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|How Like a God|
by Brenda W. Clough
Published by Tor Books, 1997
Amazon.com: hardcover, paperback
Amazon.ca: hardcover, paperback
Amazon.co.uk: hardcover, paperback
Recommended by: Brenda W. Clough (Author recommending own book), Greg Slade
I specifically set out to write a book that C.S. Lewis would enjoy reading, assuming (as seems obviously necessary) that Heaven has an unlimited account at Amazon.com. I even named the hero after him.
Rob Lewis wakes up one morning to discover that he can read minds. In fact, not only can he read minds, he can control them. As time goes on, he realises that his power is growing, until he can reach and control every human being in the Western Hemisphere. In fact, he can't help controlling people. His ability to control runs out of control, and he can't stop himself from using it. It's a classic case of "power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely." His amazing power threatens to destroy his life.
But, of course, the real story is only beginning. How does Lewis find sanity and stability in a world he can change on the slightest whim? The answer, somewhat unusually for SF, is that he meets a Christian. This Christian is neither the super-believer of the trite "protagonist says the sinner's prayer in the second-last chapter" school of Christian fiction, nor the crazed, abusive, Bible-thumping psycho all too common coming from non-Christian authors. Instead, he's sane, brave, and complete with strengths, weaknesses, and quirks of his own. In short, he's a believable character. He also gets some great lines. When Lewis reveals his fear that his power might be giving him a God complex, "Edwin didn't fail him. 'I have some slight acquaintance with God,' he said gravely, 'and I can assure you there's not much resemblance.'" (p. 251)
The story's not perfect. I don't think Clough really gets "guy" things. But still, it's thought-provoking, entertaining, and inspiring, and that is a rare and beautiful thing these days.
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