The Universe Builders: Bernie and the Putty

The Universe Builders: Bernie and the Putty

by Steve LeBel

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780991055494
Publisher: Argon Press
Publication date: 08/01/2014
Series: Universe Builders , #1
Pages: 396
Sales rank: 265,020
Product dimensions: 5.40(w) x 8.40(h) x 1.10(d)
Age Range: 13 - 18 Years

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The Universe Builders: Bernie and the Putty 4.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 16 reviews.
Literary_Classics_Reviews More than 1 year ago
Bernie has issues.  His famous dad left home when he was young. To make ends meet, he and his mother are forced to live on the poor side of town in the projects.  He has no real friends to speak of; but he does have one colossal enemy in Billy, a boy determined to make Bernie pay for an incident which happened years earlier. These may sound like ordinary teenage problems, but Bernie's troubles are on a much larger scale than that of most young people . . . because Bernie is a god.  Fresh out of school, Bernie hopes to become a builder like his father.  But unlike most gods, Bernie must overcome a litany of obstacles which make his lofty goals seem nearly impossible to achieve.  As he works to protect everything dear to him, Bernie learns he is not alone.  With the support of unlikely allies, Bernie finds friendship and acceptance in the most inconceivable places. Steve LeBel's The Universe Builders, is a rare literary treat with a genuinely likable cast of characters sure to win the hearts of readers.  The Universe Builders is imaginative and unpredictable, whimsical and heartwarming.  This book will appeal to readers of all ages and is highly recommended.
ReadersFavorite More than 1 year ago
Reviewed by Stephen Fisher for Readers' Favorite The Universe Builders: Bernie and the Putty by Steve LeBel is an epic science fiction novel about creation, and a race of shimmering gods that use something called universe putty to help mold worlds, and such. Get it? Kind of like Silly Putty, but on steroids. The story begins with Bernie, growing up in the shadow of his father, Simeon, one of the most renowned universe builders with three best universe awards. After his parents divorce, his father abandons Bernie and his mother. Forced to live in poverty, Bernie grows up with minimal friends. Billy is the bully that plagues Bernie his whole life, especially after Bernie came to his friend Suzie’s rescue. After Bernie graduates from school with a universe building degree, he applies for a builder's job, and lands a probational position with The Business. As an average student the odds are against Bernie from the start, especially when he finds out that his nemesis, Billy, is in the cubicle next to his. Billy’s uncle is the boss. Bernie is given a trial project of building a universe and if he passes, he gets a permanent position. Billy is out for revenge from day one, and sets out to sabotage any chances Bernie has. Steve LeBel does a magnificent job of creating a race of gods that are, above all else, human, except for being immortal creators that is. Steve’s writing style pulls you into the story with a sense of humor that often occurs in the last line of a chapter. You simply cannot help laughing out loud, while turning the page to start the next chapter. Although this is an epic sci-fi novel, it is a marvelous story that will touch you in more ways than you would ever expect. The Universe Builders is smart, witty, creative, and captivating like nothing I have ever read before. Almost impossible to put down. Awesome!
ReadersFavorite1 More than 1 year ago
Reviewed by Lit Amri for Readers' Favorite “Have you ever wondered about the universe? How it came to be? The purpose of it all?” Author Steve LeBel offers a comical yet fascinating (and thought-provoking) perspective about the mystical creators of the cosmos. In the Universe Builders: Bernie and the Putty, the gods live in The Town, on a planet called The World, and they call their universe building job The Business. The story focuses one particular young god, Bernie. He gets a job after he graduated from the God School's building program. However, he struggles to impress his boss. Worse, his work is being sabotaged.  The Universe Builders is about gods, but it is also undoubtedly human in many aspects. Bernie is an underdog – even the gods have different standards. There are times when I have to remind myself that Bernie is a young god, not a young man trying to find his way in the (human) world. Then again, this is precisely what makes it worthwhile to go on the fascinating self-discovery journey with Bernie, chapter after chapter. LeBel makes the storytelling effortless, and as a result it is a mind-bending tale that can be enjoyed by both young and mature readers. The concept of the story is strong and unique. That said, some readers may not want to read this book if they are not open-minded about LeBel’s fictional perspective on gods and the universe’s creation. As a whole, the substantially layered story simply hooks you and leaves you with the understanding that self-belief and perseverance can be found in the most unlikely place or time.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
What a fun ride! A great story, great characters, and fascinating thought behind the craftsmanship of creating a universe! Something to grip the imagination of readers young and not-so-young. Bernie, a young god, one of a community of immortal universe builders, is in many ways just like us. He has to deal with puberty and school bullies and his first real job interview. Unlike us, however, he wants a job building universes. And there are specific time-tested processes and rules for that. That may have been the most fascinating part of the story—the structure and process of world-building! I appreciated the ethical issues Bernie addresses as he comes of age and has to decide what loyalties and responsibilities a creator has to his creatures. Every so often I detected a tip of the hat to various human creation myths, and they were perfect punctuations to the story. I loved this book. Well done. I give it 5 stars. I received a free copy in exchange for an honest review.
