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on December 21, 2017
One big element in this book is the culture war between religion (specifically American evangelical right) and science. This seems more timely than ever. There is also a truer spiritual core that insinuates to the story through the character of Kat. It was not obvious to me where the various threads were leading until towards the end, and frankly I was a little worried, but the revelations were satisfying.

This is very much a novel of ideas. I guess it is science fiction in the sense that it is fiction where somewhat imaginary science plays a major role.

Some of the science is dodgy, but in a way it is meant to be, and I think there was a discussion about free will that was not quite right (I would have to look it up to make sure). In the end we get an idea of what the soul is and how it works. Does it hold up? Read and decide for yourself. At least it is a poetic notion.
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on July 22, 2013
"The God Patent" by Ransom Stephens tackles a subject that has been widely debated for hundreds, if not thousands of years - how do religion and science fit together. The main character, Ryan McNear, and his long-time and bible-thumping friend, Foster Reed, develop two patents that are based in technology, but mixed with a generous dose of Christianity. The patents were put together on a lark to gain bonuses from the company the duo worked for at the time. Unbelievably, the patents were approved. Even though they made it past the patent office, Ryan never thought the patents held any value; a sentiment not shared by Foster Reed. Foster Reed starts developing technology based on the patents, trying to create a technology that would forever change science and religion.

"The God Patent" is interesting, with engaging characters, but the development of the story was too slow for my tastes. It took me about half the book before I truly became interested. At that point, I didn't want to put it down. It took me three days to read the first half and one evening to read the rest.

The characters in the book are well written, but Ryan McNear isn't as likable as he should be. His backstory was too rough. The mistakes he made in the past limited how much I could root for him to win. I want to root for the protagonist, but I could barely muster any enthusiasm for Ryan McNear. All humans make mistakes, but his were severe and I almost didn't want him to dig himself out of the hole he was in. I felt I would have liked the book much more if Ryan McNear was a better guy. I actually liked the character Dodge Nutter more. He was constantly described as sleazy and untrustworthy, but despite always looking to con people, he often helped out the less fortunate - Ryan McNear being one of them.

I wanted to love "The God Patent", but I just couldn't. It started out slow, but picked up steam and that's fine as long as it finishes strong. Unfortunately, I found the ending to be a complete let down. It would spoil the book if I said anything further, so I won't. I don't think the ending would spoil it for everyone though, so don't use that as an excuse not to read it. Despite the flaws with the characters and story, I still liked the book, just not loved it.

3/5 Stars
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on November 25, 2013
I bought this book, and read it all the way through, but I felt a bit cheated, because it was listed as science fiction, and it is not science fiction. I agree with the other reviewers who point out that the story appears to have been a little out of the author's control. The characters are indeed delineated in quite an interesting way, but the idea of the patent itself sort of falls flat; this is not a book about patents as such. And it definitely is not science fiction!
4 people found this helpful
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on November 5, 2010
This was an interesting and thoughtful read that combines science and religion. Ryan McNear and Foster Reed are hot shot engineers during the dot com boom and subsequently write two patents that forever change their lives. One patent is a rewrite of Genesis so to speak and is a design o create energy from nothing - as in Genesis. The other patent is an algorithm for the soul. Ransom Stephens includes a bit of simple quantum physics mixed with artificial intelligence and religion, begging the question: Can they be reconciled? There were some interesting ideas postulated in this story. I also really enjoyed the vivid characters Stephens paints. I really enjoyed getting to know Ryan and Kat. They are quite an unlikely pair, but it really works in the book. I think the characters are the best part about this novel. There was also a small twist at the end that I didn't see coming. All in all, it's enjoyable and thought provoking.
10 people found this helpful
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on August 5, 2013
Aside from the fact that I didn't understand any of the mathematical formulas, I didn't think most of the major characters were very well fleshed out. The author needs to let the reader in on what's going on with the characters even if the other characters in the book don't know. If the reader knew more about the characters, then their actions would be better understood. I had no idea why the Texas wife had a boob job. From reading the book, for all I knew maybe all wives in Texas have boob jobs. Then the real reason was sort of all summed up in one sentence towards the end of the book. Also some of the well-meaning parenting of poor Kat came across as insufferably boring. I say the author should keep going to his writing group and maybe he will get better.
2 people found this helpful
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on April 9, 2014
Overall I was intrigued enough to continue reading til the end because Im a ' big questions' kinda girl and love to think about what possibly happens when we die, ( other than the body decomposing) ...what is the 'soul' etc.... BTW, Im an RN so over the years have been up close to people dying in addition to losing my own loved ones over the years ...... I remember learning somewhere along the line that per physics, " energy" cannot 'die' ...it can only change form. Sometimes that is a comforting thought but other times it's confusing to me.
The odd thing to me about this book is on one hand the author lost me a few time with all the mathematical equation discussions etc.....and the 14 y.o was apparently a mathematical genius, yet he also lost me with the ( to me) somewhat weak character development. It wasn't that I "liked " or didn't "like" any of the characters, but ,well, they were just kind of blah in a literary way.....i enjoy books where I swear I'd KNOW the character if I saw him/ her and these appeared a bit too neatly stereotyped ( for lack of better word) ...yet the science/math/ physics stuff seemed over my head as an average Jane. I guess Im glad I read it. It didnt really hit me with any earth-shattering epiphanies ..... But ....my dear elderly mom died this past year and Ive been drawn to ANY book that even attempts to mention what happens when we die. So, without giving away the ending, I HAVE been thinking about Kat's "theory" or belief and am kind of seeing it.....it sounds nice anyway.
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on June 28, 2010
Two guys, who work for a company that will pay for any patents they can own, have some fun writing two clever and absurd patents. One is some artificial neural net mumbo-jumbo, claiming to invent the soul, and the other is for an infinite power source that God used to create the universe. But the joke goes too far: the patents are granted and some dangerous people take them with deadly seriousness.

