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Genesis / Bernard Beckett.

By: Beckett, Bernard, 1967-.
Material type: materialTypeLabelBookPublisher: Dunedin, N.Z. : Longacre Press, 2006Description: 144 pages ; 20 cm.Content type: text Media type: unmediated Carrier type: volumeISBN: 9781877460180 (pbk.); 9781877361524 (pbk.); 1877361526 (pbk.).Subject(s): New Zealand stories | Artificial intelligence -- Fiction | Social control -- Fiction | Teen science fiction -- Fiction | Young adult fiction, New Zealand | Young adult science fiction | Social control Fiction | Artificial intelligence -- Teenage fiction | Social control -- Teenage fiction | New Zealand -- Future -- FictionGenre/Form: Science fiction. | Dystopias. | Young adult fiction, New Zealand. | Young adult fiction. | Teenage science fiction. | Teenage fiction, New Zealand. | Teen fiction.DDC classification: NZ823.2 Awards: New Zealand Post Book Awards for Children & Young Adults, 2007: Young adult fiction. | New Zealand Post Book Awards for Children & Young Adults 2007 Winner. | Esther Glen Award 2007. | Winner of 2010 Prix Sorcières in France.Summary: Here in the new Republic the people serve the State and the Philosophers who guide it. Until one man, Adam Forde, puts himself at grave risk and changes everything. Suggested level: secondary.
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Enhanced descriptions from Syndetics:

Genesis is a thriller that asks the big questions- What is it to be human? What makes a soul?

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 gruelling 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?

Novel for young adults.

Here in the new Republic the people serve the State and the Philosophers who guide it. Until one man, Adam Forde, puts himself at grave risk and changes everything. Suggested level: secondary.

New Zealand Post Book Awards for Children & Young Adults, 2007: Young adult fiction.

New Zealand Post Book Awards for Children & Young Adults 2007 Winner.

Esther Glen Award 2007.

Winner of 2010 Prix Sorcières in France.

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Excerpt provided by Syndetics