RiktorsPet More than 1 year ago
I LOVED this book and I could very easily see it as a cartoon series. No wait! Dont say "Oh its too childish to read!". No, its not that. To me, Bernie is like "Calvin and Hobbes" without the Hobbes, without the need to destroy things and hes a god. But he has this wonderful imagination, his drive to question "Why" things are the way they are (why should you kill off your inhabitants?) and then take that and think outside the box. But for "Builders", thinking outside the box isnt always the way things are done. Bernie has many obstacles to overcome. From wondering why his father left his mother and him to trying to prove that he is a good Builder and trying to avoid a bully named Billy. Then theres Suzie who stands by Bernie no matter what. I could say more but that would take away the magic of reading this book. Steve LeBel, I want you to know how much I loved this book and I cant wait to read the next one.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
TEN STARS out of FIVE! A simply amazing book that whisks you away from reality...to the read of a lifetime, with a storyline that stretches your imagination in every way possible! Full of lovable characters you get to know better than your own family! It is a shame I am not allowed to give it TEN STARS! I would if I could. Simply didn't want it to end. Hey, Steve, "you have a new fan and a future purchaser of every book you ever write in the future!" This book just has to win many amazing awards! Like "Book of the Year", "Book of the Decade"...no, make that "Book of the Century!" I've never read another book as good as "Bernie and the Putty"! Makes me glad I begged Steve for a gift copy to review! Bill Collins, author of: "Tales of a Super Hero Pro Wedding Photographer" and "Wedding Photographer: A 45 Year Career"
rissa_mae More than 1 year ago
I have read many wonderful books recently, but I was absolutely captivated by Steve LeBel's Universe Builders. From the first few words I was caught; sucked into a wonderful world where the gods have their own homes, go to school, work, have friendships and favorite hangout places among other things. It was such a different, unique and thoroughly delightful world I rarely wanted to leave, and even when I had to my mind would stay on where I left off in the story. To me, that is the mark of a truly excellent book. It was almost like Mr. LeBel thought the way I did I felt so much a part of the characters and their lives. The witty, sarcastic, sometimes snarky characters made me laugh at times, root for them in their troubles, and despise the ones who were evil. Every new page brought some new delight and each time you thought you had everything figured out...nope...something else would get thrown in to the ring. It was relatable, easy-to-read, flowed wonderfully, and had one of the most satisfying endings I have read. This book is the story of Bernie the god who just wants to graduate school, become a builder, and do his job well. He is a humble, peace-loving boy; gentle, friends with many creatures, and yet besieged with anything that could possibly go wrong in his life. Yet Bernie persists. He graduates, manages to get a job at the quite amusingly named "the business", and sets about on his first task....creating a universe, anything he wants. He comes up with a plan, starts building from the plan, and then his school-yard enemy and bully comes into play. Due to an incident resulting in a fight, which is never fully explained, Billy the bully sets out to make Bernie fail. Every time Bernie creates something new, Billy puts a kink in the plans to the point where Bernie is simply trying to keep up with all the problems in his universe. Along the way he makes friends with a co-worker Lenny and reconnects with Suzie from school. The two of them help him, both to keep his sanity and to prevent Billy from getting Bernie fired before he even has a chance. The three of them end up with equal stakes in making Bernie's universe a success. I do not want to ruin the book by giving too many of the details away, so let me just say the ending made me laugh and cheer at the justice served and the way everything turned out. It seemed the perfect ending, with such sweet poetic justice. There were so many different amusing threads or bunny trails in this book that I loved: The lookies in the forest and Sissy the shoulder pet as new, unheard-of creatures; Lord Alcandor of Bernie's planet acting as a confidant and father-figure to him; the titling of the gods' world (i.e. having them live in "the town", go to "the school", work for "the business", etc); the OWT gadgets, and so many more. It felt like the author dipped his toes into the technology bubble with all the backdoors and OWTs of the book, into philosophy and ancient Rome or Egypt with the way Alcandor and the people of Bernie's planet ran their world and even the gods' world to a certain extent, into astronomy and space with the gods and their building and creating, and into math and physics with all of the knowledge of motion, gravity, etc required to create a planet, sustain life and to keep it perpetuating. And yet it was so easy to read and so much fun....truly a fantasy novel for all ages.
