This short review contains spoilers.
What I love about good science fiction (SF) is that it can have it's feet firmly planted in reality but have it's head in the clouds, and the body in between consists of internally consistent and logical steps. Greg Bear is one of my favorite SF authors. One of his other novels I enjoyed, Blood Music
, ends in one of the most "out there" ways I have encountered. The Forge of God, on the other hand, stays a lot closer to hard (that is, more realistic) SF. (Take, for example, the sailors having nose bleeds from too much oxygen in the air as a result of (view spoiler)[the aliens harvesting all that hydrogen from the sea water (hide spoiler)]
The Forge of God is about an extraterrestrial plot to (view spoiler)[destroy the world (hide spoiler)]
. Let me just get it out of the way: it ends with the most beautiful and heart-wrenching cinematic descriptions of (view spoiler)[titanic destruction (hide spoiler)]
that I have ever read. And George Lucas got it so very wrong when he had (view spoiler)[the Death Star pop Alderaan like a party balloon (hide spoiler)]
. For the ending alone (and I think I say this for every SF book I read), the book deserves to be adapted for the big screen.
The aliens never explain why they want to (view spoiler)[destroy the Earth (hide spoiler)]
. One of the characters forms a plausible motive near the end, which is as good enough as a nod from the author. Their origins and physical appearance is explored, however, and I'll leave it to you to discover their true identity.
One of the themes of Forge of God is how religion can blind people to reality, and how it can have the effect of making us make bad decisions. This propensity is (view spoiler)[exploited by the aliens to basically screw with us (hide spoiler)]
. On one hand, (view spoiler)[the alien's red-herring plot (hide spoiler)]
doesn't really seem to go anywhere. On the other hand, it offers up a little bit of irony when the main character has a "revelation" and fervently directs his wife and son to (view spoiler)[get in the car and drive for great distances (hide spoiler)]
at the behest of, well, the voices in his head. This is a little reminiscent of Richard Dreyfuss' character in Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977). Again I'll leave it to you to discover if he (view spoiler)[finds salvation for his family (hide spoiler)]
END SPOILER WARNING
If you like SF you owe it to yourself to check out Bear's work. The Forge of God is a fine example of his style.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>