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Mr G is the story of Creation. Mr G is God (Hello God) and is living in the Void with his Aunt Penelope and Uncle Deva. One day when he is bored, he creates matter. This sounds like the pretext for a comic novel and that was the spirit in which I approached it. Alas, what followed was a pretty serious piece about how matter might have evolved into universes; how elements might have been created from energy; how life might have formed, etc.

 

We have the creation of time, and then the ability to measure it through atomic pulses - always in exact powers of ten. We have much philosophical musing too about how time enables perspective. There is the creation of evil - Belhor - as a counterweight to the creation of good. Belhor and Mr G spend time conversing and discussing more philosophy. Meanwhile, universes are created and squished with gay abandon.

 

Alan Lightman never seems to know whether he is writing a novel or a philosophy text. The set piece monologues and, even worse, dialogues, are staged and stilted. Their sole purpose seems to be to convey real theory in an anthropomorphic fashion so that people can understand it better. They do not seem to be intended to entertain. There is the occasional light moment - Belhor going to the opera comes to mind - but it's not enough to sustain interest. Most of the narrative is drab and interwoven with lots of numbers and lots of lists of things.

 

To add to the frustration, the basic questions of what The Void actually is, and how Mr G came to be in it, and why he decided at a particular moment (before moments existed) to create things are not addressed.

 

If you were a teacher of quantum physics (which I am not) you might want to offer Mr G to your students as a light introduction to the concepts. But for an average reader, this is not going to deliver on mismanaged expectations and is unlikely to do more than take away a few hours that could have been spent doing something more useful.

 

**000

Edited by MisterHobgoblin

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Is this the same author who wrote Einsteins dreams? I really enjoyed that book. I thought it was well written, even lyrical. I carried it with me in my van (I drive medical transport) and read a chapter or two a day. Then I'd ponder that while sitting in waiting rooms waiting for my clients to finish their appointments. Maybe this book would have benefitted from a shorter and more episodic framework.

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