sleepygirl More than 1 year ago
I received a free ecopy for an honest review. What a creative story! The Universe Builders is fantasy/science fiction full of drama and suspense. Steve LeBel has created a world full of gods who are more like humans than we would imagine. Unfortunately, most of the gods believe that their creations have no feelings so they have no qualms about destroying a universe if it didn't turn out the way they wanted. The characters are well developed and have mostly human characteristics. Bernie, the main character, is a young god, just out of school and a good guy. He doesn't have many friends because of Billy, a typical bully, who threatens anyone who tries to be Bernie's friend. The Universe Builders is mostly about the conflict between Bernie and Billy but there are side stories that are just as important. The book is well written and it's even easy to understand how to build a universe. This would be a good addition to any library.
VRMcCoy More than 1 year ago
I really didn't know what to expect when I began reading this novel, but very soon I realized that I was captivated by Bernie and the entire plot. It is unique and entertaining. It is more than just a humorous fantasy, it contains mystery, suspense and a delightful human factor of the Gods that's relatable. I highly recommend this novel.
TabithaOrmiston-Smith More than 1 year ago
In The Essence of Christianity, the philosopher Feuerbach posited that man creates God in his own image. In The Universe Builders LeBel has done, although rather less seriously and more entertainingly, just that, creating gods who are just like us, even down to the jeans and untied shoelaces of the young god. Just the originality of it would have been enough for me to rate it above average, but to the novel premise are added solid writing, likable characters, humour and that favourite of mine, a bully who gets his comeuppance. Suitable for all ages, this book is a thoroughly good read. It rollicks through the attempt of a young god to survive the sabotage attempts of a workplace bully and secure his place in the prestigious Business, and comes to a very satisfying conclusion, neat but not too pat. Given the subject matter, I feel I should not close without mentioning that devout readers need have no fears of blasphemy; there is no suggestion of conflating LeBel's gods with anyone's Divine Being, or of disrespect to any faith.
Kiribear13 More than 1 year ago
The Universe Builders: Bernie and the Putty is written by Steve Lebel and stands a part in a sea of mediocrity. It features a main character named (surprise) Bernie and he is a God in another Universe that has graduated school with a major in Universe building and is hoping to obtain a job with “the company,” to build universes for a living. Let me just say that this is one of the best books I have read all year, maybe ever. There are so many phenomenal layers to this book; I feel as though I could reread it over and over again and find something new each time. Steve has created an imaginative world based in possible dimensional trains of thoughts and takes a humorous poke at the idea of not being alone in the universe. He even goes one further and explores the idea of God creating our universe, but not just one God, that there are many Gods in another universe that create countless universes encompassing many life forms. The Universe Builders provides the reader with a normal guy in our main God named Bernie. He is somewhat of a geek and doesn’t have many friends. He lives in a lesser neighborhood with his mother and is constantly fighting against what seems normal for everyone else. I love his sense of “humanity” in wanting to fight for the most humane treatment of his life forms. When other Gods have no qualms about “blinking” out a life force, Bernie will go out of his way to preserve any life that he can and work around it. The antagonist of the story is found in Billy. Billy’s life mission has been to bully Bernie throughout school. In an attack on a girl named Suzie, Bernie finally fought back leaving Billy with a permanent scar on his face. When Billy finds himself in the same office as him, he will do anything in his power to ensure that Bernie is fired, and some of his heinous acts break your heart. I found myself feeling intensely connected to the characters and the situations, especially when it came to some of the life forms. I definitely had a few moments of tearing up and others of wanting to slap Billy in the face haha. This was such a wonderful book, I hated when it ended. I hope to read more about this “universe” created by Mr. Lebel. Overall I give this book 5/5 stars. I recommend it to anyone. It was so great it should be enjoyed by all. It was well written, detail oriented, well thought-out. I hope to explore more of the worlds within Steve’s mind some day in the future. *I received this book for free in exchange for a fair and honest review.