Anax moved down the long corridor. The only sound was the gentle hiss of the air filter overhead. The lights were down low, as demanded by the new regulations. She remembered brighter days, but never spoke of them. It was one of the Great Mistakes, thinking of brightness as a quality of the past. Anax reached the end of the corridor and turned left. She checked the time. They would be watching her approach, or so it was rumoured. The door slid open, quiet and smooth, like everything in The Academy zone. 'Anaximander?' Anax nodded. The panel was made up of three Examiners, just as the regulations had promised. It was a great relief. Details of the examination were kept secret, and among the candidates rumours swirled. 'Imagination is the bastard child of time and ignorance,' her tutor Pericles liked to say, always adding 'not that I have anything against bastards.' Anax loved her tutor. She would not let him down. The door closed behind her. The Examiners sat behind a high desk, the top a dark slab of polished timber. 'Make yourself comfortable.' The Examiner in the middle spoke. He was the largest of the three, as tall and broad as any Anax had ever seen. By comparison the other two looked old and weak, but she felt their eyes upon her, keen and sharp. Today she would assume nothing. The space before them was clear. Anax knew the interview was being recorded. EXAMINER: Four hours have been allotted for your examination. You may seek clarification, should you have trouble understanding any of our questions, but the need to do this will be taken into consideration when the final judgment is made. Do you understand this? ANAXIMANDER: Yes. EXAMINER: Is there anything you would like to ask, before we begin? ANAXIMANDER: I would like to ask you what the answers are. EXAMINER: I'm sorry. I don't quite understand... ANAXIMANDER: I was joking. EXAMINER: Oh. I see. A bad idea. Not so much as a flicker of acknowledgment from any of them. Anax wondered whether she should apologise, but the gap closed quickly over. EXAMINER: Anaximander, your time begins now. Four hours on your chosen subject. The life and times of Adam Forde, 2058-2077. Adam Forde was born seven years into the age of Plato's Republic. Can you please explain to us the political circumstances that led to The Republic's formation? Was this a trick? Anax's topic clearly stated her area of expertise covered the years of Adam's life only. The proposal had been accepted by the committee without amendment. She knew a little of the political background of course, everybody did, but it was not her area of expertise. All she could offer was a classroom recitation, familiar to every student. This was no way to start. Should she challenge it? Were they expecting her to challenge it? She looked to their faces for clues, but they sat impassive as stone, offering her nothing. EXAMINER: Anaximander, did you understand the question? ANAXIMANDER: Of course I did. I'm sorry. I'm just... it doesn't matter... Anax tried to clear her mind of worries. Four hours. Plenty of time to show how much she knew. ANAXIMANDER: The story begins at the end of the third decade of the new millennium. As with any age, there was no shortage of doomsayers. Early attempts at genetic engineering had frightened large sectors of the community. The international economy was still oil-based, and the growing consensus was that a catastrophic shortage loomed. What was then known as the Middle East remained a politically troubled region, and the United States -- I will use the designations of the time for consistency -- was seen by many to have embroiled itself in a war it could not win, with a culture it did not understand. While it promoted its interests as those of democracy, the definition was narrow and idiosyncratic, and made for a poor export. Fundamentalism was on the rise on both sides of this divide, and the first clear incidents of Western Terrorism in Saudi Arabia in 2032 were seen by many as the spark for a fire that would never be doused. Europe was accused of having lost its moral compass and the independence riots of 2047 were seen as further evidence of secular decay. China's rise to international prominence, and what it called 'active diplomacy', led many to fear that another global conflict was on the horizon. Economic expansion threatened the global environment. Biodiversity shrank at unprecedented rates, and the last opponents of the Accelerated Climate Change Model were converted to the cause by the dust storms of 2041. In short, the world faced many challenges, and by the end of the fifth decade of the current century, public discourse was dominated by a mood of threat and pessimism. It is, of course, easy to be wise with the benefit of hindsight, but from our vantage point it is now clear that the only thing the population had to fear was fear itself. The true danger humanity faced during this period was the shrinking of its own spirit. EXAMINER: Define spirit. The Examiner's voice was carefully modulated, the sort of effect that could be achieved with the cheapest of filters. Only it wasn't technology Anax heard; it was control, pure and simple. Every pause, every flickering of uncertainty: the Examiners observed them all. This, surely, was how they decided. Anax felt suddenly slow and unimpressive. She could still hear Pericles' last words. 'They want to see how you will respond to the challenge. Don't hesitate. Talk your way towards understanding. Trust the words.' And back then it had sounded so simple. Now her face tautened and she had to think her way to the words, searching for them in the way one searches for a friend in a crowd, panic never more than a moment away. ANAXIMANDER: By spirit I mean to say something about the prevailing mood of the time. Human spirit is the ability to face the uncertainty of the future with curiosity and optimism. It is the belief that problems can be solved, differences resolved. It is a type of confidence. And it is fragile. It can be blackened by fear, and superstition. By the year 2050, when the conflict began, the world had fallen upon fearful, superstitious times.... From the Hardcover edition. Excerpted from Genesis by Bernard Beckett All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.

Reviews provided by Syndetics

Library Journal Review

Set in 2075, this brief novel concerns an isolated island society created as a refuge from an otherwise devastated planet. Founded on the model of Plato's Republic, it stresses security and order over freedom. A young woman named Anax is about to take her entrance examination to the elite Academy, the island's governing institution. Her exam centers on the story of Adam Forde, a soldier who rescued a young girl from an approaching raft (outsiders are to be shot on sight as potential carriers of the plague) in a rare example of freedom of choice. Offering a riskily original interpretation of his trial and sentence (he must work with an advanced robot named Art in order to enhance its intellectual development), she will discover that Adam's story and the Academy itself are far different from what she imagined. Framed as something of a 21st-century Platonic dialog with an sf twist, this deeply philosophical if somewhat didactic novel is ultimately successful in conveying its message about the potential consequences of the interaction of humanity, technology, and the environment. [See Prepub Alert, LJ 12/08.]-Lawrence Rungren, Merrimack Valley Lib. Consortium, North Andover, MA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Publishers Weekly Review

