Book Review: Genesis

9.3 of 10
Author: Bernard Beckett
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It's been months since the last time I've read a sci-fi book. It was Neal Stephenson's Anathem. The book was just sublime. The world is so detailed, and the philosophy showcased within was mentally stimulating. However, it took me a great deal of time to consume all of its 900 pages. It also left me stupefied for reading such a long and difficult book. So I promised myself that, in order to avoid further intellectual fatigue, I will steer clear from tome-like books with more than 400 pages, even if it means I have to sacrifice an epic reading experience. But this new method of choosing books has actually lead me to many great titles, and one of them is entitled Genesis.

Written by Bernard Beckett, an author whom I've never heard of prior to this book, Genesis is a small, thin book (150 pages long) intended for young adults. However, like they say, you don't judge a book by its cover, or -in Genesis' case- its thickness and age rating. Because, even though its size is small and the lettering are big, the detail of the world -its setting and history- and the philosophical discussions contained in here packs as much punch as a 900 page tome like Anathem.

The book's story centers around an oral examination taken by a young historian, Anaximander, who seeks entrance into The Academy, the figure of authority of the island utopia where she lives. Through this examination, we learn from Anaximander, as she is being quizzed by her examiners, the history of her island -of how a wealthy business man, Plato, sealed it with an impregnable sea fence in order to protect it from catastrophes, such as war and plague, that is ravaging the rest of the world. This island then became known as The Republic, a totalitarian government that controls all of its citizens' actions.

As the story progresses, Anaximander is also quizzed on her area of expertise: Adam Forde, the hero who defied The Republic and, eventually, the cause of its downfall. Due to his insubordination for following an order from his superiors, Adam Forde was sentenced to life imprisonment and became a test subject for artificial intelligence interaction. Now, this part is where the meat of book is found. The dialogue between Adam and Art, the robot, is just dense with philosophical ideas -a debate ranging from science vs. religion, modernism vs. traditionalism to Darwinism vs. creationism- that will make you question what makes us human?

Genesis is definitely the best sci-fi book I've read and enjoyed in a long while. Since the book's intended audience are young adults, there's no complex plots, sub-plots and high theories or philosophies in the book that will discombobulate your intellect. It's short and sweet, simple as that. But, nonetheless, the contents in here is chunky with philosophical ideas, enough to keep your mental appetite satiated. If you're looking for a quick, entertaining and stimulating read I suggest you grab Genesis. Sci-fi fan or not, I'm pretty sure many will love this book.

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Big Hamster said...

Hmmm, interesting review, I'll definitely watch for this one when they hit the store shelves.

God, I envy you and Comicon.

Any word on your friend? It's not just writing pala, more of a proposal (like taking it to a new level, hehe).

Thanks dude!

Skron said...

I e-mailed my friend but haven't heard anything yet. I'll e-mail him back.