by Bernard Beckett Print book : Fiction
Sci-fi & philosophy in test format... so much better than it sounds!   (2009-09-07)
This was an intriguing book, and another one that I think fits into sci-fi for those who don't normally read sci-fi. It's also got a generous dollop of philosophy, which I think almost all great sci-fi has, and is about the only way I want to read anything that has to do with philosophy.
Genesis is the story of Anaximander's entrace exam for The Academy. It is a four-hour exam in which she with be questioned by three examiners on the subject of her choice. Anax's speciality is a man called Adam Forde, who we know is connected with the creation of Anax's society, but other than that, we learn about him and this new society as the Anax answers questions. We also discover what came of our current world, how The Republic was created, and how Adam challenged society and changed it. Of course, things are not what they seem and Anax has a tenuous connection to Adam of which she is not aware. The idea of humanity, of thoughts, ideas, and feelings, are called into question throughout the test, and the reader is often exposed to layers of story all at once, from Adam's perspective to Anax's interactions with the examiners to her private thoughts and fears.
I spent the majority of the story wondering what the swerve would be, and enjoyed it when it was revealed. Even flipping back through the book, there are wonderful clues and hints at how the exam and Adam's story will end. However, I think this story ends up being more about the philosophy than about science fiction. Anax's story's ending is good but felt just a bit predictable. Adam's story felt like the strong point of the book, and I think the connection, particularly between Anax and Adam could've used some more development, since the reveal comes so quickly.
Overall, an interesting book that creates interesting discussion points and would make for a few good reads. It's a fast-paced story and a compelling story-telling technique.
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