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.