Anax, the dedicated student historian at the center of Beckett's brutal dystopian novel, lives far in the future-the distant past events of the 21st century are taught in classrooms. The world of that era, we learn, was ravaged by plague and decay, the legacy of the Last War. Only the island Republic, situated near the bottom of the globe, remained stable and ordered, but at the cost of personal freedom. Anax, hoping her scholarly achievements will gain her entrance to the Academy, which rules her society, has extensively studied Adam Forde, a brilliant and rebellious citizen of the Republic who fought for human dignity in the midst of a regimented, sterile society. To join the Academy's ranks, Anax undergoes a test before three examiners, and as the examination progresses, it becomes clear that her interpretations of Adam's life defy conventional thought and there may be more to Adam-and the Academy-than she had imagined. Though the trappings of Beckett's dystopian society feel perhaps too Brave New World, the rigorous narrative and crushing final twist bring a welcome freshness to a familiar setup. (Apr.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Booklist Review

Anaximander, Anax for short, lives in an island nation that has survived an apocalyptic plague by constructing a great sea fence and destroying all who approach. The tightly closed society has evolved into a rigid but seemingly benign hierarchy. Anax, hoping to join the Academy the ruling class of thinkers must submit to an oral examination regarding her chosen subject, Adam Forde, a hero from the island's past. It's tempting to dismiss this novel at first as a fictionalized philosophy dissertation it unfolds as a transcript of the examination itself, complete with visual aids, and offers us limited access into the minds of the characters. Moreover, there are references to a period when the society called itself Plato's Republic; characters have philosopher's names; and some dialogue mimics the Socratic method. But appearances can be deceiving: this slim novel of big ideas (its subject is nothing less than the nature of consciousness) overcomes a slow start to grip the reader in a thrilling combination of action and ideas. And the ending is an absolute mind-blower worthy of sf's classic texts.--Graff, Keir Copyright 2009 Booklist

Kirkus Book Review

Dystopian vision of a future Earth almost wholly engulfed by environmental catastrophe. New Zealand author Beckett's slim first novel is a curious mix of science fiction, Platonic dialogue and An Inconvenient Truth. The story is framed around the four-hour oral examination of Anaximander (aka Anax), a female student who hopes to enter the Academy, home to the elite of what is now a rigidly stratified society. By the 2050s, we learn early on, the planet was overwhelmed by war, terrorism and global dust storms, prompting an entrepreneur named Plato to create an island haven in the Southern Hemisphere protected by a Great Sea Fence. Interlopers attempting to enter were killed on sight for fear of an invading plague, and Anax's exam focuses on a case of a crack in the system. Adam Forde was a soldier who in 2075 spotted a girl in a boat approaching the barrier and held his fire. Beckett relates this back story in question-and-answer format, with Anax responding to her three examiners. He avoids the danger of an overly talky narrative, however, by incorporating movielike holograms into Anax's examination, which work to illustrate key moments in Forde's life. This enables the author to add some descriptive passages to ease the rigors of the novel's more philosophical second half, focusing on the interactions between the imprisoned Forde and Art, a robot empowered with high-end artificial-intelligence technology. Art is so empowered, in fact, that he's a little smug about ithe routinely argues for his superiority over mortal, emotional humans. The book is clearly making a statement about the consequences of environmental neglect. Indeed, Beckett is stronger with philosophical fare than with plottingthe book's final twist is old hat. But he's earned the right to deploy a pulp-sci-fi clich or twohis conception of a broken world and the role technology plays in it is convincing. A cannily constructed portrait of a global worst-case scenario. Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.