Friday, August 13, 2010

Blasphemy by Douglas Preston

I felt like I was perhaps missing something as I read this novel by Preston. The protagonist, Ford Wyman, has a past, referred to every so often, that felt like it must have been explored in a previous novel. I may have to search a bit to find out if he published one, perhaps in conjunction with Lincoln Child. The only solo novel mentioned by Preston was Tyrannosaur Canyon, so it may be told in that one.

Former CIA operative Ford Wyman has hung up his shingle as a private investigator recently, and he is contacted by a presidential aide to investigate strange doings at a new supercollider site in New Mexico. The supercollider, nicknamed Isabella by the scientists who built and operate it, should have come online and begun producing results, but there are evidently glitches in the software causing mysterious delays, and the Navajo tribe on whose land it was built are getting restless, as well.

Shortly after Wyman arrives on site, one of the scientists is either murdered or commits suicide, adding a level of complexity to his investigation. He also encounters Kate, an old lover from his college days, who is part of the project, and must try to build on their prior relationship to get information.

The Navajo tribe just fired the lobbyist in Washington, DC who helped get the project removed, and he decides to stir up the pot to get their business back by contacting the Reverend Don Spates, telling him that the purpose of the project is to disprove biblical Creation. Spates, whose popularity has been fading after being caught with two prostitutes recently, sees a golden opportunity to boost his tv ratings and raise more money by publicly denouncing Isabella to his audience.

The secret that the scientists are keeping to themselves is that when the supercollider is running at full power some sort of entity appears on the computer screens, claiming to be God. As Wyman and the scientists begin to ask questions, the answers are interesting. "God" claims that the universe is a vast experimental equation, playing out over time. The conflict between this information and the Christian worldview plays a major part in the unfolding drama.

Ok, so the idea that the universe is a huge mathematical construct is one that I discussed with my fellow college students more than thirty years ago in dorm bull sessions. Couldn't Preston have come up with something more unique for "God" to reveal? Also, Preston's depiction of the Christian response to scientific inquiry seemed a bit hackneyed and media-generated. An ok read, but nothing earth-shattering, really.

1 comment:

Michelle Greathouse said...

Hi. Found your blog through the hop. I'm a new follower. :)

Have a great weekend.