Tuesday, March 9, 2010

genesis by Bernard Beckett, reviewed by Freaky

Publisher description:
Set on a remote island in a post-apocalyptic, plague-ridden world, this electrifying novel is destined to become a modern classic.

Anax thinks she knows her history. She’d better. She’s now facing three Examiners, and her grueling all-day Examination has just begun. If she passes, she’ll be admitted into the Academy—the elite governing institution of her utopian society.

But Anax is about to discover that for all her learning, the history she’s been taught isn’t the whole story. And that the Academy isn’t what she believes it to be.

In this brilliant novel of dazzling ingenuity, Anax’s examination leads us into a future where we are confronted with unresolved questions raised by science and philosophy. Centuries old, these questions have gained new urgency in the face of rapidly developing technology. What is consciousness? What makes us human? If artificial intelligence were developed to a high enough capability, what special status could humanity still claim?

I thought this book would continue me on my dystopian society kick, but found it to be something quite different. I'm not sure even that post-apocalyptic even describes it. I certainly wouldn't put it in YA, which is where I have seen it placed on a few other blogs - we will be shelving it in science fiction, where I think it will do very well. More of an intellectual/philosophical discussion than a story, this may appeal to some deep-thinking teens, but is more for an adult audience.

I found it interesting that reviewers have either found the final plot-twist shocking or old hat. I didn't see it coming myself, but then I am a sporadic reader of science fiction, so maybe I haven't seen this twist happen in as many other stories as some have claimed. At the same time, I did not see the theme of environmentalism that some reviewers have claimed - to me that is a common enough cause of a planet-wide apocalypse in such books that it isn't worth noting.

At any rate, an interesting book that will generate thought and discussion among its readers. Possible choice for high school libraries and book clubs, a definite purchase for public libraries.

1 comment:

  1. I actually inquired about an ARC of this one last year when I saw it in a Children's catalog and the publisher actually said it was a misprint, that it's supposed to be an adult title. So that solves the mystery :)