Review Blog

Jun 11 2008

Genesis by Bernard Beckett

cover image

Text Publishing, 2008
(Age 14+) Winner of the NZ Post Young Adult Fiction 2007 and the Esther Glen Award 2007, Bernard Beckett has written a powerful and thought provoking science fiction novel which raises important issues that beg to be discussed after the reader has finished the book. In a future New Zealand, the rest of the world has been fenced off to keep out plague. Anyone approaching the land is shot, whether it is a military aeroplane or a single refugee. The story of the Republic, where individuals are strictly controlled, is told through the answers that Anaximander, a young candidate, gives in an examination when trying to join the Academy. Her recital about the life and times of Adam Ford, 2058-2077, who tried to rescue a young boat girl, opens up all types of philosophical questions. Should individuals be allowed to have independent thought? What is the place of artificial intelligence? What is a soul? What does it mean to be human?
This is a demanding and gut wrenching read with a twist at the end that leaves the reader breathless. It is certainly a book that could provoke wonderful classroom discussion and expand the horizons of the thoughtful reader. A teacher's guide is available.
Highly recommended.
Pat Pledger

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