What if science could prove - or disprove - whether or not God exists?
That's the premise of the upcoming novel, Blasphemy ($25.95, Forge, release date January 8, 2008) by Douglas Preston, and it is powerful!
The Isabella Project in the Four Corners area of Arizona is a government funded project whose purpose is to recreate the Big Bang in a small way, to see if it's possible and to see what ramifications that might have. Unfortunately the project is running into problems, so former CIA operative, Wyman Ford, is sent not only to investigate what's going on, but to act as a liason with the local Navajo community. The Isabella Project is the brainchild of the charismatic Nobel laureate Gregory North Hazelius, who has assembled a handful of brilliant scientists who are as devoted to the project as he is, and Ford finds himself charmed as well.
Still, Ford sees the inherent dangers of living in an ivory tower, and is determined to ease the growing tensions in the nearby community. Unfortunately for Ford, one of the scientists - and the assistant director of the project - is an ex-lover of his, and he finds it hard to stay objective and focused with her nearby.
However, when a Washington lobbyist feels slighted, he sics a televangelist, Don. T. Spates, on Isabella. Spates uses his power to rally his followers against Isabella, maintaining that the scientists are actively working to disprove Genesis. Spates needs this topic to boost his sagging ratings and coffers, and he plays to the fears of many around the country. As passions heat up, a lone preacher living in the shadow of Red Mesa, where Isabella is housed, reacting to Spates' call, will begin a chain of events that could change the world.
Douglas Preston is well-known for his work with Lincoln Child, but in this novel, he proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that he is a literary force to be reckoned with on his own. His grasp of physics is, to my vastly ignorant grasp of such things, excellent, and his probing of the inner beliefs of the truly devout is stellar. He explores the depth of belief and passion, not only of the religous but the scientific communities, and demonstrates their similarities and profound differences, not the least of which is a willingness of those caught up in religious fervor to submit to mob mentality and to resort to violence.
The characters Preston has created are vivid and realistic, but what I found to be most compelling was the juxtaposition of science and religion, and the concept that out of science a new belief might be achieved. I don't want to say more until you've read it. It comes out next month, so plan on ordering it in advance, because you're not going to want to miss out on this one! It will be the source of discussion - and heated argument - for a long time to come, I have no doubt!
SeattleTammy here: I have the daily pleasure of working with a simply brilliant, gracious and goofy woman. You all know her as the Penitent Liberal Lesbian, but she is my buffer in Pioneer Square. We love nothing better than tag-teaming the Tourists with offers of cheap shipping. We have opinions and will tell you about them.
This past week, I lost the arm-wrestle, so here is PLL's diatribe. I hope you enjoy her as much as I do!
democommie™™™™®©: sit up and pay attention!
Gratuitous Reminders and Last Minute Suggestions:
Need a gift for that would-be activist in your life? Nothing better to Kick Start the New Year than Life Long Activist or Dance Lest We Fall Down. Good Stuff, people.
Many thanks to the troops who have ordered from us. I was packing so fast n furious, I might not have included a note. I put a little something extra in iffen I knew you were a member of the troops.
These books are/will be available at Jackson Street Books and Fine Independent Bookstores everywhere!