Saturday, May 16, 2009

Genesis by Bernard Beckett

Anaximander, an applicant for the prestigious Academy, must undergo her final examination before she is admitted. Her thesis topic is the life of Adam Forde, an important figure in the civilization's history. In her examination of Adam's life, she veers off the course of the accepted historical versions of events. As the Examiners' questions become more and more difficult, Anax is left to hope that her new take on history will not give them cause to do more than just reject her.

This is one of the best futuristic/dystopian novels I've read in a very long time. Setting up the entire novel as an interview between Anax and the Examiners was a risky decision on Beckett's part. The current expectations for Science Fiction tend to involve futuristic weapons and difficult to follow action sequences; but Beckett's Genesis is more like Shelley's Frankenstein. Instead of action, what we get is largely the second hand description of action, which is remarkably satisfying.

Beckett deals with some of the major recurring themes in Science Fiction, and makes me nostalgic for that Science Fiction class I took in college. Genesis is incredibly well done, and it's a book I plan to keep on the shelf so I can read it again.

1 comment:

  1. I read Genesis this Spring and felt the same way you did. I was talking to some YA librarians at ALA and found out that Genesis is being marketed towards adults now instead of the YA market. I don't think the marketing folks talked to any of us YA librarians.