Monday, January 24, 2011
A Choice of Gods
By Clifford D. Simak
Set about 5000 years in the future and humanity is no longer a presence on Earth except for a few isolated bands of people. At the beginning of the 5000 years, most of the people just disappeared, vanished in an instant. Those who were left behind discovered that they suddenly had magical new abilities like telepathy and teleportation. They could now go anywhere in the universe by just thinking it. And so they did. A few homebodies stayed on Earth with all the leftover robots, who now had nothing to do.
One of the universe-travelling people discovered a vast, implacable intelligence at the center of the galaxy. In his wanderings, he also discovered what had happened to all the people who had so mysteriously vanished thousands of years ago. He returns to Earth to tell the few people there what he has discovered and to warn them that they may now be in danger.
This was just a weird book. Suddenly everyone disappears and just as suddenly those left behind are now super-beings with magical abilities who live for thousands of years. Plus there are a bunch of robots who, built to serve humanity, now have no one to serve. So they become robot monks and set about trying to figure if God is real and other robots who are building a super computer which manages to contact the evil intelligence at the center of the galaxy. So much going on in this book, like a wandering boy able to heal everyone, including a "can of worms" who wants to have a soul, and Indians living in the forests of Minnesota and it all doesn't add up to very much at all, as far as a story goes. It is more like someone's wishful thinking. Just a fair read, I think.