Can something special be made out of this nutty plot? The answer is 'yes'. This is a most unusual book. The author, Ransom Stephens, fills it with very appealing characters, including the hero, Ryan, who has to navigate this crazy situation to get his life back; Emily Nutter, a physicist modeled on the actual physicist/mathematician Emily Noether, who proved a theorem relating symmetry to conservation laws that is at the heart of modern particle physics; her brother, an outrageously devious lawyer who is always able to find an angle that best suits him; and a wild 13-year old mathematical genius. The tale moves forward as Ryan gets deeper and deeper into the mess, with everyone working at cross-purposes.

Stephens, an experimental particle physicist, obviously has great fun with the entire situation, using his characters to argue all sides of the eternal controversies -- physical, religious, philosophical, digital. He even manages to include Feynman diagrams in the story, perhaps a first for a novel. It all miraculously hangs together, and I enjoyed every page. There are very few novels that I would read twice, but this is one of them.
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on July 25, 2012
I was lucky enough to interview Ransom Stephens for Podioracket.com. I was so intrigued with his story concept I ran right over to Amazon and bought The God Patent not wanting to wait for the audio version to be released at Podiobooks.com. From page one this story was a blend of science and biblical extremism that makes for a plot I could really wrap my head around. The big question, "Does man have a soul or a spark that we call GOD?" This was a thought provoking read steeped in well developed characters and a plot that had me rooting for them.
Ryan the damaged techy captured my interest not because he was lost in his troubles but because his troubles were lost within him. Bad choices and non-ownership of those choices build this character into someone worthy of a second chance at life. Oddly enough, Katarina is that chance, the goth/hippy skate rat headed for trouble after the loss of her father to death and her mother to grief surprises even the renowned particle physicist Emmy with her brilliance. Dodge the greedy landlord/lawyer works the angles for personal gain and he is a character you will love to hate right along with the evangelical nut bags who are playing at being god.
Ransom took his time developing the characters, but I loved that about the read. I felt like I knew them or that they could be people I have known. I feared I would be in over my head with the quantum physics aspects we had discussed in the interview but the way in which Stephens created this story even made that easy and the ending was a total surprise.
Defiantly worth the read.
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on August 22, 2013
It might have been. Parts of it were interesting. Parts were tedious. Some of the characters were charicatures. The ending was nicely written, but didn't really resolve any of the issues brought up, along the way...except you weren't going to get answers.
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on July 16, 2015
An interesting and novel approach to the science/religion conflict. Some very good characters and character development and a good demonstration of what happens when an author tries to turn science into philosophy and equate people with particles. The entire effort turns into a syrupy blob of mush. Stephens should have stopped 2/3 of the way through, since he did not I advise that you do.
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