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Clifford D Simak - Project Pope

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Posted by Kvetch (3rd Dec 2005, 21:42)

Since I bullied the library into purchasing this book, I felt honour-bound to actually read it. It wasn't worth it.

The premise is as follows: Far in the furture, a group of human-built robots decide to construct an infallbile mechanical Pope, to deduce the true religion of the universe. To do this, they employ human psychics who trawl the length of space-time to gather data. This goes on happily for hundereds of years, until one of the Listeners stumbles upon Heaven - which send the whole project into a philosophical nosedive.

The plot has three strands - the political interactions of the various factions at Project Pope, the quasi-philosophical discussions about religion/morality, and the space travel/exploration theme of the protagonists, first as they are introduced to the massively odd Project Pope, and then as they attempt to reach Heaven physically.

I found the book dissatisfying, since the politics were simplistic, and the authorial voice and every single character seemed perfectly prepared to believe that an absolute system of morals exists. This differs to much from my own world view for me to accept without a bit of defense, and the exploration theme isn't stong enough to stand on it's own right.

The book wasn't badly written, and had a fairly good premise, but it could have been much better, perhaps as a short story, and there are many many better books out there.


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