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Genesis

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3.82 of 5 stars 3.82  ·  rating details  ·  6,606 ratings  ·  1,238 reviews
Anax thinks she knows history. Her grueling all-day Examination has just begun, and if she passes, she’ll be admitted into the Academy—the elite governing institution of her utopian society. But Anax is about to discover that for all her learning, the history she’s been taught isn’t the whole story. And the Academy isn’t what she believes it to be. In this brilliant novel ...more
Hardcover, 150 pages
Published April 20th 2009 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (first published December 31st 2005)
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The Hunger Games by Suzanne CollinsCatching Fire by Suzanne CollinsDivergent by Veronica RothMockingjay by Suzanne CollinsInsurgent by Veronica Roth
YA Dystopia Novels
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The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins1984 by George OrwellThe Giver by Lois LowryDivergent by Veronica RothBrave New World by Aldous Huxley
Best Dystopian and Post-Apocalyptic Fiction
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Stephen
harlan6-1-1-1v2

5.0 stars. Okay folks, this is a must read alert. I was expecting this to be decent but I was blown away by how excellent it turned out to be. Focused, powerful and imaginative. This one is a keeper.

As many others have said (but it is certainly worth repeating) this should not be considered a YA novel. Yes, the protagonist is a teenage girl, but that is the only YA connection to this story. This has much more in common with 1984 than Harry Potter.

This is a superbly realized and eerily believa
...more
Lyndsey
Jan 10, 2012 Lyndsey rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Dystopian lovers, Those who just don't quite have the attention span for 1984, yet.
Kindle edition is on sale for about $5 HERE!!

This is what I call an "experience" book.

You may not find yourself inside the world like in an "escapism" story, instead you feel as if your viewing it from the outside. It's intent is to help you reflect upon and experience your own life, not necessarily that of the characters. Another more well-known example of this type of book would be 1984.

You breath on your own instead of with the characters. You are able to see the story more objectively, with
...more
Nataliya
Oct 01, 2012 Nataliya rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommended to Nataliya by: Jim
I was getting smug thinking I figured out where this book was taking me. And then last few pages came, and I all I was able to say was, "Heh. Ummm. Okay. Well, then. Heh." I know, my eloquence is astounding.

"The only thing binding individuals together is ideas. Ideas mutate, and spread; they change their hosts as much as their hosts change them."
Normally I don't care much for spoilers. I can even pompously say that it's the journey I care about, not the destination. (Believe it or not, in the p
...more
Meg ♥
Feb 13, 2012 Meg ♥ rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommended to Meg ♥ by: Jency

Well, this must be my lucky week. Reading two 5-star books one after another is not something that often happens to me. Of course, I love reading 5-star books, but the problem I have is reviewing them, because I always feel like what I say is not going to do the fantastic books justice.


Genesis was recommended to me about a week ago from a friend on Goodreads. I actually had never even heard of it until then. Usually when a friend recommends a book it takes me a few months to get to it. My friend
...more
Jim
Jun 23, 2012 Jim rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Anyone who thinks they will like it, based on trusted reviews
Recommended to Jim by: Multiple Goodreaders
June 23, 2012

I strongly recommend Mel's beautiful and moving review of this book. We both loved it, and tried really hard to explain why without spoiling the story.

There are many other exceptional reviews from friends and others, and I would never have known about it without their guidance. My thanks to all.

June 19, 2012
(Pre-review) - Thanks so much to all who supported and commented on this (now slightly edited) lead-in! My full review follows this section.

I absolutely loved it. Plopped it stra
...more
Tatiana
I agree with my fellow Goodreader, Genesis has no business being marketed as a YA dystopia. It should have been published by Subterranean Press or Night Shade along with Ted Chiang's and Paolo Bacigalupi's works to find its most welcoming audience.

