When the brilliant scientist Professor Marek invents an atomic engine, "The Karburator", capable of producing abundant and practically free energy, the world is delighted. But the work of the Karburator comes with a byproduct: the engine releases the Absolute, the spiritual stuff of which God himself is made. Soon atheists find themselves appalled at their powers of miraculous healing, barge stokers become spiritual leaders and churches, temples and mosques find themselves homes to very real gods. With every belief and nation finding that it really does have God on its side, the world is soon plunged into conflict.
With a story that covers the whole globe and is filled with a wide-ranging and wonderful cast of characters - from Professor Marek, appalled at his own invention, to industrialist GH Bondy who fills the world with Karburators and bits of God even as he himself flees to the high hills, via bargemen, bishops, roustabouts and a humble French soldier who finds himself briefly King of Europe - the beak features all Capek's characteristic wit and humanity, The Absolute at Large is a brilliant, hilarious and prescient satire upon humanity's attitudes towards science, politics and God(s) while taking in religious war and energy crises. As such it is perhaps more relevant to the world we live in now than it has ever been. In the words of GH Bondy himself, "God is far too big ... everyone measures off a certain amount of Him ... and then thinks he possesses the whole ... In order to convince himself that God is wholly his, he has to go off and kill all the others".