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The story calls into question theexistence and the nature of God. What might God be if mankind can create a universe? Matthews is a master storyteller. Any reader who picks up this book will be hard pressed to put it down. --Thomas Anthony Longo
Being an avid fan of Edgar Cayce as well as Einstein - this is a book Iam reading again with my 13 year old son. It is the quintessentialquestion - who is "creating" with us and what is really important inlife? --Kathe Wilson
In my 67 years I've read literally thousands of books with only a few I enjoyed as much as The Little Universe. --Ken Cox
From the Author
We all think about the meaning of life. Some of us think about the expansiveness of the universe and our place within it. This book is my effort to bridge those concepts in ways that anyone can relate to. I hope you'll enjoy it.
NOTE: This review was originally published on Red Adept Reviews on March 22, 2011.
Overall: 4 1/2 stars
Plot/Storyline: 4 1/2 stars
This was quite an inventive story. I don't know how realistic the science was (don't worry, the author kept it very simple), but it made for a marvelous story. As the little universe (it fit in a large room) expanded, the scientists found a number of planets with intelligent life. Most of these planets advanced their technology over time, but on one planet, the people and the technology never changed. When the secret of the planet was discovered, it challenged the scientists' beliefs and changed their lives forever.
The author described some fascinating planets in the micro-universe that Webster Adams created. It was interesting to observe how the planets' peoples and technologies changed every time the scientists "fast forwarded" time.
In the end, the author dealt with some weighty philosophical and spiritual issues. The New Age concepts that came into play may or may not be your cup of tea, but it was thought-provoking, to say the least.
Characters: 4 1/2 stars
The characters were well defined and were likable. Webster Adams befriended Jon Gruber, a local carpenter, and they completed the construction of the Universe Generator. Adams's daughter Whitney joined the team, and she and Jon developed a close relationship. Frank Maxwell, a financier, and two of his staff members, Jessica Baxter and Ian Nessen, completed the human team. The characters' relationships with each other provided much of the drama and the tension. There was also an artificial intelligence (AI) computer, nicknamed "Jim." Initially, I though Jim was a little cheesy (think of the robot in Lost in Space), but ultimately Jim did have an important role to play.
Writing style: 4 1/2 stars
The author's style was polished and professional. The story could have been filled with heavy duty science, but to the author's credit, he kept it simple and focused on the story and the characters.
Editing: 4 1/2 stars
I found only a handful of typos and grammatical errors. Formatting for the Kindle was very good.
I really loved the first quarter of the book. The story was highly interesting and I also liked the writing style very much, as opposed to some other sci-fi novels I had read shortly before. The story had a lot of potential, and I was eagerly reading on. However, instead of building upon the happenings of the first quarter, the second quarter was just more of the same. About halfway through the book, the story turned to spirituality, and eventually, that was all it was about. For about the last third of the book, it really was no longer a science fiction story but probably just a way for the author to tell us there is a God and we should all be less selfish and start to work on improving our souls. At least that's the impression I got. I would have so loved if after the first quarter the story would have built upon the stuff the researchers had discovered and introduced some real life consequences of a dramatic sort. Now spiritualists among you will probably say that's just what happened, but I'm thinking more of the line of a technical / political / environmental sort. I guess I'm more like Frank who sold the technology to the military instead of Whitney who wanted to be like the Thetans. I'm not looking for a cheap catastrophe-type novel, but the idea of a mini-universe being created within a laboratory, and of finding a planet whose inhabitants are even more technologically advanced than the creators of said universe had so much potential that was simply left untouched. I've now read through 80% of the story in 3 days, and at that point I don't really care what happens in the last 20%, though I'll still finish reading the book tomorrow.
"All stories are true. Some stories happened." But not all stories are believable.
The Little Universe by Jason Matthews rings true. Nobody would argue that it happened, but with a stretch, it's remotely believable that it could. In my opinion, believability is beyond the point in this case. This is science fiction with a spiritual twist and an in-depth exploration of human nature. Matthews' characters sizzle with life, bringing fears, doubts, desires and ethical issues popping to the foreground as vividly as if they involved people around your dinner table. The carefully crafted novel is a first-rate laboratory for exploring truth, however you perceive it.
Perhaps the most amazing aspect of the book is the way it explores cosmic issues of the origin of the universe and the path Earthlings are following without any specific doctrinal agenda. Readers are left to draw their own conclusions and interpret the outcome through the lenses of their own beliefs. This book is an excellent choice for book clubs and others wanting a neutral ground for fascinating discussion. Even if you don't buy into all the concepts, you'll enjoy the human interest aspect of the story line.
The story quickly develops by focusing on the 2 main characters and before you know it, you can't put the book down. What if you could recreate the big bang in a lab? What could you learn? What are the ethical considerations once you've create a universe that has intelligent life in it?
While the book is sci fi, it covers far more ground than that. All the while the characters continue to grow and conflicts arise. Yet the story keeps moving. Add a few twists and turns as the story comes to its climax and you have a real winner.
There is a reason why people keep giving this book 5 stars. Because it is worth it. Anytime you have a story this engrossing that makes you stop and think. Or makes you think about it while you are not reading it must be on to something. And this book certainly is.