The setting of the novel is indeed dystopian and the main character is a teen, but other than that Genesis has little to do with YA dystopian genre. It is a novel of ideas, philosophical even. Its main focus is the genesis of consciousness in AI (artif
...more
Regina
Dystopia is the new cool kid on the block of young adult genre literature. Readers of this genre are familiar with the storylines and themes: teenagers struggling to survive in a scary society that sets kids against each other for entertainment; a creepy society sets kids against each other in order to determine the characters' roles and jobs in the world; the collapse of society by disease, zombies, or natural disaster and the survival during the anarchy of the collapsed society. Genesis is not ...more
Steph Sinclair

I don't even know how to begin reviewing this book. I fear that anything I describe about the book has the potential to ruin it for anyone reading this reviews. And to do that would be a huge disservice to this book. Because believe me when I say it was truly remarkable.

There are three things I believe I am safe to say. (1) The main character's name is Anax. (2) The book is basically her interview with a panel for acceptance into The Academy. (3) It is a dystopian type book. (4) It's not a long
...more
Emily May
EDIT: Read again and loved it even more, upping my rating to 4 stars.

.......................................................................................................................
Old Review


Ok, so 3.5 stars actually. Maybe 4 but I've decided to be picky.

I was greatly torn as to my opinion on this book, it's a very confusing and weird read at times and not even remotely what I expected when I read the description.

The novel consists entirely of a 4-hour oral exam on a specialist subject of
...more
Jonathan

What on Earth did I just read? Was that a speech or a novel? Was that a YA book or one written for adults? Was the character... Well no I can't give that away for prospective readers. This is a book that has to be read without anything spoiling the plot (I will still provide a non-spoiling summary). What I will say is that if you've read Planet of the Apes before then read this. This novel is something of a YA version of that with a bit of a twist.

Genesis is not written in the usual form of othe
...more
Catie
The sad thing is that I’ve actually had this on my wishlist at the library for over a year! Thank goodness for the fabulous reviewers on Goodreads for convincing me to finally go ahead with it. This is a short, tense story filled with intellectual debate and philosophy and I really enjoyed it.

It opens with Anax, a young girl who has chosen to sit the examination for The Academy. She has selected Adam Forde as her subject, and must now survive rigorous questioning about his life and history, thes
...more
Amy
This is the best post-apocalyptic novel I've read since The Road. I started reading it the moment it arrived in my mailbox and was not able to put it down until I'd finished it. It's an intensely cerebral and philosophical read for a young adult novel. And just when I thought I'd discovered the secret of the book, I was completely caught off-guard by the true secret.

A girl named Anax has been given the chance to take a 4-hour oral exam to interview for entrance into The Academy. The book is the
...more
Kat Kennedy
Review to come once Kat figures out the statistical probability of her reading TWO five-star books in a row.
Mel (who is deeply in love with herself)
First of all, I'd like to draw your attentions to Jim's fantastic review of this book. It's well worth a look, I assure you; especially since he has included some of the more beautiful quotes from the book (something I was too scared to do myself!). Both of us read the book at roughly the same time, and enjoyed it immensely. Now, let's move onto the actual review.

.............

This must have been the easiest five stars I’ve ever given a book. And that includes Stephen King’s works of genius, too.
...more
Trudi
Which came first, the mind or the idea of the mind? Have you never wondered? They arrived together. The mind is an idea. ~Genesis

In the end, living is defined by dying~Genesis

Wow, wow and more wow! I have been swept away and truly humbled by this little book that's filled with such big ideas. The blurb on my edition calls it "sinewy" and "cerebral" and for me, that hits it just right.

I want to start by first giving a shout out to Stephen; his unbridled enthusiasm for this book is what brought i
...more
Sarah
First of all, let me just say how excited I was to read this book. The book description sounded so interesting and right up my alley. Was I ever wrong- this book completely disappointed.

The book description (a post-apocalyptic, plague ridden world, an elite Academy who interviews young applicants to maintain a crime-free society) is simple fodder for a short book that is simply packed with philosophical debate about consciousness and individuality.

