Tuesday, February 22, 2011

CSFF Blog Tour: The God Hater by Bill Myers -Review

This month, the CSFF Blog Tour is featuring Bill Myers' The God Hater. In conjunction with the CSFF Blog Tour, I received a free copy of this book from the publisher.

The God Hater is about an atheistic philosophy professor, Nicholas Mackenzie, who is asked to help with a computer program. This computer program contains an entire world and characters who think, react, and feel just like real people. The programmers believe they have thought of everything and made the program perfect. But every time they run it, the characters end up self-destructing. Nicholas reluctantly decides that they need to introduce religion into the program. But that too fails. Even giving them laws doesn't help, but instead turns them into unforgiving legalists. He is forced to realize that the characters' only hope is for someone to go into the program and show them how to live. So he steps into the program with them as a character just like himself and begins a mission to save them from themselves.

When I read the description of this book, I thought it sounded like a very cool idea and possibly a good book. I was right. This book is fascinating and touching, and it shows man's need for redemption from a Creator-like perspective. I loved reading things I'd heard before about sin, the payment for sin, redemption, and forgiveness in new terms, since most of it was in the computer program's terms. It made things fresh and made me look at them in a new way.

I only had a couple things that bothered me. One problem I had was with an inconsistency I noticed. The programmers said that the characters didn't eat food and instead survived on life units. And yet, later in the book, the characters were eating life units fried in crumbs, drinking wine, etc. Unless I misunderstood something, that was a big inconsistency.

The other thing that bothered me was the ending. Its bittersweet nature frustrated me, and it didn't end with as much resolution as I would have liked. There's a key event I was expecting that I'm upset about being left out. But that didn't diminish my overall enjoyment of the book, and the ending actually was pretty good. It just felt like it was missing something.

I connected with the characters well, especially Nicholas and Alpha 11. I could feel their inner struggles clearly, as well as Nicholas' father-like love and sadness. That was essential to making the book work, and Bill Myers did a great job.

One of my favorite quotes from the book:

"It's impossible to adequately capture every nuance of truth with words. To convey the truths of life...you have to live that life."

I recommend The God Hater to both believers and those who don't yet believe. The philosophy is presented logically and never preaches. It's an entertaining read that also makes you think.

To find out more about The God Hater, please visit the book's website or Bill Myers' Facebook page. You can also read what other people thought about The God Hater by visiting the other blogs participating in the CSFF Blog Tour. Their links are below.

Noah Arsenault
Red Bissell
Thomas Clayton Booher
Keanan Brand
Kathy Brasby
Rachel Briard
Beckie Burnham
Morgan L. Busse
Carol Bruce Collett
Valerie Comer
Karri Compton
CSFF Blog Tour
April Erwin
Amber French
Andrea Graham
Tori Greene
Katie Hart
Ryan Heart
Joleen Howell
Bruce Hennigan
Becky Jesse
Cris Jesse
Becca Johnson
Jason Joyner
Carol Keen
Emily LaVigne
Shannon McDermott
Matt Mikalatos
Rebecca LuElla Miller
John W. Otte
Sarah Sawyer
Chawna Schroeder
Andrea Schultz
Tammy Shelnut
Kathleen Smith
James Somers
Donna Swanson
Jessica Thomas
Steve Trower
Fred Warren
Dona Watson
Nicole White
Dave Wilson

Becca Johnson


UKSteve said...

I had trouble figuring out where the whole life-unit-burger concept came from too, especially as Travis went to such trouble explaining how they didn't eat because pooping took up too much processor power. Weird.

I liked the ending though. I thought it was just satisfying enough without going all Hollywood mush :)

Sarah Sawyer said...

I'm glad I wasn't the only reader befuddled by the apparent change from life-units and no food to the virtual people eating life units as food. :)

I actually didn't mind the open-ended conclusion, but then again, I wasn't very invested emotionally in the book overall, so that could be why.

Rebecca LuElla Miller said...

And I skating right by the eating thing.

The end, though, I agree could have been better. I didn't want Hollywood mush, though, and I didn't really want everything all neatly wrapped in a bow. I wanted Nicholas to have to do some real world grappling with what he'd discovered.

But I guess, that's not the book Mr. Myers wanted to write. ;-)


Becca Johnson said...

I'm also glad I wasn't the only one who noticed the life unit issue. That's okay that you missed it, Rebecca. :P It wasn't a huge deal. It just really confused me. Lol!

I am glad that the ending didn't go Hollywood mush, but I guess I'm like Rebecca. I wanted to see how Nicholas dealt with what he'd seen. I also don't feel like an allegory of the Gospel is complete without the resurrection. The resurrection was just as important as the cross. So that was my other issue with it. But at least Bill Myers included that little part in the real world at the end, which I loved. :D

UKSteve said...

Fair point, Becca: when I wrote this story I did remember to include a resurrection (grumble grumble...)

Becca Johnson said...

Lol! That's good. :)