Thoughts of God

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thoughts.gif

Michael Kanaly

GENRES:
SciFi, Murder, Religion

SUMMARY:
In the near future, a series of laws has been passed enabling clients to hire vigilantes to solve mysteries the police cannot. Dennison York and his team are members of such an organization. When contacted by the Stafford family regarding the disappearance of their 12-year old daughter Yvonne, York becomes part of a saga spanning light years and eons.

He eventually finds Yvonne half alive and in shock, but fails to catch the serial killer, Arnie Watts. Arnie, meanwhile, kidnaps York's partner and murders him while he plans his escape across the country. After a year, through York's persistence and several lucky clues, he is finally able to confront Arnie.

The story alternates perspectives between York and Arnie, giving the reader a sick realization of exactly what York is failing to stop. In addition to this, each chapter is linked by a story of life and death from an alien world as well as an excerpt from God's own notebook about his experiments, particularly the one on Earth.

RESPONSE:
This is one of the most bold and unique science fiction books I have ever read. Although the alternating viewpoints, independent alien stories, and God's thoughts were at first annoying and distracting, as the story progressed, they all gelled into a solid novel. It's such a weird combination of elements that it needs to be read to be believed-- murder, scifi, and religion? Yet Kanaly manages all three aspects of his novel remarkably well.

The story of York and Arnie gives a perfect illustration of God's experimental problems with souls, bodies, good, and evil. God's notebook is distressingly impersonal and shatters the loving, benevolent God image that many religions promote. In this sense, God is an analytical scientist using planets as test tubes.

The alien life excerpts are the most distracting because-- with one exception-- they have no bearing on the main storyline between Arnie and York. However, read as independent vignettes, they are entertaining, and as a whole, they add depth to the story (and keep it within the scifi genre!).

'Thoughts' brings up issues that many of us would rather not think about. It places humanity as less important than dust in the universe. It shows the complete evil that humans can do. It reveals a supreme being that doesn't give a damn about humans other than as experimental lab rats. Not exactly the most inspirational and feel-good book, but it's guaranteed to make you think.

POINT BLANK:
Read it. Regardless of your beliefs, this book will challenge them. Entertaining on the surface, but so much more. I'll repeat myself: one of the boldest and most unique scifi books I have ever read .

Author's reply

I received these emails from Michael Kanaly in March 2003.... first (and only?) time I've ever been contacted directly by an author I've reviewed:

-----Original Message-----
From: Michael Kanaly [mailto:XX [at] XX [dot] net]
Sent: Monday, 17 March 2003 4:13 AM
To: XX [at] hotmail [dot] com
Subject: book review

Greetings:

Read your review of my novel, THOUGHTS OF GOD. You seemed to come away
with a good grasp of what I was attempting to do in the book. I would
like to inquire as to which alien segment you found pertinent to the
story line, as the others did not appear to connect with you.

Keep up the good work,
MPK

-----Original Message-----
From: Michael Kanaly [mailto:XX [at] XX [dot] net]
Sent: Thursday, 20 March 2003 1:21 AM
To: XX [at] hotmail [dot] com
Subject: Re: book review

Rachel:

Thanks for responding to my question. I'm taking a rather informal
survey. The book is taught in a couple of university sf courses and I
always pose the query to the classes I visit. Interestingly, the
responses vary widely. It seems everyone reads those segments from a
slightly different POV.

I'll see if I can drop something in your Vault. It's always good to
find intelligent, perceptive readers out there.

best,
MPK