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The Genome

(Геном #2)

3.80  ·  Rating details ·  1,284 ratings  ·  149 reviews
"The Genome" is a new science fiction thriller by the author of the bestselling Night Watch series.In the far-future world of Alexander Romanov, humankind is divided into "naturals" and "speshes"--those who have been genetically modified to serve a specific purpose. Alex is a master pilot capable of maneuvering the dangerous realm of space by communicating directly with ...more
Paperback, 496 pages
Published December 2nd 2014 by Open Road Media Science & Fantasy (first published 1999)
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David Pollison As far as I can tell The Genome is the only book in the series that has been translated into English. I did not feel that I had missed out on some…moreAs far as I can tell The Genome is the only book in the series that has been translated into English. I did not feel that I had missed out on some kind of back story or previous story. It appears that Dances On The Snow is only available in Russian, German and Chinese.(less)

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Average rating 3.80  · 
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 ·  1,284 ratings  ·  149 reviews

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Althea Ann
Dec 15, 2014 rated it it was ok
According to the author, this book was intended as a parody of space opera.
("In the closing section, Lukyanenko hides a sort of acrostic message for his readers: "This novel is a parody of space opera and cyberpunk. The author values your sense of humor..."")

Glancing through some of the other reviews of the book, it's clear that quite a few readers missed the 'parody' element. And honestly, I'm not sure it really comes through. Maybe something was lost in translation? At many points, the book
Stephanie Swint
Nov 06, 2014 rated it liked it
Sergei Lukyanenko is an author I will pick up even if the book doesn't sound like something I will like. His Night Watch Series is amazing. I loved getting the perspective of a Russian author, a non-western perspective, of fantasy and science fiction. When I saw this was available I snapped it up even though I'm not generally a fan of space opera. I enjoyed it. Lukyanenko successfully created an interesting futuristic world. People are part of a socially stratified society of Naturals, Speshes, ...more
Oct 21, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: scifi, netgalley

**Note: this review is of an uncorrected advanced reader copy. While the included quotes may not reflect the final phrasing, I believe they are characteristic of the novel as a whole.**

How much can we tinker with our talents and inclinations before we encroach upon free will? This is the question that The Genome seeks to answer. It’s a complex and fascinating problem. A pity that such a fine concept was clad in such tawdry garb.

Science fiction explores our imaginations, but it also reveals
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Oct 24, 2014 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Alex Romanov is a 34-year-old master pilot “spesh” - someone who is genetically enhanced to perform a specific function (such as piloting a space craft).

Leaving the hospital on the planet Quicksilver Pit, where he was recovering from a space accident, Alex encounters Kim O’Hara, a 14-year-old “fighter-spesh” who seems in need of rescuing. Alex’s pilot-spesh genes are programmed to make him want to take care of others, even if the capacity for love has been eliminated from him. He can’t help
If The Genome was not written by Sergei Lukyanenko, it would not have caught my attention. But I’ve been planning to read Night Watch by Sergei Lukyanenko for a long time, because it sounded like interesting urban fantasy series. The fact that Sergei Lukyanenko is from Russia only increased my curiosity.

Let’s make things clear. The Genome does not have even a tiny bit of fantasy. This book is pure science fiction. And it’s the best kind of science fiction – with believable future and technology.
Nov 01, 2014 rated it it was ok
Shelves: science-fiction
This could have been a really interesting look at a future society where there are normal humans and then there "spesh" humans who have had their genome altered to make them ideally suited for certain jobs. Unfortunately, this novel from the author of the Night Watch books is marred by several issues that just jar you right out of the story. Some are strange things that just seem unlikely in the future, such as the fact that everyone in the book smokes, even onboard a spaceship. Cigarettes, ...more
Oct 06, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: science-fiction
This was a strange one. Having really enjoyed his Night Watch series, was excited to see (and read!) an English translation of a new Lukyanenko book. Unfortunately, I can't put this one at the level of the Night Watch books. First, the translation was, I think (and hope, for the author's sake) lacking in comparison, so there's that. Second, much of it was (again, I think) subtle parody of space opera sci-fi, and there's no way the author intended in seriousness to be so demeaning to the female ...more
Boian Alexandrov
Dec 20, 2015 rated it really liked it
It is a space opera (very much like the Vorkosigan Saga) mixed with а thrilling crime story that happens in our Galaxy dominated (partially) by a eugenic Human Empire. The novel is easy and enthralling to read. However, this book is not the best from Lukyanenko.
2.5 Stars

Read all my reviews on

A few years back I heard a lot people talk about Night Watch and his other books, but I never came around to actually reading them. But when I saw this title on Netgalley, the author sounded very familiar and I really wanted to try this one.

