It's the year 2075. The island Republic has emerged from a ruined world. Its citizens are safe but not free. They live in complete isolation from the outside world. Approaching planes are gunned down, refugees shot on sight. Until one man, Adam Forde,rescues a girl from the sea. Anaximander, a young Academy student, is put through a grueling exam. Her special subject: the life of Adam Forde, her long-dead hero. What secrets has she discovered and what is her own surprising link to Adam? Genesis is a thriller that asks the big questions: What is it to be human? What makes a soul?
Go forward in time: it's nearing the end of the century. Do you see a dramatically altered New Zealand? In Genesis, Bernard Beckett, one of our most provocative writers for young adults, gives us his view of a brave new world.
In a terrifying and stifl ing examination environment a young Academy candidate, Anaximander, is put through a gruelling exercise in interpreting the history and origins of her society. Through her answers, we learn that in 2052, New Zealand has been renamed The Republic after a reforming Governor, Plato. It has separated itself from a plague-ridden globe with a gargantuan ring fence guarded with military outposts. All approaching boats, exploratory air craft or refugees are shot on sight. Society is strictly divided and individuals deviate from their assigned roles at their peril. When one man, Adam Forde (2058-2077) insists on his right to independent thought and action, The Republic is set at grave risk. Adam is imprisoned: his sentence is to become the participant in a programming experiment with a new brand of artifi cial intelligence. Through Anaximander's rendition of Adam's debates with Artfink, the computer, and her own increasingly disturbing encounter with members of the Academy, we are confronted with unresolved questions raised by science and philosophy.
Centuries old, these Genesis a science fiction novel by Bernard Beckett conundrums have gained new urgency in the face of rapidly developing technologies. What is consciousness? What makes us human? What separates us from the animal and mechanistic worlds? If artificial intelligence were developed to a high enough capability, what status could humanity still claim? As a species, we may have built in our own obsolescence, even if the planet itself is preserved.
Outstanding and original, Beckett's dramatic narrative has a stunning closure that turns the reading experience on its head. Genesis will fuel intense debate about ethics and meaning between intellectually hungry young adults.
Winner of New Zealand Post Children's Book Award: Senior Fiction 2007.
Winner of LIANZA Children's Book Awards: Esther Glen Award 2007.
Bernard Beckett is one of our most provocative and inventive writers. He has won many awards and fellowships for his fiction: Genesis is his eighth novel. Genesis was winner of the 2007 Young Adult Fiction Award for NZ Post and the Esther Glen Award of the sameyear. His most recent book is the popular science title Falling for Science: Asking the Big Questions. Both books were conceived at Massey University in 2005 where Bernard held a NZ Science, Mathematics and Technology Fellowship exploring DNA mutations.