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Project Pope

3.65  ·  Rating Details ·  490 Ratings  ·  38 Reviews
The return of Simak's favorite themes--including esp, robots & religion--in a thoughtful, gentle, delightfully original treatment. On the remote planet End of Nothing, a colony of advanced robots has established project Vatican-17: the building of an infallible computerized pope whose accumulated wisdom will eventually create a truly universal religion. Gathering data ...more
Paperback, 287 pages
Published 1982 by New English Library (London) (first published 1981)
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Mar 08, 2009 Mark rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sf
Simak's books have such a gentle folksy voice, as if Prairie Home Companion decided to write science fiction. In Project Pope a group of robots have started a research project Vatican-17 to synthesize a single true religion, but over the centuries the research has grown in importance while the religious side has become, not exactly less important but less urgent. Then one of the human psychic researchers claims she has found heaven, threatening a schism between the more and less fervent factions ...more
Dec 28, 2007 Chadwick rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: gentle suckers
For some reason I just find this book darling. Simak suffers from all of the weaknesses of his generation of SF writers. The characters are paper mache. There is a lumbering charge through the storytelling to reach the ideas as quickly as possible. His voice has a certain folksy Wisconsin charm to it, and when he's writing about robots in monks' vestments tending roses, there's a certain wacky beauty there that I find really pleasing.
Mar 21, 2013 Bernard rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Bernard by: Eric Bloemeke
Wow, what an odd book! OK so if you get past the robot civilization who has set up a search for all knowledge using clones of humans who can transplant their consciousnesses across time and space, led by an evolving computer that aims to be the perfect religious and knowledge amassing computer (the Pope) and you wonder where the book is headed, suddenly in the last 50 pages: BAM: aliens that look like haystacks, aliens that look like white boards (cubes), aliens that look like giant snakes with ...more
Oct 27, 2012 Richard rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a lovely book based on an amusing premise. Not much to say but that I loved it to bits when I read it. And re-read it a couple of years later. Also, one of the few paperback SF books that I have retained in my library, carefully secured in a box (with others in the garage) from which I will someday extract it to read again. Or maybe I'll see if it's out in EPUB yet. Definitely this should be on the required reading list for anyone majoring in Sci Fi.
Jan 01, 2013 Jeff rated it liked it
Very Dr Who-ish. Great premise and set-up, but the ending was sort of lousy. The book just sort of ended.
Joe Santoro
May 17, 2015 Joe Santoro rated it liked it
Shelves: soft_sf
I LOVE the cover.. it totally grabbed me, and then I saw it was Clifford Simak, and I couldn't resist. The story revolves around to lost souls of sorts, one, Tennyson, a Doctor on the run from a political upheaval on his planet, the other, Jill, a reporter looking for the story of her life. They both go to End of Nothing, a planet were a colony of robots and humans that are trying to find the one true religion.. the one robots can get behind. Their city is call Vatican, but they're not necessari ...more
Dec 14, 2016 Jerry rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Running from the middle of nowhere (the feudal planet Gutshot) after his patron dies and he’s afraid he’s going to be forced to take the fall for it, Dr. Jason Tennyson takes the first ship out and ends up at the end of nowhere—the planet End of Nothing.

End of Nothing has one settlement: Vatican, a robot project to discover the one true faith, preferably one that will include robots.

This is a typically nice Simak story, with friendly characters, who despite being friendly all have different moti
With a title like Project Pope, I was expecting Simak to craft an intriguing science fiction tale. Certainly, in the end there are some very interesting aspects that the author broaches. However, I was quite disappointed that there wasn't a substantial, in-depth discussion on any religious principles. I thought that the book would cover how machines approach religion, and more adequately peruse questions like, "Do robots have a soul?" and "Are robots capable of love, and if not, can they truly p ...more
Jan 23, 2008 Brian rated it liked it
Recommends it for: overtired brainworkers
My science-addled brain cannot handle too much serious reading these days, but good scifi like this is okay. This is another case of "don't judge a book by its cover (or title)", which is especially true of speculative science fiction. This book offers some interesting speculation on the nature of religion and its relation to actual information. It is set about 1,000 or so years after sentient robots have decided to create a universal religion by gathering information and putting it into a super ...more
David C. Mueller
Aug 30, 2010 David C. Mueller rated it really liked it
This novel is set in the far future where sentient robots live an equals alongside their human creators. On an planet named End of Nothing near the edge of the galaxy, a joint human-robot society called Vatican-17 has striven for centuries to create an artificial intelligence with the knowledge, wisdom, and infallibility approaching that of a Deity. The story follows a human medical doctor arriving at End of Nothing to serve as Vatican-17's new physician. He encounters not only the computerized ...more
Jun 10, 2013 Manua rated it it was amazing
Questo romanzo è ambientato in un pianeta ai confini della galassia, colonizzato da robot senzienti che vi hanno fondato Vatican-17, una loro personale rivisitazione di cristianesimo atta alla ricerca della verità ultima, piuttosto che a una fede cieca e immobile. Su questo pianeta, arrivano i nostri protagonisti, per ragioni diverse, ma si ritrovano irrimediabilmente affascinati dalla ricerca della verità perseguita dai robot...