In a world where certain capacities can be bought to be incorporated in the genome of an unborn child, master-pilot Alex Romanov is looking for a new job. Very conveniently he gets offered a
Jul 06, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: bookcase
I'm about to write that I didn't enjoy a Sergei Lukyanenko book and I can't bring myself to type it. However, it seems to be true. I have to say, I'm a big fan of Sergei, I absolutely love his Night Watch mythos and book series. I'm also a big fan of the Russian school of writing, that amalgamation of story, concept and philosophy.
There is a number of reasons why the Genome did not work for me. For starters, the main reason was entirely my fault: I never quite knew what I was buying. I thought
Nov 21, 2014 rated it really liked it
I have never heard or read anything by this author. I just thought this book sounded good. After reading this book I do want to go back and check out Night and Day Watch. Also after reading this book I realized that I need to read more sci-fi books. I have been lucky thus far and every single one that I have picked up I have really enjoyed. I have been fascinated by science and space. I used to watch X-Files and I am a Trekkie fan. That is lingo for Star Trek for thoses who are not familiar.

Mar 14, 2015 rated it did not like it
Would have kept reading, but on my version's page 99 the more than adult hero of our story was about to bang a fourteen year old girl, with a bounding sexual appetite. And suddenly, any interest I had in finishing the book, evaporated.
Sep 15, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Sergei Lukyanenko’s name gained popular recognition outside of his native Russia with the translations of his fantasy/horror novels, Night Watch and Day Watch, and their equally successful film adaptations and remakes. It’s not surprising then to see reader interest in translations of his other work, including his science fiction.

However, when it comes to The Genome, diving in simply due to author recognition is not advised. This is a novel where it pays to know not just the author and plot, but

3 stars

Starship pilot Alexander Romanov, fresh out of hospital, stands up for young Kim O'Hara, only to find she's more than capable of taking care of herself. Genetically designed for a particular function like Alex himself, Kim is about to undergo her transition to full 'spesh' status, and Alex is genetically programmed to care for those under his care. When a mysterious dream job comes his way, he takes Kim and several others onto his crew, only to find that the job
Nov 05, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Alex Romanov, a Master Pilot-spesh, captains the starship ‘Mirror’ on a tourist cruise to exotic planets. Like most of his crew, in youth, he had been genetically engineered, specialized, to perform his tasks and programmed to be happiest when doing so. Speshes are incapable of violating their programming, unless of course, the spesh is not as he/she appears or something can be introduced into their genome to negate programming. Add to the mix a ‘natural’
Jay Williams
Dec 02, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This book combines an amazing view of the future with an old-fashioned whodunit, and a love story. The words do a great job of describing the worlds of the future and the various inhabitants. At base, the many different organisms and altered humans have the same positives and negatives as people today. The gory parts are not too gory, and the narrative flows smoothly through the action, communicating well and not getting in the way. The first section of the book is primarily setting the stage. ...more
Oct 06, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Even if I'm accustomed to the style of the author, this time my problem with the book has more to do with how he deals with some issues (maybe because Russian?) than for him writing in his usual way (dry). I do not think there will be other books and even if this will become a series, such as the Guardians for example, I will not follow it further.

Anche se sono abituata allo stille dell'autore, stavolta il mio problema con il libro ha piú a che fare con il modo di trattare alcuni argomenti
Daryl Clarke
The future is metric. Imperial units are only used by the US. The book is too YA and too coincidental for my liking. Very cliched and I am having trouble staying interested and the main character hasn't even left the planet yet.
Nov 11, 2014 rated it it was ok
Shelves: scifi, netgalley

**Note: this review is of an uncorrected advanced reader copy. While the included quotes may not reflect the final phrasing, I believe they are characteristic of the novel as a whole.**

How much can we tinker with our talents and inclinations before we encroach upon free will? This is the question that The Genome seeks to answer. It’s a complex and fascinating problem. A pity that such a fine concept was clad in such tawdry garb.

