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Genus
 
 

Genus [Kindle Edition]

Jonathan Trigell
3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (32 customer reviews)

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Review

Trigell doesn't pretend to have any easy answers, only further and more complicated questions. Is genetic perfection a welcome goal? Are humans meant to be free from pain, illness and suffering? Who and what, exactly, defines a disability?--The Independent

Trigell s dystopian divided Britain is epically hellish, rendered through the voices of a procession of characters in a heightened prose that intensifies the sense of a decayed, degenerate world about to implode. Although it is science fiction, the world of Genus where those who can afford it have their children modified before birth feels as if it might be just around the corner.--Metro

The misadventures of the crippled painter, Holman, his former beauty queen mother, Adele Nicole, and the blinded writer, Crick, confirm the promise of Trigell s splendid debut, Boy A.--The Daily Mail

It is an old saying among science fiction fans that anyone can predict the car, it takes brains to predict gridlock. It is not the gadget that takes foresight, it is the uses people will make of it, and then the unintended consequences of those uses... No one can fault Trigell s ingenuity--The Times

Genus is an elegantly written, bleakly exaggerated look between the haves and have-nots. Mr. Trigell uses the bullhorn of science fiction to call out the communal hypocrisy of society. Whatever scientific advance that humanity creates with improvement in mind, Genus argues that we'll never leave our selfish instincts behind.--Pornokitsch.com

A timely meditation on the possibilities of genetic engineering within an unequal society.--3:AM Magazine

The gradually thickening plot is handled with dexterity for maximum intrigue and the commanding use of description is almost obscene in its richness.--The List

I read this book at the same time as the riots were taking place and it was disturbing how well Trigell has written about society s breakdown. The images he describes were playing out on the TV screen in front of me, which I think added to the poignancy of the story. Trigell is up on current affairs, and can see a future that may not be too far away from where we re actually heading.--Bookmunch

Overlaid on this world is a gripping murder mystery with a surprising conclusion. Although this is a fictional world, it is close enough to reality to make the reader feel that this could happen - indeed, there are some parts of the novel that have a vivid deja vu quality about them. As such, I found this a disturbing read. Reading groups too will find plenty of jumping off points for discussion.--New Books Magazine

Where the book really succeeds is the way Trigell depicts his future, world; our perspective is firmly rooted on the inside, to an almost suffocating degree... the jerky, rapid-fire sentences of Günther s scenes do much to convey his character, and Trigell frequently juxtaposes different senses of the same word or phrase to great effect. I ll certainly be reading more of Trigell s work after this. --David Hebblethwaite

Book Description

A dystopian vision of perfection from the acclaimed author of Boy A.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 432 KB
  • Print Length: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Corsair (28 July 2011)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B005F48C38
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (32 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #89,227 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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More About the Author

Jonathan Trigell was born in Hertfordshire in 1974. In 2002 he took an MA in creative writing at Manchester University; Boy A, his first novel, was his thesis for that course.

Boy A won the Waverton Award for best first novel of 2004; the John Llewellyn Rhys Prize, for best book in the commonwealth by an author under 35; the Italian Edoardo Kihlgren Prize, for a translated novel; and the inaugural World Book Day Prize, for the most discussion worthy novel by a living writer.

Boy A was turned into a film by Cuba Pictures, The Weinstein Co. and Film 4; directed by John Crowley and starring Andrew Garfield and Peter Mullan. It won a total of four Bafta Awards in 2008; the Jury Prize at the Berlin Film Festival and the Jury and Public Prizes at the Dinard Film Festival.

Jonathan's second novel, Cham, was shortlisted for the Boardman Tasker Prize and is set in the death sport capital of the world - Chamonix Mont Blanc in France - where the author himself now lives, pursuing his passion for the mountains.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
23 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Genus 29 Aug 2011
By S Riaz HALL OF FAME TOP 10 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This novel is set in a Britain of the near future and is close enough to be able to make uncomfortable comparisons between what we are and what we may become. Society has changed with the ability to create genetically enhanced babies (the Improved), selecting characteristics such as health, looks, intelligence and athleticism. The very rich also add energy, confidence, determination and nerve. Words such as compassion, tolerance and empathy, however, are not in the brochures. As an interesting point, neither are those characteristics which create great artists or writers - perhaps being too unstable in personality. Hence, our hero - Holman, an artist and a dwarf, the Unimproved son of a model mother. Holman received no gene selection, not even the basic disease immunity packs - or 'charity packs' as they are known.

