Captain Ean Tephe commands the Righteous, a ship in the service of his Lord, an actual god who rules over humanity. The ship is powered by a captured god who is not named. To name a god gives it power over those around it. Tephe has a problem with his god. It’s rebellious and angry and attacks the acolytes sent to service it.
In John Scalzi’s The God Engines, the gods exist. They are captured and used to power starships, slaves to the humans’ Lord. Obviously, not the God. It becomes evident people in this far-flung future aren’t even aware of any present-day concepts of God or gods or even atheism. The gods are rebelling, however. They don’t want to be enslaved by the humans’ main god anymore. The god of the Righteous seems especially ready to strike back.
The God Engines is an odd story for Scalzi. Set in a distant future, this novella from Subterranean Press describes a world where science has been forgotten. The gods of this future a very real and something akin to the Greek or Roman gods of old, powerful humanoids who are hard to kill and thrive on worship. All except one, who needs souls to sustain himself. For centuries, the humans’ god has kept the peace and kept the humans faithful to him. However, a new god is coming to challenge him. The gods he enslaves are standing up for themselves. And Captain Tephe is caught in the middle, a mere mortal used as a pawn. Definitely a bizarre read.