Project Pope by Clifford D. Simak
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I'm of two minds on this one. It's quite strong on showing us some pretty wonderful worldbuilding, a robot Pope with robot Cardinals on a super-remote world in a distant future, spending many thousands of years trying to come to the idea of a perfect religion.
In this respect, it's perfect Simak. A lot of crystalline exploration of the idea of the Holy and what is good and all in all, it's a pretty awesome treatment of AIs (hereforeto referred to as robots) doing right by themselves and all the other races in the universe. If it feels like a nostalgic homage to the humans that created them in the distant past, then you're right. Most of the robots alive today only have vague ideas about humanity.
I think Simak does the subject nice justice, capturing an island of peace and contemplation only available to robots because those pesky humans always seem to f*** it up. :) Of course, the book doesn't end here. The search for Heaven takes a high-math turn and ancient beings who may or may not be a species of angels have been watching over this distant world and with the help of a few humans and a baby (something), the adventure makes a schism in the robot religion.
This is all pretty cool. So why did I knock off a star?
The writing, actually. Sometimes it skims where it could dive deep and the characters and dialogue were kinda lame at parts. *shrug* It annoyed me because the other concepts and turns were pretty damn high quality. :)
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