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How Like A God [Hardcover]

Brenda Clough
3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Jan. 28 1997
Science Fiction. What would you do, if you were Superman? Save the world, fight crime, have fun? Or is it true, that absolute power corrupts absolutely?

Product Details

Product Description

From Amazon

Rob Lewis, an ordinary computer programmer with a wife and two kids, becomes something extraordinary one day after he wakes up and discovers he can read--and control--other people's minds. It's an ability most people dream of having, but for Rob it quickly destroys his life. There is a death, injuries, the threat of warping the lives of his children. Rob flees to New York where, homeless and destitute, he contacts Edwin Barbaross of the National Institutes of Health. Together they travel to Uzbekistan, where Rob will face both the source of his powers and his own inner demons.

From Library Journal

Clough's (An Impossible Summer, Walker, 1992) hardcover debut offers a suburban fantasy in which Rob Lewis wakes up one morning with the ability to read?and, ultimately, influence?the emotions of people around him. Frightened, he leaves home, drifting aimlessly through New York City until he meets microbiologist Edwin Barbarossa, to whom he turns for help. Clough explores power, control, and friendship in a well-crafted psychological study. Recommended.
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
1.0 out of 5 stars HOW LIKE A COLLEGE WRITING ASSIGNMENT Oct. 21 2000
Like many, the description of this novel's premise hooked me, but within only a few pages, I was literally groaning out loud.
Brenda Clough's idea was wonderful, but was squandered on an execution so amateurish, I find it hard to believe a qualified editor even read it. Truly, the dialogue was so silly, it verged on parody. (Adult american men do not EVER say "Gee whiz!", or "Gosh, no!" or "Holy Mike!". And no straight man I know responds to another man's filthy appearance with "My goodness, you're a mess! Let go shopping!")
The characters in this book were no deeper than the pages they appeared on, with trivial acts causing absurd levels of tormented 'soul-searching' in one chapter, and life-altering events tossed off with a shrug in the next.
If it wasn't for the fact that I was truly intrigued by the premise, I would have done the (for me) unthinkable, and tossed a hardcover in the trash. Note to the publisher: Hire someone who knows how men talk to each other to at least read what you're considering putting into print... I'm seriously wondering about the quality of the other books bearing your logo.
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Brenda Clough calls her "Gilgamesh" books, _How Like a God_ (1997), and _Doors of Death and Life_ (2000), "suburban fantasy", and indeed they depict suburban life pretty well: home improvement, day care, commuting, minivans, even believable contemporary American Christians (a rarity in SF!). For that alone these are refreshing books.
_How Like a God_ concerns Washington area software developer Rob Lewis, the father of 18 month old twins, and the loving husband of Julianne, who works in the fashion industry. One day he suddenly realizes that he has an unusual power: he can read minds, the minds of anybody on the planet, and he can control people. After a few mild experiments, he tells his wife, and her response appals him. She wants him to influence her employers to help her career, and then she wants him to look for great personal power: run for President, perhaps. Horrified, he makes Julianne forget everything, but soon her realizes that he can't control his power, and that he is altering his twins unconcsiously, making them act extra mature without even knowing it. In despair, he runs away to New York City and spends months as a homeless man, using his power occasionally to cadge meals and housing. His humanity begins to slip away from him, and suddenly he realizes that he is becoming a monster. When he finds himself about to rape a teenage girl (by making her want it), he starts to break out, and looks for help. His only help is from a chance encounter with an NIH microbiologist, Edwin Barbarossa, a fundamentally good man at a very deep level. The rest of the book follows Rob's gradual return to humanity with Edwin's guidance, and also Rob's eventual encounter with the mysterious and surprising source of his power.
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2.0 out of 5 stars A promising idea turns into disappointment Jan. 9 1998
By A Customer
After reading the slipcover of this book I told my wife to get it for me as an Xmas gift. The story of a guy who acquires an incredible super power (the ability to read and alter others thoughts) and the effect this has on his life sounded too good to pass up. Boy, was I wrong.
