Genesis is a book for young adults. It is written by Bernard Beckett, an author from New Zealand. It is a science fiction book, looking at a possible way of life in the future.
The background to the story is set in the future, at a time when the world is recovering from a world war. A millionaire businessman, Plato, has saved his country by building a barrier, The Great Sea Fence, around the whole of an island called Republic. Republic thrived, and as it had cut off communication from the rest of the world, it became the last national civilisation in the world. The citizens were scared of the spread of infection and of another war, more so as the years went by. Republics leaders gained increasing control of the populace until a border guard, Adam Forde, decided to let a refugee into the island. That was a decision that changed the entire world.
Genesis is set some time later when a girl called Anaximander is taking her oral exam to get into The Academy, an elite institution which accepts under one percent of its applicants. Anax had chosen to study the life of Adam Forde for her exam, and she had prepared for three years.
The book follows Anax’s five hour exam in very close detail. She describes Forde’s life, looking at his childhood and youth, but focussing on the events that followed rescuing the refugee. She creates holograms to illustrate her points. As Anax gets deeper into her exam, she feels she’s missing a vital piece of information about Forde’s life. The book then examines her search for that answer.
All the characters in Genesis are important. Bernard Beckett did a very good job of focussing only on the characters who add to or influence the plot.
Anaximander is the main character of Genesis. She is an inquisitive teenager whose life has been taken up purely by researching the life of Adam Forde. She’s smart, and always longs for more knowledge. She has confidence, and has to bite her lip to stop herself from answering her examiners back. Other important characters are three examiners who are stern, harsh and cold towards Anax and Pericles, Anax’s tutor. Aside from these, there are very few characters in the novel.
One of the main themes in the book looks at how the nature of the soul separates humans from other animals and machines. This is a very interesting question, and the book really makes the reader have an opinion and develop their own answer to the question.
Another question in the book examines human consciousness. It asks if humans really are conscious, or if it is something we have made up to separate ourselves from other living things. And if consciousness does exist, how do humans know that they are conscious?
The last important topic in the book is the origin of life- hence the name Genesis. Have humans just made up their evolution to suit their way of looking at things? Is it to make us look like the main event? These questions stimulate the reader to think; even to argue with themselves throughout the book.
Genesis is written in dialogue, with only speakers and no descriptions. This is difficult to get used to, but brings out the best of the book. It is written in modern language, but ancient Greek names are used; for example Plato, Pericles and Anaximander. These names make the book seem like it is set in a different world.
Genesis is a very memorable book because of how different it is. The age group it is aimed at is from twelve upwards. The novel’s unexpected ending makes it exciting until the last page. This book makes readers think for themselves and as a result makes them feel a sense of achievement. I would give this book four and a half out of five stars because it is so unique.