Science fiction explores our imaginations, but it also reveals
Jessica Strider
Nov 01, 2014 rated it liked it
Pros: interesting & diverse characters, solid world-building, some thought provoking philosophy

Cons: several highly disturbing (though not graphic) scenes, Lolita style relationship

Five months after a devastating accident that physically cut him in half, Alexander Romanov is released from the hospital. With little money and no plans, he encounters a young girl nearing her spesh metamorphosis and - due to the programming inherent in his pilot spesh - has to help her out. He takes a job as a
Maria Beltrami
The novel starts very well: the genetically modified space pilot who leaves the hospital after having barely survived a terrible accident meets the classic girl ran away from home, of course, in turn, genetically modified, and in great anguish because next to the process of metamorphosis intended to lead to hers full capacity. And until here one thinks you are reading a good classic science fiction novel. Then there is the mysterious ship, the intricate recruitment of a crew with its unusual GM ...more
Oct 29, 2014 rated it liked it
This book started off really well - a glimpse at the future where there are naturals and speshes, genetically altered in the womb to fit a certain profile for a job both physically and mentally.

The story starts with an injured pilot incapable of love (part of his spesh changes), Alex working his way back to recovery, ready to take on a new job, he stumbles across Kim - a troubled fourteen year old fighter spesh barely past her metamorphasis.

Quickly enough, Alex has a ship and a questionable crew
Fraser Simons
In a future where humanity has many colonies and, if you've got the cash, your genetic structure is altered and optimized--making you a spesh. People are created with singular purposes in mind and made to enjoy whatever that is, from cleaning the streets to being a "master pilot." We follow Alex, one such master pilot, who saves a young girl named Kim when she undergoes a metamorphosis of her own, becoming a spesh herself.

The setup was great in this book, unfortunately after this promising
Feb 03, 2019 rated it it was ok
What begins as a mysterious space adventure with speshes (specials - people genetically engineered as children toward a specific purpose) unravels about 60% of the way through into the sexual misadventures of the protagonist then tries to reinvigorate itself with an examination of the effects of turning people into speshes, some racial/species hostilities with a bonus Murder on the Orient (Space) Express. I'm not sure if something was lost in the translation to English, but this felt like ...more
Amanda Makepeace
Sep 10, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Genome was not what I expected but I still enjoyed the story. Reading translated works is sometimes a challenge. Translations can alter the original flow of a sentence or a scene, but I was able to overlook that here. What I enjoy most from Lukyanenko’s novels are his characters. Their core, their motivations, are not always apparent from the start. You have to get to know them just as you do anyone, and like anyone, they change under the right circumstances. Every character in The Genome ...more
Aug 24, 2018 rated it did not like it
This was horrible. Absolutely chauvinist, sexist, racist, xenophobic and just what? I kept pushing myself to finish it even though I wasn't enjoying the utterly casual awfulness of the situation to see if it even had a point. So, I finished it, but I didn't come to like or appreciate it any more. I definitely liked it less and it got really awful in new ways at the end.
 Reading Divergence

A really exciting futuristic science fiction novel by the author of the acclaimed NIGHT WATCH Series, THE GENOME has it all: future, space colonization, genetic manipulation and enhancements, likable characters, intriguing prose. I consider this one a re-reader, and give a high recommendation.
Oct 09, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book had a good plot, good characters and an unusual setting but it dragged in places. Genetic engineering and cloning play a large part to the story.
Ira Nayman
Mar 06, 2017 rated it really liked it
The Genome, the latest novel by popular Russian speculative fiction author Sergei Lukyanenko, is a curious amalgam of disparate elements. I’m not sure it entirely works, but it largely did for me, and, in any case, I applaud the effort at trying something different.

The novel starts with the meeting of two “speshes” – human beings genetically reprogrammed for specific tasks. The main character, Alex, has been modified to pilot and captain starships. Kim is undergoing a metamorphosis, an event
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Sergei Lukyanenko (as his name appears on books and films in U.S. markets) is a science-fiction and fantasy author, writing in Russian, and is arguably the most

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