Robot: Check
Esseri alieni NON antropomorfi: check
Esseri alieni an
Jim Hoff
Jul 15, 2012 Jim Hoff rated it really liked it
Clifford D. Simak's tale about robots and a robot pope trying to find God is compelling. Set near the edge of the galaxy on a planet known as "The End of Nothing", it revolves around not only the robots, but also two human visitors who get caught up in events. I found it's large scale events and ideas very interesting.
May 16, 2016 Paul rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Robo-Pope. Clever and funny - the book, not the robo-pope, he barely gets a look in but that's the peculiar detail that made me pick up the book so maybe it'll work for you too. You won't regret it although it's fair to warn you it's more of a wistful and gentle sci-fi tale than a life changing epiphany the theme would suggest.
Amanda Dusold
Dec 09, 2014 Amanda Dusold rated it liked it
Interesting window dressing leaves unsatisfying taste when it focuses more on uninteresting characters. There's clever bits of writing here but in the end, I came away with more questions then answers. The human characters take away from the most interesting bits which are the relationships between the robots, the pope, and the concept of humanity between them.
Project Pope, while enjoyable, plods all the way to its final moments, which plods itself.
Robots are looking for the gods, or God, and have a computer to do the searching. A couple of humans bumble in, have some adventures, there’s some intrigue. Unfortunately, a good portion of the book is padding. Entertaining padding, but padding nevertheless.
Aug 02, 2009 Ravena rated it really liked it
This is a sweet and wacky classic intergalactic science fiction. A warm fuzzy read, really, with robots and people and aliens and religion. I loved the plot, though found the dialogue to be a tad hackneyed at times. Really thoroughly pleasant read though.
Mark Edlund
Jan 31, 2014 Mark Edlund rated it did not like it
Science Fiction
So what if robots started their own Vatican on another planet and discovered Heaven? An interesting, if a bit overblown, philosophical discussion. Not that visionary and no real resolution to the idea.
No Canadian references
Ken Selvia
Jun 24, 2016 Ken Selvia rated it it was ok
Narrator OK but after several tries I set it aside. I liked some of Simak's earlier stuff but the language and sentence structure here didn't seem natural. Not sure I would call it amateurish, but more like dialog you would find in a 1950's western movie.
Craig Russo
Nov 17, 2016 Craig Russo rated it really liked it
Shelves: audio
Oh. I didn't understand the ending. Or I did, but I won't write it.
Jun 20, 2013 Nicholas rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi
I typically liked the characters and their concepts, but I'm not as sure about the plot or this idea that there is one answer.
Dec 01, 2015 Kurt rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I thoroughly enjoy thinking about the role of religion in a science fiction setting. This book certainly satisfied that interest.
Erik Graff
Sep 22, 2009 Erik Graff rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Simak fans
Recommended to Erik by: no one
Shelves: sf
While it's "delightful" like the Kirkus reviewer says, the lack of any very serious treatment of religious and/or philosophical themes was a disappointment.
Aug 23, 2013 Jonathan rated it it was amazing
Found in a used book shop I was enthralled. Each chapter gets stranger and stranger. I remember saying "it can't get weirder" only to be proven wrong. A fun book to read!
Francis Jan
Dec 22, 2014 Francis Jan rated it liked it
Nice but not as philosophical as its title seems to me.
Enjoyed this.
Garden Gal
Jan 06, 2013 Garden Gal rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: people who have time to kill
Didn't really fulfill the premise it set out.

But looking at the concept as a parallel to writing process it almost works.
Nov 23, 2015 Jack rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
My comments at the time I read this was "very good and really droll".
Jun 12, 2013 Greg rated it liked it
Not as good as other Simak books but not a bad read.
Jan 13, 2009 Fishsanwitt marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
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"He was honored by fans with three Hugo awards and by colleagues with one Nebula award and was named the third Grand Master by the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA) in 1977." (Wikipedia)

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