As the main character started her interview, I
...more
Sparrow
Dec 23, 2011 Sparrow rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Erica
Recommended to Sparrow by: Flannery
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Flannery
Mar 21, 2011 Flannery rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommended to Flannery by: Lyndsey
Labeling this book as YA does it a complete disservice. My brain hurts from the workout.
Anila
All I have to say is basically one long whistle of amazement, but since that can't be communicated in a textual medium I'll try to explain a little bit. Short review, for a short book, though.

I thought I had it figured out. I've read a lot of dystopia and I know the patterns by now, and I saw a few of them here so I assumed that I understood how it would end. Wrong. This book is abnormal, and in being so it is also extraordinary and shocking and wierd and fascinating and powerful. The question i
...more
Literary Ames {Against GR Censorship}
Holy fucking shit, Batman! Holy fucking shit! *SPLAT!* My brain has exploded. I am blown away by the awesomeness of this little book.

Firstly, I owe a huge thank you to Lyndsey's review for inspiring me to read this because HOLY CRAP, HOOOOLY CRAP! This is the dystopian book to end all dystopian books. Doesn't matter if you think this sort of thing isn't for you, or if you're disillusioned with the genre.

At the very least this book will make you THINK. Think about the state of humanity, its limi
...more
Jill
Feb 17, 2012 Jill rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommended to Jill by: Meg ♥
3.5 stars

Occasionally it's good to step outside your preferred genre and read something different. Genesis, while not actually entertaining, is certainly interesting. On the surface the book is a bit dry, as the story unfolds as an interview. Set in the future, the main character Anaximander is being interviewed for a place at The Academy. The book is heavy on philosophy, the history of this world, the meaning of life and humanity.

I liked it, though didn't love it. I found it appealing but not e
...more
Mimi
Jul 30, 2014 Mimi rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: everyone
What ifthere'san unstoppable outbreak spreadingall across the world, wiping out whole populations, and the only area leftunaffected is an island closed off from any contact with the mainland?

This is the state of the world inGenesis.

Guards on the island have been instructed to terminateon site anything they see floating on the water. If they hesitate, they are alsoterminated. The people on the island construct for themselves a Sparta-like dystopian society and government called The Republic to ma
...more
Carolyn
Have to admit, after reading the description and reviews, I was expecting much more of a book than this little novella, really, not much more than a glorified short story. The post-apoc setting was pretty well constructed, but anyone well read in the genre will be able to figure out the twists of this particular story. Lots of philosophical sophistry between the human and the AI, an ok way to spend a couple of hours.
Kirstine
Okay, so... Wow.
I got this book on a booksale, I read the back of it and thought that I, as a philosophy student, couldn't, mustn't, pass it up. And for a philosophy student, or for anyone with even the slightest interest in philosophy this book is gold.

It's basically one long conversation (or examination), exactly like most of Plato's works, and it works extremely well. It's kind of a case of "What if we took ancient philosophy and put it in a dystopian (utopian?) future?". I love it.

It's al
...more
Trin
Brief piece of philosophical/speculative fiction that I found both muddled and insipid. I liked the framing device—the story is told through one character’s oral exam as she attempts to gain admittance to The Academy—but the characters were woefully flat and I found the story Beckett was trying to tell obvious and dull. I saw the big “twist” coming from at least ten miles away, and thus felt no sense of wonder or revelation at the climax; I kept reading to ascertain that I was right, and I was. ...more
Amy Sturgis
This is a one-of-a-kind gem I can't recommend highly enough. Imagine an isolated island preserved from world plague by its remote location. Now imagine the inhabitants creating a community based on Plato's Republic. Whatever you expect this book will be, it will surprise you.
Rachel Hartman
I'm rounding up to four stars because I think this book would have blown my tiny mind as a teenager. As it is, I've read most of his source material -- philosophy, evolutionary biology -- so none of the ideas here were actually NEW to me. The book structure was new, and I was surprised (sorry, it's the kind of book where you can spoil it just by breathing). He made a readable story out of what could have been very dry material.

