Book Review: The God Hater by Bill Myers

I’ve just finished reading through The God Hater, a novel by Bill Myers. [Amazon link]

Have you ever read a book and thought: “Man, I wish I had come up with this concept!” That was The God Hater for me. It touched on so many themes, and aspects that are part of what I love like computers, technology, philosophy and a parents love for their children.

Here’s a quick synopsis

A group of scientist creates a computer-generated world meant to mimic our own. It’s sort of like an MMO, but everyone is an NPC. They just turn it on and watch. The idea being that if they can get these ‘people’ to behave like people in our world, they can run simulations of products, or TV shows, or presidential candidates and see what works and what doesn’t.

But when the people of that world continually destroy themselves, the project is threatened to be shut down. The scientists turn to a cranky, atheistic philosophy professor to introduce a philosophy that will create a sustainable world all while trying to avoid rival groups that want to steal the project for their own purposes.

You can tell right from the first page that the writing is top notch. It’s the best written book I’ve read in a while. Myers builds the characters well, both the electronic and flesh and blood. He really puts you into the world. Despite my initial questions, I found myself rooting for the main character as he thoroughly eviscerated the TV evangelist type he squares off with in the opening scene.

The God Hater moves really well. There’s a great blend of  mystery, suspense and cat and mouse along with philosophy and apologetics, and an ending that surprised me on a couple of different levels. By the last half the book, you really aren’t sure who to trust outside of the two main characters.

As I read God Hater, I tried to pay close attention to his pacing, how he describes characters, their dialogue and their body language.

One thing I’ve done with God Hater and with This Present Darkness is do a little armchair quarterbacking. I ask myself how I would write it and where I would take the story next. What I’m finding is that in nearly every case, I’m much too quick to steer the story towards resolution. Usually the author goes in the exact opposite direction. In The God Hater, I thought the story was going to head more into the computer world when instead the characters in the real world become imperiled.

I’m nowhere near the writer Bill Myers is. How could I be, he’s published over 100 books, but maybe one day I will be.

If you like a page turning adventure that reveals what the main character learns to call a deeper logic, check out The God Hater.