The whole novel seems hurried, it goes from beginning to end too quickly. Usually this is the sign of a real page turner, but not in this instance. I never developed any feelings towards the characters and the writing seemed to lack any punch. Perhaps I was biased by having just finished George R.R. Martin's "A Game of Thrones" just prior to this, but I don't think so. Not once during "How Like a God" did I encounter a piece of writing that made me go back and reread it or read it to my wife (unlike the previous book I had read).
In conclusion, I just felt that the entire time I was reading this novel that I could write this well myself. That does not warrant a good review. Perhaps this book should have been titled "How Unlike a Writer"
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By A Customer
I am an avid reader of both science fiction and general literature. It is rare that I find a science fiction book that has elements in common with classic literature, and I am not simply referring to the Gilgamesh theme. Do not mistake what I mean, I am a scifi fan, but scifi by its nature tends to defeat itself on some fundamental levels of literature. So I was surprised when I pulled this from the scifi/fantasy section of my local bookstore. This novel is not only a good smooth read that moves fluidly, it also covers themes ranging from the terror and tragedy of sudden godhood to both macrocosmic and microcosmic views of humanity to the pleasant insanity of parenthood. This will go into my pile of books to re-read along with things like 'Franny and Zooey' by Salinger.
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2.0 out of 5 stars I read this BOOK! HOLY MIKE!!! Jan. 29 2003
How Like a God, really does have an interesting premise, thats the reason I read this book.
I thought it would be interesting to see how the power of a God would effect a regular human. What would he do with it? How will it change him?
Although this book attempts to take on these issues, it just seems like the are all half hearted attempts. Ultimately this book leaves one feeling unsatisfied.
It is also worth commenting that the books dialouge is so silly and child like at times, it appears that the author simply is attempting her hand at some form of satire. The character repeatedly yells " Holy Mackerel ", and my personal Favorite " Holy Mike!"
Although there are some interesting themes in this book, I just dont think it is worth the time to read it.
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Most recent customer reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Everyman with Superpowers
How Like a God is a fantasy novel. Rob Lewis, an ordinary computer programmer with a wife and two kids suddenly develops superpowers. He discovers he can read other people's minds. Read more
Published 7 months ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars A favorite of mine
I was talking about this book to a friend and flipped open to look up the spelling of the author's last name -- and was shocked to see so many negative reviews of this... Read more
Published on Dec 5 2003 by Caitlin
1.0 out of 5 stars Terrible
Please, don't waste your time reading this pedantic book. The author clearly thinks she is a superb writer, but unfortunately has a tin ear.
Published on Oct. 13 2003
5.0 out of 5 stars Deep characterizations are prevalent here
The author has done an excellent job at providing deep, thoughful and yet creative characterizations. Read more
Published on March 21 2000 by Gary Rogers
4.0 out of 5 stars A decent man overwhelmed by powers beyond mortal ken.
"Flat" characters! I found the characterization the most appealing facet of this novel. Rob is a decent, 3-dimensional man with a loving, very entertainingly realistic... Read more
Published on Jan. 12 2000 by Margaret L. Carter
2.0 out of 5 stars Belongs in the pages of a comic book.
Had this book been released by Image comics, with dramatic and colorful artwork done by someone like Todd McFarlane, then it would have gotten my enthusiastic vote. Read more
Published on July 23 1999 by Josh I. Mangum
3.0 out of 5 stars Good premise -- uneven execution
The premise -- being able to control reality through will -- is very interesting. However, the writing style is very uneven, many of the characters are flat, the dialogue get... Read more
Published on April 28 1999
4.0 out of 5 stars "I Am God !"
... is what the book should have been titled ... This book is pretty awesome and really has a bunch of REALLY cool elements ... Read more
Published on Sept. 7 1998
5.0 out of 5 stars This book made a believer out of me.
I'm not a science fiction fan. At least, I didn't think I was until I read Brenda Clough's book, How Like A God. Read more
Published on Feb. 19 1998
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