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The God Engines Hardcover – December 31, 2009


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 136 pages
  • Publisher: Subterranean; Trade Hardcover edition (December 31, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1596062991
  • ISBN-13: 978-1596062993
  • Product Dimensions: 0.6 x 6 x 8.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (107 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #541,018 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

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. --This text refers to the MP3 CD edition.

More About the Author

John Scalzi writes books, which, considering where you're reading this, makes perfect sense. He's best known for writing science fiction, including the New York Times bestseller "Redshirts," which won the Hugo Award for Best Novel. He also writes non-fiction, on subjects ranging from personal finance to astronomy to film, was the Creative Consultant for the Stargate: Universe television series. He enjoys pie, as should all right thinking people. You can get to his blog by typing the word "Whatever" into Google. No, seriously, try it.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

82 of 85 people found the following review helpful By Peter D. Tillman VINE VOICE on January 7, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Scalzi tries something new with this long novella. He calls it dark fantasy, but it's really more science-fantasy -- the action is largely aboard an FTL starship, and the setting is an interstellar religious empire. The title is literally true -- I'm treading lightly here to avoid spoilers. The Empire is ruled by the Bishopry Militant, a rather unsavory theocracy, and the religious supernatural is at the forefront of the tale.

The God Engines is a story along the lines of Harlan Ellison's "The Deathbird " (in Deathbird Stories),
although it's less directly tied to Christianity than Ellison's classic. Scalzi does some very effective society and religion-building here. His writing is as good as ever, the tale moves along briskly, sex, violence and spaceship-battles are featured. The story becomes darker with each revelatory twist, and ends up very dark and bloody indeed. Recommended, with a caveat for the easily-squicked. I'd be surprised if Scalzi doesn't revisit this intriguing new universe.

Happy reading--
Peter D. Tillman
Review first published at SF Site, 2009
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27 of 27 people found the following review helpful By A. Lee on February 26, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Captain Tephe's ship, The Righteous, is part of a fleet traveling through space doing the will of their Lord God. Faith is everything, and the God with the most followers will be supreme. Other gods are The Defiled; they are servants only, chained and compelled to fold space so that the ships might travel from place to place. Captain Tephe's ship is sent on a hazardous mission crucial to the well-being of his god; the question is, will his faith be strong enough to succeed?

This long novella (136 pages), is a departure from Scalzi's other books, it's science fiction (space ships), but more science-fantasy (unknown powers of the gods driving the Faster-Than-Light engines). The society, built on faith, not science nor magic, is interesting, and the plot explores the strength as well as the pitfalls of relying on faith alone, through Tephe's experiences. There is certainly enough here to keep turning the pages. It's nothing too amazing or profound, but a quick and intriguing read.
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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Tom Brown on April 14, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
John Scalzi is a fantastic author and as I read this I was also enjoying his work 'Your Hate Mail will be Graded'. In 'The God Engines' he has crafted characters with complex personalities and done it with a sparsity of language that would have made Steinbeck proud. The story is imaginative and, as like all the best science fiction, thought provoking on multiple levels. It is a novella and in one sense a quick easy read, but be aware that the story is significantly bitter-sweet. I thoroughly enjoyed it.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Chris Gladis on January 1, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
There is not, to my knowledge, a whole lot of theological science fiction. Madeleine L'Engle's books may qualify, but to be honest, it's been years since I read them so I don't know. The Golden Compass books, too, but they struck me more as fantasy, seeing as how there were no spaceships. My only successful foray into National Novel Writing Month produced some theological sci-fi, but it was questionable at best and is still fermenting on my hard drive somewhere.

In any case, that is what John Scalzi has given us, and if you're a regular reader of his blog and his other books then you may find this one to be a little... off. You see, like many accomplished writers, Scalzi has a Voice, a way of writing that is immediately identifiable as his own, and which a lot of his fans have gotten used to. There's no single thing I can point to that really illustrates what this is, but trust me - it's there. A certain whip-quick sarcasm, a way of looking at old questions from a new angle and the ability to cut through the requisite fuzzy thinking that seems so endemic to the human race.

In this book, he tries on a new voice, something that sounds kind of like his, but at the same time like he's trying on something new. It's as if Jonathan Coulton started doing Manowar cover songs. It's not bad, it's just something that takes a little getting used to.

Captain Ean Tephe is the commander of a great starship, the Righteous, one of the many ships in the fleet controlled by the Bishopry Militant. He and the other captains in the fleet are charged with carrying out missions for the Bishopry in the name of their God, a being of immense power who uses the faith of millions to rule them.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Nash Android on June 16, 2012
Format: Hardcover
This is a quick read by one of my favorite contemporary science fiction writers, but it's not science fiction. It's a space fantasy. At only 136 pages in hard cover, it can be easily read on a rainy afternoon, which is what I did. It is set in a universe in which gods have replaced science. Things people once did for themselves using technology have become the purview of gods. If you want to communicate across distances (like radio), you pray for it to happen. If you wish to travel to another planet, you compel a god imprisoned by your god to move your starship. Everything on the starships, communication, life support, engines... is god-powered. Nothing happens without the direct intervention of some god, and they are not doing it to be magnanimous. The gods do not serve man. Man serves them in their competition with other gods for believers and the faith that gives them power.
This book differs much from everything else I've read by John Scalzi. In addition to being fantasy rather than science fiction, it's darker. The characters lack the ineffable charm that I've come to expect from Scalzi's creations and there are few if any smiles invoked by the book. It includes a fairly detailed sex scene and graphic violence. I imagine it is intended as a social commentary but I can't say the message it is trying to convey was clear to me.
I thoroughly enjoyed many of Scalzi's other works including his `Old Man Goes to War' series and `Fuzzy Nation.' I've ordered `Redshirts' and eagerly await its arrival. I can't honestly say I enjoyed this particular story much, but the setting and characters were interesting, and the art between the chapters of the hard cover edition are a nice addition. It kept me reading, but I much prefer Scalzi's science fiction.
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