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David Lever is a retired mathematician, having received his Ph.D. with distinction in 1981. He is interests include science fiction, nature, cosmology, artificial intelligence, and mathematics. He worries about today's escalating acceptance of anti-scientific dogma in a world filled with deadly weapons.
Lorinda J Taylor
on Jan. 08, 2012 :
David Lever wants to warn against the dangers of allowing organized, dogmatic religion to rule the world, especially a world where WMDs are easily obtainable. The resulting book is an amalgam of coarse, satiric caricature and gentler, dry humor, with a quite powerful subplot dealing with slightly anthropomorphized animals. To me, the caricature is the least attractive of the plot elements. I prefer the humor provided by the artificial intelligence called Noah, who begins to long to have a body, announcing that it would like to have a beard, a bowler hat, and shoes with gold buckles and even casting a lascivious “eye” on an attractive crewmember. I have a neutral reaction to the human characters and I find the animal plot to be compelling as a reinforcing theme of self-sacrifice and atonement, but the most puzzling aspect of the story is the nature of the title character, an alien who is fleeing from persecution by the fanatical religious culture against which she has rebelled.
Even though the author stoutly affirms the non-existence of god, a position consistently upheld by the Apostate herself, the author does not shrink from employing elements of Hebraic-Christian myth. The crew names their ship the “Ark” because it is carrying animals (hence the name of the AI that runs the ship) and when they meet the extraterrestrial Apostate, they name her “Angel” because she has definite ethereal physical characteristics. And more, she obviously has inner qualities that can only be called “spiritual.” She is a strong empath – she can soothe animals and, what is more, she can heal by touch, even “converting” to atheism by that healing touch the rapacious reptilian assassin (a compelling character, by the way) who has been pursuing her for millennia. She loves the life-force and opposes killing in any form. She seems to have the ability to communicate with animals after their deaths or as they are dying. So it makes one wonder – what does the author really believe about spirituality and the existence of something which we might not call “god” but which transcends or underlies the Darwinian genetic imperative? Can these qualities exist in humans, too, or only in species that originate on other worlds?
(reviewed long after purchase)
on Aug. 21, 2011 :
This author incorperates a wide range of topics with an interesting story line and believable characters.
The author encourages the reader to "see the scene" without spoiling the readers ability to add his or her own interpretation.
A refreshing example of solid writing with interesting mathematical inclusion.
This book rekindled my interst in physical phenomena.
(reviewed within a week of purchase)