Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Genesis by Bernard Beckett

Rating 4/5

I'm trying to figure out what the message is here. That evil is ineradicable? That violence is inevitable given complexity? That a perfect utopia is impossible because the world never stops changing? I read about the theory that ideas are subject to evolution in On the Origin of Tepees: The Evolution of Ideas, and I think it's fascinating.

I read Genesis cover to cover in a few hours. Considering the way the "story" is presented (as a kind of oral exam/presentation transcript reminiscent of Socratic dialogues) I think it's rather amazing how it held my attention. It's also kind of a story within a story - while the protagonist is telling the story of her people's history, we also get to know her story. Less than half-way through I was able to predict the twist revealed at the end, but that wasn't the only way this book messes with your mind. While I was reading I thought of calling this book a philosophical treatise or manifesto disguised as a YA dystopia, but now that I'm finished I'm no longer sure just what the author was aiming for. Maybe just another, somewhat fresh and unique exploration of common dystopian themes (control, consciousness, humanity, artificial intelligence, evil, etc.)? In any case, it was an excellent read, and well-written - for such a short book to cover so much ground in a thought-provoking and engaging way is a rare feat.

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