Eric Boss reviews I AM GOD
I AM GOD is unique, at least in this reader’s experience. There have been numerous fictional works with a theological theme, but I’ve never run across one that is narrated by the deity himself (note the male pronoun). I also use the parenthetical phrase purposely, for it is this device, along with copious footnotes, that differentiates this book from most novels. This charming conceit allows us to recognize that (God knows) mortal speech is imprecise and requires a faculty peculiarly human for complete understanding. If you should choose to read this one, you will quickly see what is meant.
In fact, human speech is a recurring theme here, because, of course, God is not used to communicating in this way, and more especially in its written form. He doesn’t typically think in the way we mean, comment or respond to speech, not having any peers with whom he can parley. The insufficiencies, opportunities for misleading statements, deliberate obfuscations and subjective inaccuracies are topics of repeated scorn. These, and the vagaries of our behavior and beliefs make up a large part of the narrative. Our species is not, it seems, among his favorite creations. We are closer to the bottom of his lists than otherwise. After all, we’re the only one of the denizens of the universe (gas clouds, stars, black holes, galaxies, mammals, reptiles, bacteria, etc.) to think itself above the others, complain about petty issues or rage against our creator. We are, to put it plainly, a pain in the ass.
God has rather unexpectedly fallen in love with one of his creatures, an atheist female geneticist who moonlights as an artificial inseminator of cattle or sodomatrix (his word), a term based on the method utilized by such practitioners and upon which I will not comment. She is sexually promiscuous, a habit which causes no little anguish on his part, but about which he can do nothing without violating his personal ethics, which are complex, to say the least. He can at any time make, destroy, create or kill any creature, situation, or world he wants. But he doesn’t really work like that, not usually. Unless genuinely provoked, he doesn’t like to unleash plagues, floods, etc. He will, though, and he will certainly contemplate such action when frustrated or thwarted.
It’s an amusing and thought-provoking narrative that admirers of James Morrow or Mary Doria Russell will find entertaining. More light-hearted than either, though closer to Morrow than Russell in its iconoclasm, the book provides fodder for both contemplation and self-examination in a palatable form that makes us laugh at ourselves if we are attentive. Not for everyone. I loved it.
Shelf Talker: An amusing and thoughtful fantasy of God journaling his unexpected love affair with a human who is not only an atheist and a geneticist but who moonlights as an artificial inseminator of cattle. Absurd, funny, iconoclastic and genius. Not for every reader.