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Saturday, March 26, 2011

Genesis by Bernard Beckett

Title: Genesis
Author: Bernard Beckett

Release Date: 1st August 2006. Republished 1st January 2011

My Rating: 4/5

It’s 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 a man named Adam Forde rescues a girl from the sea.

Anaximander, a young Academy student, is put through a gruelling exam. Her special subject: the life of Adam Forde, her long-dead hero. What secrets has she discovered and what is her own surprising link to Adam? She is forced to confront the horrifying truth about her totalitarian world.

Genesis is a thriller that asks the big questions. What is it to be human? What makes a soul?

My Review:
Genesis is a deep, philosophical science fiction novel that leaves your brain churning over the concepts well after you have finished reading it.

As Anax answers questions about her hero Adam Forde, the story unfolds through her answers. We learn the history of The Republic through her knowledge and the holograms she has created about Art, the artificial intelligence that became Adam's companion after his imprisonment for rescuing an outsider. We witness the development of Art, as he watches, learns, and argues with Adam over what differentiates man from machine. Is it the ability to think, to create ideas? Is it the physical aspects? A conscience? A soul? It questions morals, ethics and humanity, and as Anax comes to the end of Adam and Art's story, she has a realisation that blows her world apart.

There were two surprises that I did not see coming and I was completely thrown by the ending. Genesis is a thought-provoking, original read that will bring out the philosopher in all of us. This novel would make for fabulous discussions and would make a great school reading text. Teachers notes are available here, Reading Group notes here.

Genesis has been published in more than 22 countries and has won the 2010 Young Adult Category of the Prix Sorcieres (France), the 2007 Esther Glen Award, and the 2007 NZ Post Book Award. In 2005, Bernard was awarded a fellowship where he worked on a project examining DNA mutations. This led to the writing of Genesis.


  1. Great review! I love how you featured all those covers. My favourite is the illustration one :)

  2. "Genesis is a deep, philosophical science fiction novel that leaves your brain churning over the concepts well after you have finished reading it."

    Oh. my brain hurts already, haha.

    i do want to read this. when i am not feeling so lazy :D

    love all the diff covers. I don;t really get what that hair one is though?

  3. Sounds like my kinda book, haha :P The different covers are awesome, though I agree with Nomes - the hair over the water one seems quite random.


  4. Wow, all those different covers are so interesting. i like the one you've started the review with the best though. Sounds like a hark back to the good old days of the original sci-fi which makes it a must read for me.

  5. The hair over the water - is it human hair or orangutan hair ?


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