Dr. Nicholas MacKenzine is a brilliant professor of philosophy, one of the last hold-outs against the onslaught of modern technology, and a man whose greatest sport is to demolish the faith of the young students who entrust their minds to him. Oddly enough, his best and perhaps only friend is Annie Brooks: professor of biological sciences, single mother, and wounded yet still faithful believer. In spite of their differences the two have a common denominator in Annie’s five-year-old son. That and the fact Annie is the only person who is not intimidated by the philosophical bullying of the man who could rightfully be nicknamed The God Hater.
When Nicholas is contacted by his computer hacker brother who has spent much of his adult life in trouble with the law, everything he has taught as philosophical theory finds a venue to become alarmingly close to reality. Bankrolled by a mega-corporation the Professor’s brother and his team of researchers have discovered a way to create an artificially intelligent community in a computer simulation. But they need help. Every scenario they run eventually finds the digital characters in their computer model coming to a tragic end. Though Nicholas is appalled at his brother’s use of technology a startling revelation about the subjects of the computer program leaves him no choice but to help. And, no matter what atheistic philosophy the Professor introduces into the program, things eventually fail. It is then when Dr. MacKenzie hits on the idea of introducing a set of guiding principles or Laws to the characters in their computer simulation. Though this runs against everything he believes, or doesn’t believe, it seems to be the only answer.
The story that follows takes place in two worlds: the real world of Nicholas MacKenzie and Annie Brooks and the cyber-world of the beings created by the Programmer of the real word. From there, reality and simulation grow increasingly blurred as Nicholas allows himself to become immersed in the computer simulation. Since I hesitate to tell any more of the story, here is part of the synopsis from Bill Myers’ web site:
The only way to save them is to create a computer character like himself to personally explain it. He does. So now there are two of him — the one in our world and the one in the computer world…(sound familiar?).
Unfortunately, a rival has introduced a virus into the computer world. Things grow worse until the professor in that computer world sees the only way to save his world is to personally absorb the virus and the penalty for breaking the Law. Of course it’s clear to all, including our real world professor, that this act of selfless love has become a complete reenactment of the Gospel. It is the only possible choice to save the computer world and, as he finally understands, our own.
I can imagine some who read this saying, “How on earth can this be Christian fiction?” My question to them is, “How could it not be?” The God Hater stands on even ground in the strong tradition of C.S. Lewis by finding an inventive way to speak to the modern world about a timeless reality. And perhaps no one has come closer to Ted Dekker’s “Circle” in weaving a modern parable of sin, the Incarnation, and redemption than Bill Myers in his latest novel. This story works on almost every level. Sure, you have to suspend belief a bit but not much. And don’t worry; there is some necessary tech-speak at places but it takes back seat to realities that are all too familiar. This is a story filled with suspense, action, introspection, and hope. Perhaps it will remind us to go back and re-read The Story of redemption with fresh eyes and tender hearts.
The God Hater by Bill Meyers
Reviewed by Tim George
Publisher: Howard Books
Publication Date: October 2010
Review copy provided by Howard Books
This entry was posted on Friday, September 24th, 2010 at 10:31 am and is filed under Book Reviews. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.
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