Bernard Beckett
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Buy *Genesis* by Bernard Beckett

Bernard Beckett
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
160 pages
April 2009
rated 5 of 5 possible stars

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Much of history relies on myth for the stories passed from generation to generation. In the year 2075, the world as we know it has long passed from recognition with unending wars for dominance and plague, only one place surviving the chaos of self-destructive nations. Man has finally engineered his own demise, a lust for power and mass paranoia reducing all to oblivion.

Now there is only the Republic, a vast community protected from the outside for many years by a great sea wall, intruders annihilated before they can contaminate the last refuge. The structured society of the Republic is based on a careful alignment of working principles, a combination of science and technology. Four distinct classes meet the needs of a secure environment: Laborers, Soldiers, Technicians and Philosophers.

Anaximander faces three examiners of the Academy, an elite governing institution who preside over a four-hour examination to determine her fitness in joining their number. Carefully prepped by her teacher, Pericles, Anax states her thesis: the study of an historic figure, Adam Forde. Raised in the Philosopher class, Adamís intuitive rebellion puts him on a collision course with history, the theme of Anaxís long hours of study. Intimidated by the three examiners, Anax is nevertheless confident, replying to the questions with quiet authority.

Anax posits her theories through Adamís recorded dialog with a capable adversary. Adam reveals his core beliefs, the distinctions between humanity and technology, the philosophy and implications of man versus machine, refusing to relinquish manís inherent superiority despite the advances of science and technology.

In a brilliant exchange of ideas, Adam parries his adversaryís responses. Logic dominates their discussion, with flashes of passion, even hubris. This is unfamiliar territory, a landscape where technology is as vital as the human species, the future in thrall to a carefully orchestrated balance of science, technology and ideas.

Logically seductive, this clever tale piques the readerís curiosity with a future too tantalizing to ignore. For a brief time, Adam comes alive through Anaxís examination, her deep knowledge of subject revealing Anaximanderís impassive conclusions, skirting the edges of her examinerís displeasure.

As foreign as the form of the future may be, such an isolated existence is a plausible extension of a world destined for self-destruction. The shocking culmination of Anaxís search for truth exposes the potential flaws in individual versus society, Genesis an eerie peek into what lies ahead.

Originally published on Curled Up With A Good Book at © Luan Gaines, 2009

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