May 25th, 2009

Kitty: Angry Calico

Beckett, Bernard: Genesis

Genesis (2009)
Written by: Bernard Beckett
Genre: Science Fiction
Pages: 150

The premise: Anaximander has spent the last four years of her life preparing for the grueling entrance exam to the Academy, the governing body of her land. She's chosen as her focus the life of Adam Forde, her long-dead hero; Adam was the driving force that broke down the standards of the Republic by simply saving the life of a young girl, and his actions inspired a nation. During Anax's exam, she realizes there's more to Adam's story than she ever knew, and learning these secrets inspires her to question who and what she is, and whether or not she truly wants to be a part of the Academy.

My Rating

Buy the Paperback: or find the hardcover really cheap, cause it's not worth the $20.00 price tag. However, this is a rare book that makes you think, and while other reviews have stated that there's nothing original about the ideas or world-building presented in this novel, I'd argue that's not the point. The point is the ultimate message and the journey that you as a reader has to take to get there. It's an intelligent book, and whether or not the final message leaves you with a sick feeling in your stomach like it did mine, I think the journey is worth it. Hell, I had to read it twice to really absorb what was going on. The premise might sound a little boring, and the structure of an oral exam reeks of telling over showing, but the author shows a little creativity in how knowledge is revealed within the story, and again, the book's going to make you think, even if you get angry that you're having to think it through so much. I don't recommend speed-reading this one, and if you're familiar with philosophy, you may have fun with this, even if you find the debates a little familiar and boring. In truth, it's not a boring book: it's a smooth read that has you constantly wondering what's going on, because nothing is as simple as it appears. I will say I'm not sure, despite the fact it was written for children/YA, that I'd recommend this book to that age group (which might explain why, in the US, it's marketed in the adult SF/F section) simply because the final message is disturbing and not one that I'd want my own child coming away with. But that's me.

Review style: reverting back to my stream-of-conscious style, because sorting this book out in my head pretty much requires it. THERE ARE MASSIVE SPOILERS. If you don't want to be spoiled, then there's no need to click for the full review below.

However, if you want the full review, you're more than welcome to it. As always, comments and discussion are most welcome, and I'm really looking for readers who are familiar with this text.

REVIEW: Bernard Beckett's GENESIS

Happy Reading!
Kitty: Angry Calico

Hill, Joe: Gunpowder

Gunpowder (2008)
Written by: Joe Hill
Genre: Science Fiction
Pages: 81

The premise: Elaine lives on the planet R2 as the caretaker of a group of boys who have the Talent of psyforming: essentially, they can terraform a planet using their imaginations in far less time than it'd take traditional technology. Only one of the boys, Charley, doesn't have the Talent save for a tiny sliver of it, but beyond that difference, life on R2 is peaceful, until news of an outside war disrupts their lives, and the boys are presented with a new, dangerous mission.

My Rating

Must Have: for Joe Hill fans, it's worth every penny. It's a lovely, tightly written little novella that's a treasure to own. If you've not read Joe Hill but don't want to check out his horror, this SF novella is worth the cash, though it may be more cash than you're willing to pay. I hope that Hill is able to get this released in some kind of collection or something later, because it's a fantastic little read, and I'm very glad I got a chance to get my hands on it. Hill's pretty much solidified himself as a must-read author for me, and I'm looking forward to the rest of his work.

Review style: there's really not a whole lot to spoil in this book. It's a novella, and a very short one at that. I read it in one sitting with no trouble. It's another one of those that I can't talk about without spoiling it, so I apologize. If you don't mind the spoilers, you can read the rest of my review in my LJ. As always, comments and discussion are most welcome.

REVIEW: Joe Hill's GUNPOWDER

Happy Reading!