Wynkyn1 More than 1 year ago
This book is fantasy at its best. Perfect escapism in the world of gods. I've always wondered how our solar system was created, and now I suspect Bernie my have had something to do with it. Bernie's predicament is simple: freshly off the benches of God School's building program, he gets a job, but in order to pass his probation he must impress his very strict boss. It wouldn't be an easy task on a good day. When Bernie's work is being sabotaged, it becomes impossible. This is just one of the layers of this story - the surface one - but dig deeper and you'll find there is so much more to Bernie as a person. Multiple factors influence his personality and convictions, and growing up fast isn't easy. Popular teenage themes wind around the main plot - self-confidence, social mingling, incipient attraction, a need to prove oneself, the youngster's place within his community - and all are treated with finesse and understanding. I wish I had a book like this to read when I was that age. But even now, I have enjoyed Bernie's story far more than originally anticipated. The narrator's voice is so smooth, I picture him as a wise old storyteller that may have seen the passage of many millennia, sitting in a rocking chair with a thick tome on his knees. Observations and dialogue are peppered with humor, and the whole blends together into this really satisfying package. In the end, everyone gets what they deserve. This book works on so many levels - it's suitable for youngsters and mature readers alike. If you like fantasy with a good dose of wit and originality, then this book is for you. Five shiny stars for Bernie. I'm certainly looking forward to a sequel.
Amys_Bookshelf_Reviews More than 1 year ago
Whimsical and fun! I enjoyed this story. I happen to read the last book first, and then started with this one. It's very unique and there is a lot of reality with the writing style of LeBel. Bernie is a great character, a nerd and a god? amazingly fun. Bernie finds out that his nemesis is sabotaging the world, and he has to stop it, somehow. It's a grand adventure.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Don't miss - wonderful book! This unique and amazing read for Young Adults (and not so young adults!) is already among my top half-dozen favorite fantasies, including Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit, Watership Down, The High King, and Mrs Frisby and the Rats of NIMH.
PatriciaReding More than 1 year ago
When it comes to sheer, unmitigated creativity, Steve LeBel ranks high! In his Universe Builders, LeBel tells the story of Bernie, a young god, whose job is to create new universes. Bernie has a high calling and a tough act to follow. You see, his father from whom he is estranged, has won the Annual Universe Building contest—repeatedly. The pressure is on. But Bernie is sidetracked with friends, a crush on Suzie, a bully who is set out to destroy him, and unusual creatures that hang around in the nearby neighborhood forest. The Universe Builders is classified as YA, but it is written such that middle-graders could read it and would surely enjoy it. The story is “clean,” and while the characters are not terribly deep, they are most certainly entertaining. But it is LeBel’s (apparently) bone-deep creativity that sets this work apart. With an unusual mixture of fantasy and what “feels like” science fiction, the universes in which Bernie and his young god friends live, and those they all contemplate building, are highly unusual. Consider, for example, warm-blooded trees, the ability to “blink” out a creation because it’s not working out so well (a thought the pacifist Bernie cannot abide), planets with portals linking them together for the ease of migration should the need arise in the future, or the idea of creating a new world in which the female of the life forms precedes the male form. (Shocking, I know. I understand that it caused quite a stir!) I suspect that Bernie expresses something of an alter ego for LeBel. I base this on the story of Bernie’s educational pursuits. It seems that in his Creation Ethics 200 class, Bernie got a D+. Oh, he understood the material well enough—he just “refused to accept it.” So too, LeBel has refused to accept the possibility of creating a work like any that came before him. Thus, it is clear why he is a Literary Classics award-winning author.
Deal_Sharing_Aunt More than 1 year ago
This is a very interesting book about the gods and goddesses. I loved that they were easy to relate to and yet at the same time they were so involved that I was lost at Mount Olympus!. The author did a great job of building character development as the book went on, and the second book is coming out soon. I can not wait to read what the author has in store for these characters. I am giving this book a 5/5. I was given a copy to review, however all opinions are my own.