Robert Fisher’s The God Machine takes after Orwell’s dystopian classic, 1984, with bits of Margaret Atwood’s more modern approach, Oryx and Crake. In The God Machine, a planet is harvested and controlled by “God.” God is, in fact, a computer maintained by a “superior” race of humans. The inhabitants of the planet, bred and brainwashed into submission, lead lives tightly controlled by the computer and its manipulators. That is, until Walter Dodge. Dodge questions, finds the truth, and reveals all, in turn becoming a god-like figure and bringing down the machine. This all happens in “Part 1.”
“Part 2” is where the novel takes shape and distinguishes itself from other dystopian novels. “Part 2” follows Sara, the child of two God-followers who were murdered by Dodge. Sara seeks to undo all that Dodge has done. She is ruthless and focused. She is the protagonist every dystopian novel needs. As she journeys across the planet, seeking a way to reboot “God,” she witnesses the horrors of a planet run by the Dodgists:
a bonfire of burning electronics and optic cables yanked from the bowels of the Cathedral bloomed on the rocky beach, casting a yellow and green glow across the water. A pile of twenty or so corpses lay on the opposite edge of the settlement.
Fisher’s The God Machine is a quick read and brings up an interesting question: does the idea of “God” maintain civilization?