Wednesday, February 22, 2012
The man upstairs.
But! Here's this delightful, odd little book by Alan Lightman, the author of Einstein's Dreams and the first person to hold a faculty appointment at MIT in the humanities and the sciences.
Which is sort of like a unicorn. It's rare enough to find an English major who doesn't have to count on their fingers, much less one who is a physicist.
Mr. g is a disarming, bouncy retelling of the creation of the world (and the universe, and everything). Sure, God's there, but he's also got a cranky aunt and daffy uncle noodling around in the Void, and when Satan and two minions show up, God seems baffled to see them.
Why does God create the universe? Out of boredom, pretty much, which may strike readers as irreverent, but Lightman isn't interested in retelling the creation myth with mystical choirs moaning in the background. Instead, Mr. g playfully explores the physics that govern the universe(s). Lightman's Mr. g is more curious watchmaker than angry, bearded hurler of lightning bolts. Occasionally poignant and sometimes befuddling, this happy little meditation on creation is quite unlike anything I've read in the past year.