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Beckett's Genesis

A book by Bernard Beckett

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"The only thing binding individuals together is ideas."

  • Apr 10, 2009
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This small book is inherently provocative as it plunges into the distant future, 2075, when the world as we know it has finally spiraled into paranoia and endless wars in an orgy of self-destruction. Even for the common good, countries have been unable to overcome their mutual distrust. The result is The Republic, an area separated from a disintegrating world by a great sea wall, intruders scarce after years of war and plague outside the barrier. The structured society of the Republic is based on a careful alignment of working principles, a combination of science and technology, four distinct classes meeting the needs of a secure environment: Laborers, Soldiers, Technicians and Philosophers.

In Genesis, Anaximander stands before a panel of examiners, applying for a place in the Academy that requires a four-hour oral question and answer session. Three years of intensive study with a mentor have brought Anax to this moment. Grilled by her impassive inquisitors, Anax recites her extensive knowledge of the history of the Republic, the evolution of her chosen subject and her careful dissection of the relevance of this subject to the formation of society. Anax's chosen topic is the subject of myth, a critical part of society's evolution.. Intimidated by the three examiners, Anax is nevertheless confident, replying to the questions with quiet authority.

Anax posits her theories through recorded dialog, focusing the distinctions between humanity and technology and the philosophy of man vs. machine, man's inherent superiority despite the advances of science and technology. In a brilliant exchange of ideas, logic dominates the discussion, with flashes of passion, even hubris. This is unfamiliar territory, the future in thrall to a carefully-orchestrated balance of science, technology and ideas.

Seduced by Beckett's persuasive prose, the reader gains access to an otherworldly future via Anax's responses to her inquisitor's questions and the significance of a shifting paradigm for survival. Like Anax, the reader is caught in the intricate web of plausible argument, a rejection of conspiracy and the vital energy of an engaged consciousness. All the more shocking then, the culmination of Anax's quest and the inherent flaws in the integration of individual and technology. Beckett's hook baited, the careful playing out of line draws the unsuspecting closer to an unexpected fate. Luan Gaines/2009.


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More Genesis (book) reviews
review by . December 10, 2009
Anaximander, with the help of a tutor, has been studying in order to take the four-hour exam she must pass in order to become a member of The Academy. This book is mostly a transcript to her oral exam before a three judge panel.    I found Mr. Beckett's writing style unique as the whole story is told mostly through Anax's interview with The Academy elders and through several flashbacks. Through this interview we learn what has become of the world after wars and a deadly plague …
review by . August 28, 2009
A friend of mine last week recommended that I pick up Genesis by Bernard Beckett. A novella at 150 pages, he said it was a good read with an excellent ending. So, the library had a copy available and it was sent to my local branch within a day or two. I started reading last night, and finished it today. He was right... it's an interesting read dealing with a fair amount of philosophy, but the ending caught me totally off-guard. I was even thinking I knew what the ending would be since he had tipped …
review by . June 15, 2009
I was a bit concerned when I ordered this book. I have a thing for post-apocalyptic and dystopian fiction, but would I like a book that is supposedly geared towards the teen market? After reading "Genesis" I have to wonder about whomever it was that decided this book should be geared towards said market. This novel is highly philosophical and therefore seems more geared towards older readers (late teens, adults such as myself).    But let's put aside the brief market discussion …
review by . May 03, 2009
Genesis is an amazing and original book, I've never read anything like it before, granted I'm new to the dystopian genre. The book really challenges a lot of ideas that we never even think about because we think we already know the answers, I liked how much philosophy was in the book. I also really liked the author's take on what our world could evolve into in the not too distant future.     The way the book was structured was very interested, basically the whole history of this …
About the reviewer
Luan Gaines ()
Ranked #109
An artist/writer, I have traveled the world, walked on the moon and learned the complicated language of humanity, the enormity of the universe... all through the written word. My first passport was a … more
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About this book



ISBN-10: 0547225490 (hbk.)
ISBN-13: 9780547225494 (hbk.)
Author: Bernard Beckett
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Date Published: April 20, 2009
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