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If God did not exist, mankind would have to invent him. Literally, in the case of the remarkable book Thumb, by John Guy Collick.
It is the far, far, far future. So far into the future that the universe is dying. Stars are burning out and hope is dead, buried and forgotten.
An essentially unchanged mankind, basic humanform bodyshape still intact with a recognizably human consciousness, will meet the heat death of the universe. They are resigned to it.
Until the discovery of a white hole of sorts that leads to a newer, more energetic universe that can still support life for billions of years more. There’s only one problem: the only way through the white hole is to be carried by God. And humanity doesn’t have one.
Enter the Black Roses, an alien race with appallingly advanced technology. This enigmatic race creates a singularity, a work floor on which humanity can build God. To create God in this energy-poor universe would be unthinkable. So the Black Rose drills timewells, which allow access to the deep past, filled with material and energy.
This being the far, deep future, though, even those timewells drilled into the distant past are running dry. There is no more time left to be had.
The body of God has been completed. Yet still humanity lives in a dying universe, seemingly abandoned to live atop the body of God for the end of its days.
Max Ocel and Abby Fabrice are Time Scavengers, who investigate timewells and fly over the body of God in a brass and wooden flying machine under the shadow of his massive Thumb. Headed home in defeat, Abby and Max encounter a psychic giant that is only the beginning of Abby’s and Max’s troubles. They face a powerful invading force from the Empire of the Ear, a rebellion, and the eight wandering beings who will be the Mind of God.
It’s too bad, then, that neither Max, Abby nor anyone else quite understands just what the Mind of God really is, nor the things of which it’s capable. Nor even what the eight individual pieces of that Mind look like.
This is, to put it mildly, a very strange book. The setting is bizarre beyond the fevered imagination of most of the delusional tinfoil-hat-wearing brigade. And, yet, the people in this story are very recognizable as people like you would see here and now. They even have similar names to folks in the present day.
Well written, with engaging characters, Thumb is a ride across an alien landscape, forcing readers to wrestle with difficult philosophical questions, and making them enjoy the process.
Readers who have a penchant for reading about the far, far future will find this interesting. To be sure, though, you will need a very flexible imagination to wrap your brain around the idea of the landscape of the novel.
This is definitely a book that requires your attention while reading. Still, it is worth picking up, even if only to bask in John Guy Collick’s fevered imagination for a while.
4 stars. Mainly because I couldn’t get over how humanity was still around towards the heat death of the universe and we still have characters who look like we do now and have names like Max and Abby.
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John Collick's Official Website
Richard E.D. Jones is the author of A Dude’s Guide to Babies as well as numerous science-fictionally fantastic short stories. Find out more at his website, www.byrichardjones.com.