Genesis

Genesis - Bernard Beckett Dystopia is the new cool kid on the block of young adult genre literature. Readers of this genre are familiar with the storylines and themes: teenagers struggling to survive in a scary society that sets kids against each other for entertainment; a creepy society sets kids against each other in order to determine the characters' roles and jobs in the world; the collapse of society by disease, zombies, or natural disaster and the survival during the anarchy of the collapsed society. Genesis is not that, but in a way all of those. It is a short book, only 150 pages. The story unfolds in a very unusual format. It is told through an interview of a young student who is attempting to prove herself to the society's upper crust Academy in a sort of dissertation or thesis defense. The society described and the world lived in is not our society or our world. History is the topic of the student's "interview" and through her exploration of the topic to the examiners, the reader learns about the world and the society in Genesis. We hear of the society's history, focusing on the life of one key man "Adam". His story, because it is being told by the main character, Anax, the reader "hears" Adam's story almost as we would hear a story sitting around a camp fire. The interview set-up is a difficult manner in which to deliver a fully fleshed out history. In a way it is a huge info-dump, but unlike many information dumps the telling of the history of this world is not at all painful, it is intriguing. Mr. Beckett delivers the story of "Adam", so well that I typically forget that I was not reading about Adam from his point of view. Fans of dystopian and post-apocalyptic genre, will not be disappointed with Genesis. It has everything we love - disease, war, starvation, authoritarian governments, resistance, and a hint of passion. But, even this is not what the story is really about. Though the examination of the breakdown of a world is not what the book is about, the telling of it is done better than most dystopias. I would love to dive back into this world and read more about its evolution. So what is the story really about? The author examines what is artificial intelligence; what makes a human being human? How do humans learn? How do we progress? What is thought? If you want to ignore the philosophical nature of the book and just read about the collapse of the world, then no worries you can do that with this book because the story is so darned fantastic. But if you want to think about these topics in a very light and out of the box way - well you can do that too. Here are some little tidbits of interesting thoughts from this book, none contain spoilers. "They had embraced change uncritically, forgetting the most fundamental law of science, that change means decay.""History has shown us the futility of the conspiracy theory. Complexity gives rise to error, and in error we grow our prejudice.""For a society to function successfully perhaps there needs to be a level of empathy that cannot be corrupted.""It is in conflict that our values are exposed.""The very fear of dying ... breathes life into me."If you have read any other reviews for this book then you probably know there is a huge WHAT THE HECK ending???!!!!! Let it happen. Let the ending surprise you. Do not get spoiled by synopses of this book. Let the author tell you his story. Every step of the way it is fascinating and a great ride.More of my reviews at Badass Reviews