile Biblical dogma with what was being observed in nature, 18th Century thinkers simply pushed the Judeo-Christian god further into the background. The god had wound up the clock of the universe, then sat back observing what transpired. Sawyer has adapted this idea to accommodate the findings of modern scientific revelations. It's an impressive achievement.
His research is visible on every page - either he has a stunning library, or owes a bag of money to the local public one. Richard Dawkins, Daniel Dennett, Timothy Ferris are all here along with Gregory Paul and Earl Cox [Beyond Humanity - read it]. Even Terry Pratchett puts in an appearance. Sawyer's science is solid - it's clear he's no amateur. He doesn't have to make anything up - the realities of Nature are bizarre enough. He merely stirs in some fresh ideas about possible alien life forms and life styles. And what they might be like if the whole shebang was actually initiated by The Sprite instead of a random singularity.
There's some heavy irony and a few anomalies here.
Read more ›
Was this review helpful to you?
6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Gets your mind racing 11 Nov 2005
Format:Mass Market Paperback|Verified Purchase
So compelling are the ideas in this book that you find yourself almost wishing it were a true story! As someone else said, speculative science done very very well. Particularly exciting is the way he developed the alienc character, introducing the various gestures it uses that are equivalent to some of ours, and the history of it's planet and race. Wonderfully imaginative stuff.
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Robert Sawyer has a subtle humor, and maybe this book that shows this best. I like it very much, because humor and SF are not seen very often together. It starts with an alien landing on Earth who is not interested at all in talking to our "leaders", but just wants to talk to a paleontologist. The really funny thing however is that Sawyer takes arguments that are normally used to proof evolution theory and uses them to proof the existence of god. I guess that a professional geologist or paleontologist can show where his story is wrong, but if you are not one of them, then the story is quite intriguing. I don't think that the book is pro-creationism, as some reviewers do. The paleontologist does start to have doubts, but they are at least in part emotional and caused by his fatal illness.
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
1.0 out of 5 stars Absolutely awful 9 Feb 2014
By Davide
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I don't lightly give a one star review. I like sci fi, and even a flawed novel can be enjoyable. This book isn't just flawed, it is atrocious. It comprises a series of high school science lectures loosely held together with an unconvincing plot. Not only does the author fail to sustain any interest in his characters or what will happen to them, he seems constitutionally incapable or letting much happen in his book. Now, loose slow plots don't guarantee a boring book - but in this case they surely produce one. Do yourself a favour and find something else to read: this is by far the worst book I have come across in the last few years, and you might well feel the same way...
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting premise 20 Dec 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
So the alien that lands outside the geology museum believes in God. The geologist with whom he wishes to do research (on epoch-ending events) isn't. Cue an enjoyable and unusual SF novel with fun characters and plenty to think about, especially the Anthropic Argument. There are shades of Olaf Stapledon in his cosmology, which is high praise.

I enjoyed this book. It's not four or five stars because the plotting gets creaky in places and I wondered if he'd been guilty either of some injudicious spicing up of the plot, or an editor had some made some not-so-good suggestions which he had enacted. But it's good fun, and would be a particularly good book to sit round with friends and discuss.
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
4.0 out of 5 stars An Alien Walks into a Museum... 28 Dec 2011
By John M. Ford TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Audio Download
An alien space shuttle lands in front of the Royal Ontario Museum and a large, spider-like alien climbs out. It negotiates the stairs and the front door and walks unhurriedly up to the information desk. In articulate, unaccented English, the alien asks to speak with a paleontologist. The security guard on duty directs the alien to the office of Tom Jericho, paleontologist. And so it begins...

The alien, Hollus, is from the crew of a spaceship traveling to several worlds in search of answers. Why are some habitable worlds empty, seemingly abandoned by races that once lived there? Why have massive "extinction events" occurred simultaneously in the histories of Earth and the home planet of the visiting aliens? Hollus looks for part of the answer in Earth's fossil record.

As they work together, Hollus and Tom learn about each other. To Tom's astonishment, Hollus believes firmly in God, persuaded by the "argument from design" accepted by many Earth theologians. There must be a creator because the universe seems so carefully designed. Tom and Hollus debate this issue while they work. This part of the book presents a balanced review of creationist versus evolutionist thought. Hollus's creationism is a scientific position, leaving the debate untainted by our society's social baggage. Tom's atheism is well-argued, and flavored with personal observations and admissions. The author plays fair by not giving the aliens any argument-trumping new knowledge supporting their views.

As the story nears its conclusion, the nature of God becomes a more immediate and personal issue. I won't spoil the plot by saying more.

I enjoyed the book immensely, and recommend it to fellow science fiction fans.
Read more ›
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
Would you like to see more reviews about this item?
Were these reviews helpful?   Let us know
Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
just received book good condition
Published 1 month ago by Arthur _efc
5.0 out of 5 stars Blows your mind
what an author ! I have read a few of Robert Sawyers' books and each one has made me question everything.
Published 13 months ago by Dorothy Rogerson
4.0 out of 5 stars Science News Rehash and Evolution/Creation Debate
While Sawyer has a number of novels published, this is my first exposure to his work simply because it is a Nebula award-winner. Read more
Published on 11 Oct 2011 by M-I-K-E 2theD
5.0 out of 5 stars Intelligent, amusing, thoughtful and a refreshing SF read.
This is the first book of Sawyer's I have read and it won't be the last. Sawyer presents arguments in a very amusing way and I often wonder if the aliens in the novel are supposed... Read more
Published on 26 May 2011 by Saint Frisky
1.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing
I regret buying this book. It is badly structured, has poor character development and reads like a creationist tract. Best avoided.
Published on 1 Aug 2009 by Greenbirch
1.0 out of 5 stars Oh no, not again!
Having read 5 other novels by Sawyer so far, I concluded on page 30 of 'Calculating God' that it is yet another of Sawyer's attempts to appologize for religion with a coating of... Read more
Published on 15 May 2008 by G. Kleinhans
3.0 out of 5 stars Too short and simplistic
Although Sawyer makes some interesting speculations, I thought his treatment of them far too shallow. Read more
Published on 12 Feb 2007 by Amazon Customer
Search Customer Reviews
Only search this product's reviews

Customer Discussions

This product's forum
Discussion Replies Latest Post
No discussions yet

Ask questions, Share opinions, Gain insight
Start a new discussion
First post:
Prompts for sign-in

Search Customer Discussions
Search all Amazon discussions

Look for similar items by category