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4.3 out of 5 stars13
4.3 out of 5 stars
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on 17 June 2010
I must confess that as a Scalzi fan - I thought "The Androids Dream" magnificent, not to mention the "Old Man's War" trilogy - I couldn't wait to read this. What a disappointment ! 136 pages of large print - with opening lines of each chapter in Even Larger Print - some very dodgy drawings - and several blank pages - pad out what would hardly make a short story into a very threadbare novelette, not worth the asking price. I can't deny there are some brilliant ideas (what else would one expect from Scalzi ?) but my overall impression was that he couldn't be bothered to expand them into a proper novel. Maybe he had something better to do, but that's hardly fair on us fans of his writing. So overall: save your monmey, don't buy this. Something better will turn up soon..... something that will take longer than an hour to read.
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on 25 August 2010
This novella, which took me a whole 40 minutes to devour in detail, has all the elements necessary for a fantasy tour-de-force, including (without wishing to spoil the pleasure of any determined reader) at least three elements new to me and, I suspect, most (potential) readers.
What is painfully and obviously lacking is any credible background. Yes, I know it's labelled as fantasy, but even - no, make that especially - good fantasy has a logical and consistent structure which, while not necessarily spelled out in the story, supports and informs it. The 'Deus ex Machina' denouement also lets the piece down. I can't escape the feeling that Scalzi wasn't really trying with this one.
On the plus side, the story is well paced and exhibits Scalzi's usual felicitous style.
All in all, then, a piece worthy of inclusion in an anthology, or as the outline for a major work; this is not worth a book, and particularly not a hardback. As a fellow reviewer said, this is one to borrow from the library.
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on 19 July 2010
Nearly fantastic - but too short and expensive.
I enjoyed it but it was too short. I have also heard the 'main idea' before from Terry Pratchett (small goods) and Neil Gaiman (American Gods). Never-the-less, I still enjoyed it.
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on 2 June 2016
This was a very interesting read. The novel idea of using captured Gods to power starships really pulled me into the story. The breadth and depth of the story was surprising, given the length of the novella; I was impressed with how John Scalzi was able to create such distinct and interesting characters in such a short amount of space.

The story was well-paced and it certainly kept my attention. Howard Tayler, Brandon Sanderson, Dan Wells, and Mary Robinette Kowal set me onto this in the Writing Excuses episode Season 11, Episode 10 - Idea as Genre, and I can certainly see the strong sense of 'idea' fueling the story. I found one of the most fascinating elements of the book to be the strength of belief and, ultimately, disbelief as driving forces of society.

The book is rather difficult to get hold of in print format, but if you can source a print copy, please get it. The binding and style of the Subterranean Press guys just feels solid and well-made.

Overall, I liked the book. It was a novel approach to an interesting story, and I would advise anyone who has a particular interest in Science Fiction to take a look, if only to get a sense of Scalzi's ability to convey idea and story in short, snappy, but gripping prose.
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on 25 January 2010
Yet again John Scalzi pushes the boundaries of science fiction with this short pace setting novel set in the far future where technology is lost, and starships are powered by enslaved Gods, tended to by a less than open priesthood and deity. Imagine captains, navigators and their crews of the 15th Century and all the superstitions of the time plunged thousands of years hence piloting spaceships with a faith born of ignorance and dread. Convert the heathen for the Glory of Our Lord! If John Scalzi was the architect of the Matrix, you'd want to live it, go on take the `blue pill' while the characters in The God Engines take the `red pill'.
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on 20 August 2014
Not a lover of novella but this one really was fantastic there is so much in the story not a single sentence is wasted and while i would love to read more about this Universe the story was complete in its own right. Price was far too expensive as many people have commented on but i could not even moan too much about this because i loved the story so much.
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on 14 February 2010
I am generally sceptical about short fiction and novellas. Not because i believe them to be worse than full fleged novels, but rather because their ideas often tend to get lost in the grander work of their authors. There're quite a few exceptions of course, this being one of them.

Once again Scalzi enchants his readers into the athmosphere and depth of a distinct universe with it's own rules and boundaries. Except he accomplished in 'mere' 130 sides what others often fail to do in a couple of thousands. It starts and ends with certain values and concepts worth thinking about (and also a good portion of mildy hidden biting sarcasm).

Thanks again, for a well spend time Mr. Scalzi !

Absolutly worth recommending for anyone liking his previous works.
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on 22 May 2015
If only it was a novel! Brilliant concept/universe, and over too soon.
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on 7 March 2013
Due to the short story/novella length I can only give this item 4 stars. I loved the storytelling and the atmosphere, but it all ended far too soon.

Probably not recommended if you have a weak stomach, some of it gets a bit horrid.
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on 20 October 2012
This was really 3.5 stars for me, but I'll be generous. :) (It should probably be noted that I'm a fan of the author from his blog, so perhaps more inclined to be so.)

I did enjoy this novella, and found the premise of captured gods powering space travel (among other things) very intriguing. The God Engines is hard to categorise - despite the fantasy elements, it still felt a lot like sci fi for me. It was a quick read, and despite its shortness I thought the characterisations were good. It was also quite dark in places, which I wasn't really expecting - but it suited the setting and the plot. World-building was a bit thinner than I would have liked - I wanted to know more about the setting and history, but that would have required a full length novel. As it is, I think the story suited the shorter length (and vice versa).

I wouldn't suggest reading this if you only like sunny, optimistic stories - but otherwise, recommended.
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