I'm tempted to bust out the anecdote about the day I argued cognitive
...more
Sandy
Before I read Genesis, I saw Ticket to Anywhere's review where she recommended knowing nothing about it before starting. I agree. Other than reading Lyndsey's brilliant review and shielding my eyes from the part about the plot summary, I decided to go into this one blind.

What a truly remarkable read it was.

This is definitely one of those books that will stay with you. I read a lot of fluffy, escapist books. This is not one of them. Genesis made me think. It's only 150 pages, but I savored each o
...more
Tony Bertauski
I almost didn't read this.

After 5 or 6 pages, I realized this interview format was going to continue throughout most of the book. Not being a fan of lengthy narrative, especially the kind that tells the reader the story, I put it down. Then I did something I've never done: I read the last page.

Hooked. I finished the book that day.

Beckett carved a story within a story, both of which become engrossing. But the most powerful part of this story is the dialog between Art and Adam. Witty, sharp and f
...more
Erica (daydreamer)
O.O I am completely mind boggled. This book is utterly incredible. It has the most deeply thought provoking ideas…and thoughts. I thought this would be a quick read, but not so. I had to read every single word slowly to get the whole thought process and ideas that were being presented, and then think about it, picture it, understand it. And the ending was so surprising, so creative and brilliant. It was such a short book, but it has more meaning than you could possibly imagine. Wow. I may just h ...more
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topics  posts  views  last activity   
Future Wastelands: June 2014 - Genesis 1 11 May 31, 2014 02:27PM  
DOES THIS BOOK ACTUALLY HAVE ANYTHING TO DO WITH THE BIBLE?! 5 91 Jul 29, 2013 06:22AM  
Young Adult Book ...: Final Thoughts on Genesis 24 83 Mar 30, 2013 05:11PM  
Young Adult Book ...: Artifical Intelligence 9 34 Mar 24, 2013 09:23AM  
Young Adult Book ...: Initial Thoughts on Genesis 18 55 Mar 24, 2013 09:23AM  
Young Adult Book ...: What is it to be human? 2 27 Mar 03, 2013 10:38PM  
  • Veracity
  • Fireflies
  • Exodus (Exodus, #1)
  • 20 Years Later
  • The Secret Under My Skin
  • Floodland
  • Scored
  • The Other Side of the Island
  • Human.4 (Point 4, #1)
  • The Guardener's Tale
  • Far North
  • The Inferior (The Bone World Trilogy, #1)
  • The Third
  • WE
  • The Blending Time
  • And All the Stars
  • Pump Six and Other Stories
  • Silently and Very Fast
1290482
Bernard Beckett, born in 1967, is a high school teacher based in Wellington, New Zealand, where he teaches drama, mathematics, and English. Genesis was written while he was in a Royal Society genetics research fellowship investigating DNA mutations. The book has already received international acclaim, including two literary prizes in Beckett's native New Zealand. Rights to Genesis have been sold i ...more
More about Bernard Beckett...
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“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.” 102 likes
“I am not a machine. For what can a machine know of the smell of wet grass in the morning, or the sound of a crying baby? I am the feeling of the warm sun against my skin; I am the sensation of a cool wave breaking over me. I am the places I have never seen, yet imagine when my eyes are closed. I am the taste of another's breath, the color of her hair.
You mock me for the shortness of my life span, but it is this very fear of dying which breathes life into me. I am the thinker who thinks of thought. I am curiosity, I am reason, I am love, and I am hatred. I am indifference. I am the son of a father, who in turn was a father’s son. I am the reason my mother laughed and the reason my mother cried. I am wonder and I am wondrous. Yes, the world may push your buttons as it passes through your circuitry. But the world does not pass through me. It lingers. I am in it and it is in me. I am the means by which the universe has come to know itself. I am the thing no machine can ever make. I am meaning.”
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