Genesis by Bernard Beckett

by Bernard Beckett

ISBN-13: 9-780771-011429
Rating: 4.5 ♥ / 5 ♥

2041: First global dust storms
2050: First shot in The Last War fired
2051: The Great Sea Fence completed; The Republic founded
2052: First plague released
2077: The Great War begins

Genesis leads us into a future where ancient – and eternal – philosophical questions have dramatically collided with the march of technology, where just what it means to be human is up for debate, and where the concealed stain of an Original Sin threatens the very existence of a Brave New World.

In the year 2075, the island Republic has emerged from a ruined world. Its citizens are safe but not free. They live in complete isolation from the outside world. Approaching planes are gunned down, refugees shot on sight. Until one man, Adam Forde, rescues a girl from the sea.

Anax sits facing three Examiners and her grueling five-hour examination has just begun. Her special subject: the life of Adam Forde, her long-dead hero. If she passes, she’ll be admitted into the Academy – the elite institution that runs 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.

Genesis is such a remarkable story. Written entirely in dialogue and the thoughts of the main character, Anaximander, the novel tells the story of Adam and Art, and the beginning of The Great War.

Anax is sitting an examination to try and get into the Academy. The Examiners ask her questions relating to her topic – the life of Adam Forde. Through the questions and Anax’s answers, the history of the Republic is uncovered (and what happened to the world to make the Republic ‘necessary’), as well as how Adam became such an important historical figure.

Although I came across this book because it was listed as a dystopia – and there are definite elements involved that would classify it as such – I see it as science fiction first and foremost. Adam was instrumental in the development of an AI robot called Art. As Anax’s exam progresses it comes to light that it is Adam’s and Art’s interaction together that threw a wrench into the Republic and changed the course of their history.

There is a huge revelation at the end of the book, one which I confess I did not see coming. I’m a history major, and so I was swept up in the details of the Republic’s society and the psychological aspects of the story. Genesis is a huge look into humanity and society, and it really made me think about what I was reading, and the implications of AI technology. The writing was captivating and the plot was wonderfully done; I recommend this to anyone who likes science fiction, no matter your age.