I really need to stop reading books where religion plays a major role; I’m getting tired of it.  Lately, it’s been my own fault, I’ve chosen these books right?  But this time I plead ignorance (a scary word, I know); I saw this on the library’s shelf last week and didn’t have something to read next, so I brought it home.

Blasphemy by Douglas Preston pits science against religion, and in the end turns science into a religion.  At Red Mesa, on Navajo territory, the government has spent 40 billion dollars to build the most sophisitcated particle accelerator the world has seen in an attempt to rejuvinate American science.  This accelerator is lovingly dubbed Isabella, and it’s purpose is to recreate the conditions of the Big Bang, to learn about the event that started the universe, and perhaps aquire a new source of energy.  At least that’s what the public and scientists are led to believe, but Isabella’s creator, Gregory Hazelius, has something else in mind.

Soon, the government finds that Isabella is not functioning as it should, and ex-CIA man Wyman Ford (previously in Tyrannosaur Canyon) is hired by a presidential advisor to go undercover and discover why.  What he discovers is that something claiming to be God is talking to the scientists, and this voice has a mission for them.

Meanwhile, a televangelist and a crazy Born-Again Christian pastor decide that Isabella must be destroyed.  They promote their agenda by arguing that because Isabella is about researching the Big Bang, it is trying to disprove God.  What results is a mob of excited, violent fundamentalists, the threat of a nuclear explosion, and the possibility of a God that certainly is not the one Christians imagine. 

While it sounds exciting, and was in some portions, I found Blasphemy’s progress too slow.  Some days seemed like needless repeats of the ones before.  I liked the physics and science in the book, and Preston does raise some interesting questions about faith, what science might some day discover while probing the unexplored universe, and just how gullible even the most educated and intelligent of us are.


Try Blasphemy by Douglas Preston if you enjoyed his other novel, with the character Wyman Ford,  Tyrannosaur Canyon.

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2 Responses to Blasphemy

  1. mark says:

    Hello Sadie,

    I am obviously at a very different state of worldview than you, being 55 with two grown children. But like you books are one of my only vices. I bought Blasphemy for $2 at a library book sale, so I’d say I found quite a bargain. I’m thinking you might want to put it away somewhere where you’ll be sure to see it often, but don’t pick it up again for a while. When you can’t resist the urge anymore, turn immediately to the Appendix, where Mr. Preston has done us a great favor of accumulating the “words of God” in an easy to find spot. Read it again slowly, reflect on its nuances and depth of construct, and in the end ask yourself if it has provided you a framework to individually define God in a way that makes absolute and perfect sense to Sadie. I believe it does that for me, and that is a very powerful connection on the most human level. I am trying to write my first novel, but I am compelled now to digress while I “cut and paste” the Appendix into a workable pocket reference for people like me who are long-disenfranchised of revealed religions, but have had real-life experiences that leave little doubt there is a greater force at work somewhere. You sound like a pensive individual, so let me suggest two other non-fiction books when you’re ready for another dose of science/religion: M. Scott Peck’s classic “The Road Less Travelled” and what will no doubt become a classic, Richard Dawkin’s “The God Delusion.”

    Read On!

  2. Pingback: Book Review Bonanza | Sadie-Jean’s Book Blog

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