Will they come as an invasion force with enough firepower to obliterate the planet?
Will they land in Washington, demanding to speak with American political leaders?
Will they hover over the Nevada desert, stealing into our bedrooms at night and abducting our partners and children as subjects for their gruesome medical experiments?
Are they already walking amongst us, undetected, disguised as our own kind for reconnaissance and infiltration purposes?
According to Robert J. Sawyer's Calculating God: No, no, no and no. The aliens have landed, but not in the United States. They've landed outside the Royal Ontario Museum in the heart of Toronto, Canada, and they want to speak to a palaeontologist.
Thomas Jericho, director of palaeontology at the ROM, is just as surprised as everyone else by the visitors from Beta Hydri III and their companions from Delta Pavonis II. Surely the Earth can put forth a better candidate for interplanetary diplomacy than himself! The visiting Forhilnors and Wreeds, however, are not interested in public relations. They have come in search of God and feel that Earth's fossil record will help them in their quest.
Thomas and a Forhilnor by the name of Hollus are soon working together, learning from one another about each other's worlds and debating the whole God question. (The Forhilnor's and Wreeds believe that the existence of God is a scientific fact, but Thomas is an atheist.) Through this relationship, Sawyer not only dives into a fascinating examination of evidence for the existence of God but also an examination of humanity's various interpretations of the nature of God and the ramifications which differing beliefs concerning the nature and existence of God have on our relationships to one another.
Set firmly within contemporary Toronto. locals to the region will find themselves smiling at many comments and jibes specific to the city and the province of Ontario, but readers with no first hand knowledge of Toronto will still resonate with Sawyer's sharp-witted commentary on our social condition.
Calculating God is an intelligent read, full of humour, compassion, and thought provoking ideas.