God Games, by James. A. Scott
Hey guys, welcome back to Bookish Beyond.
Are any of you celebrating the holidays?
Today, I’ll be reviewing God Games, an intriguing science fiction story by James. A. Scott.
So, if you’ve got your favourite drink to hand and are all settled in, let’s dive in.
God Games is a thought-provoking science fiction story which takes place between the Great Scientific University in Heaven and a newly-created universe, which contains the planet Earth and new human life.
In Heaven, scientists begin to act as Gods by seeding life on Earth, however, not everyone in Heaven is content with this plan. Followers of the God Korbibtor see this forced creation of life as blasphemy and aim to stop it at all costs.
Yahweh, a devoted scientist, supports the creation of life and aims to imbue the people of Earth with the loving free-will gene, to help them avoid the problems that Heaven had to endure to reach its more peaceful state. However, Korbibtor follower Lucifer seeks to thwart Yahweh’s plans by causing mayhem on Earth, tempting the humans to use their free will irresponsibly.
When a great tragedy befalls Yahweh, he vows revenge on Lucifer and makes it his mission to stop his hateful behaviour on Earth. Yahweh must prove that the loving free-will gene exists, or risk losing Heaven’s new creation to his rival’s dark impulses.
Although there were many characters involved in God Games, three stole my attention, being Yahweh, Lucifer, and Eve.
Yahweh Tabbris, a dedicated professor of science, came across as deeply caring and devoted to his work and the people around him. He was highly intelligent, the kind of person whose good intentions unfortunately don’t always work out. His passion for learning and discovery felt relatable to me and made him a character I was proud to hope for. There were times where his lack of caution regarding the seeding of life on Earth seemed uncharacteristic of such a cautious and devoted scientist, however, I can also understand how a man of such intense curiosity would find it hard to resist such an opportunity for study.
Professor Lucifer Deville, the new Dean of the university, proved to be the exact opposite of Yahweh. While Yahweh was a scientifically led individual, Lucifer was deeply religious, having formed a growing cult around the fabled God Korbibtor. On first appearance, Lucifer appeared shady, the kind of manipulative and untrustworthy character one may come to expect of the mythical devil. Due to traumatic events in his past, Lucifer refuses to believe in the existence of the loving free will gene and insists that only belief in Korbibtor can save the humans on Earth. He was the kind of nemesis you love to hate and provided many great moments of tension in the story.
Finally, we come to Eve, a villager on Earth who is treated poorly by her fellow humans. Ashamed and outcast, she comes to trust the slippery snake that is Lucifer. Eve made the perfect pawn for Lucifer’s twisted mind games, for she was ignorant of his identity and came to see him as an ancestral God. Watching Eve debate actions of right and wrong was interesting. After her meeting with Lucifer, she began to justify certain actions which did harm to others, where before she may never have dreamed of such things. Her character showed just how easy it is to be influenced by darker thoughts and impulses, especially when we’ve been shamed unfairly by others. Torn between doing what’s right and exercising her free will irresponsibly, Eve continuously struggles with the temptations created by Lucifer. At times I pitied Eve, for she didn’t know who she was trusting, yet at other times I wished she’d question what she was being told. Overall, I found her to be a memorable character, with a deep internal struggle that mimicked those we experience in real life.
God Games was a well-executed story with much to offer.
- It explored science and religion, side by side, looking at both through a different lens than we might usually expect.
- The setting of Heaven is unique and futuristic, a modern take on a biblical setting.
- The idea of a Kinspri (a sort of soul mate) was intriguing and romantic, described as ‘Sharing a common awareness and essence.’
- The author includes a fascinating array of futuristic technology: full body 3D printers, soul storage devices, satellites that can affectively teleport you from one place to another, etc.
- I especially enjoyed the re-telling of the story of Adam and Eve. It was cleverly done and provided interesting motivations for the characters, re-creating the experience of The Garden of Eden and Lucifer’s initial temptation.
- The tension builds well, for the most part. I found myself on the edge of my seat, hoping that Yahweh’s plans would succeed over Lucifer’s.
While God Games was an enjoyable reading experience, there were a few things which I feel let it down.
- Firstly, the third person, present tense narration felt a bit off, making the book a little more difficult to read. While I’ve enjoyed first person present tense narration before for its immediacy and intimacy with the main characters, third person present just didn’t feel right, as though I wasn’t seeing things from a correct perspective, be it individual or omniscient.
- There were parts of the story which felt particularly long-winded, which I feel let down other more thought-provoking or tense scenes. For instance, at the story’s start, we are introduced to Yahweh and lucifer, and their rivalry. From this initial point of tension, there are many scenes which seem to exist simply to discuss scientific ideas and concepts at length. I feel that these may have been better included by being gradually interspersed with the main story.
- Although the tension eventually returned to the story once we become privy to the happenings on Earth, there was a large gap between bouts of tension which made it hard to keep reading at times.
During the course of my reading, I came across one specific quote which holds relevance, even today.
‘Forget your history and you’re bound to repeat it.’
Throughout human history, our actions have been repeated time and again. Great wars have been fought, people enslaved, along with many other tragedies that bind the human spirit. As a species, we seem to forget the past a lot, with our stories written from the point of view of those who have subjugated others, never providing an objective view of events as they occurred. It is therefore of the utmost importance that we remember our past as factually as possible, so that we can be sure never to repeat such acts, and to learn to grow as we advance into the future.
God Games provided a well-executed exploration of free will and its consequences: of how human nature can be manipulated by outside forces, for better or worse. It is the ultimate story of temptation, free will, and love for humanity.
Themes included religion and belief, scientific theory, free will and its consequences, loss, and temptation.
My Rating: 4 stars.
Recommended to: lovers of unique science fiction stories with religious undertones.
Please note: Religious readers may or may not find some content offensive, due to the recreation of certain biblical stories and persons. If you believe you fall into this category, then this story may not be for you.
Would you like more information?
If you’d like to read the first chapter of God Games for free, then simply click the button below.
As always, thank you for joining me for today’s review.
If you enjoyed this post, why not share it over social media using the buttons below, or leave a comment to let us know what you thought.