Imagine being kidnapped in the Tardis by Doctor Who ~Involution – An Odyssey reconciling Science to God by Philippa Rees.
Over several weeks, my reading matter was something totally out-of-the-ordinary, and I’d like to share with you the review I wrote for Amazon:
Imagine being kidnapped in the Tardis by Doctor Who. That’s the only comparison I can make for the reading of Involution. It’s a wild ride across Time and Space (inner and outer), and the author accompanies you with the same infectious enthusiasm and love for humanity that the Doctor expresses. You are treated to the same expectation that you can and will keep up with the Doctor’s energy and understanding but also with the acceptance that at times you simply won’t be able to and it doesn’t matter as long as you are enjoying the ride and trust that you’re going in the right direction and experiencing the right things. There is also a LOT of wry, dry and self-deprecating humour as well as the same gentle, loving mockery of the foibles of the human race that the Doctor often expresses.
Yes, Involution is a poem and poetry has become something of an alien experience for many of us. I read almost all of it at the gym, while either on a treadmill or a static cycle because the rhythm of reading poetry is aided by physical movement. My favourite part was Canto Nine, where the great Serpent, personification of DNA, narrates and speaks directly to the reader. It’s a very profound feeling, as if the alien we feared turns out to be the saviour of the world, for most humans fear snakes and even loathe them.
The footnotes are very worth reading, especially if there were many parts of the book that had you thinking, I ought to know that but I don’t. They’re an education and a mind-expanding read in their own right; don’t miss them out as there are plenty of Aha! Moments there.
If you have read the other excellent reviews, you may find yourself feeling a little nervous of tackling a book that is often described as being erudite (and other similar epithets). Don’t be. Yes, the erudition is there, but no one is going to make you do an exam after and part of the point of it being in poetic form is that you absorb the key ideas simply by experiencing the poem. The people who will enjoy Involution most are those who, if the Doctor landed the Tardis in their garden and he came out and said casually, “Fancy a trip?” would say yes (with or without hesitation, it matters not; we’re only human and fears and doubts are part of that humanity) and head out to explore. This is not so much a book as a exciting adventure that only asks that you come along and see what the Universe has to offer.
You can find Involution at Amazon here: INVOLUTION