Non writing pursuits

Best of 2008, #5 – Genesis, by Bernard Beckett

Thanks to Guardian Online (for giving me the idea) and (for letting me look back over a years reading) I’m running my own Top 5 Reads of 2008. Sort of in no particular order. Well, roughly from good to better, but everything on my Top 5 books I read this year are great stuff.

First up, is a local book. And a local sci fi at that. I don’t have a great love for local fiction, chances are because it’s just too familiar and too … I don’t know. Out of my own generation? They don’t feel like my stories, just my country. Not sure that makes too much sense.

Anyway, Genesis is slightly different.

Sci fi? Written by a New Zealander? Set in New Zealand? Yuck. I didn’t read this award winning book for a long time, but read it this year. And the reason I didn’t was all those mentioned reasons. But after a few chapter’s I realized what I was reading was sci fi like your daddy used to read. It’s the pondering of what makes us human, and what separates us from machine. Good old fashioned subjects.

It’s best not knowing much going into this book. It is set in a future New Zealand, but might as well have been set anywhere. In a protected utopia, the main character is sitting her oral entrance exams to an academy. Her specialist subject is a key figure in the societies history.

It’s a quick, but heavy read, with the chapters being almost a script of the dialogue. It’s a very rewarding read though, one that I thoroughly recommend. I was greatly surprised that such cool, old style sci fi could come out locally.

Join me next time when I talk about #4.


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