The Unimproved are barely represented in government and most live in The Kross, in London. This is a London where even a minor criminal conviction costs you your right to vote, where schools are streamed by 7 and privilege is brought before birth. Those people who have children they cannot afford (sound familiar?) are seen as reckless in a society where having a baby is the most expensive thing most people do. Synth and drugs are tolerated and have become the opiates of the masses. Like many of the Unimproved, Holman comes from a single parent family: "It takes two parents to save for an enriched child, but only one to spawn", as the saying goes...

Into this wonderfully created world death stalks daily, but a series of murders have unsettled The Kross. First Jesus, a pimp, is found dead. Then a taxi biker and then a hooker. All are known, or have been met, by Holman, who becomes a suspect.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Blade Ripper 11 Dec 2011
Format:Paperback
Genus is set in a BladeRunneresque future London rid of religion following a series of 'Caliphate Wars' which have lain waste to half of mainland Europe. People have ID chips in their arms, drink synthetic alcohols and children can be genetically 'enriched'.

There are a number of vividly memorable characters, the main ones being Holman Prometheus and Detective Günther Charles Bonnet. Holman, the son of a famous model is a deformed and dwarfish artist who struggles to get around on his "fractal, valgus legs." Detective Gunt on the other hand is "as handsome as a politcian" and is the sort of policeman Jeremy Clarkson would admire. In between beating up suspects, he is investigating a series of violent deaths which lead him to something more dangerous as Genus mutates into a conspiracy thriller.

As with Trigell's powerful debut, 'Boy A', a sharp analysis of society underpins this novel. Despite being set in the future, or perhaps because of it, Genus is a blazingly good contemporary novel.

Earlier this year, Graham Swift wrote that "the novel that's contemporary in the sense of being wholly 'of now' is an impossibility, if only because novels may take years to write, so the 'now' with which they begin will be defunct by the time they're finished." However, as he also pointed out, they can have "nowness" or "something which actually out-thrills the thrill of the merely contemporary. They can have immediacy."

Genus certainly has - or, by the time you read this, had - immediacy. Published in July 2011, it includes a punchy depiction of riots of the kind which London experienced a few weeks later. At which point Trigell turns up the power:

"Gunt was in the thick of it.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great British Sci-Fi 21 July 2011
By James W
Format:Paperback
Jonathan Trigell's Genus is a cleverly constructed and well written piece of British sci-fi, offering a view of a not too distant future London that the reader is actually able to envisage in their lifetime. This adds a particularly real edge to the story and creates a dark sense of what could come to pass in an increasingly shallow and violent society. The story moves along at a pace with all the characters cleverly intertwining and each chapter for the majority of the book is devoted to a particular character, allowing the author to really develop and describe each one in detail so the reader is constantly drawn further into the story. It is the intense, descriptive nature of this book that I particularly enjoyed and it moves from the darkly comic to the shockingly savage and back again in scenarios ranging from the benign to the frankly bizarre.
As a fan of William Gibson, Aldous Huxley, P.K. Dick, Ray Bradbury etc I was pleased that Genus was up there with the best.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Really enjoyable, lovely writing 21 Jan 2012
Format:Kindle Edition
Some great plot strands, gorgeous writing, believable characters, a nice turn of phrase--I really enjoyed this book, and devoured it in a couple of frenzied sittings. Extremely enjoyable, and thought-provoking to boot.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars My first time to read a Trigell novel 30 Dec 2011
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I am not a hard-core fan of Trigell's work (everyone else who has reviewed it thus far seem to be die-hard fans!) as this is the first novel of his that I have read having come across it in the Kindle sale on Amazon for 0.99p. I read a snippet about it and thought it may have been of some interest to me.

Without spoiling too much of the plot this novel articulates a future London where the rich are genetically 'Improved' and the bearers of power. They are beautiful, they are strong, they are intelligent and ideal people. In contrast to them you have the 'Unimproved' who do not have the financial capacity to create their offspring exactly as they have always wished; they are the weak, the downcast, the ugly, the poor.

In the midst of all this throw in a dwarf, some terrorists, protestors, characters with names from the Bible, strange killings and a former beauty queen and you have the makings of 'Genus'. There is a lot packed into this small novel (I read it over a couple of days) and this may be part of both its weakness and its charm. As a weakness, being so short does not allow the reader to know the ins and outs of each of the characters and I felt somewhat let down by this. I wanted to know more about the back-stories of the Regan brothers, Holman, Crick, Adele, Gunt, Sebastian, Lazarus, Ilse, Augustus (among others) but felt that the majority of characters where presented one-dimensionally (Holman is a dwarf artist; Crick is blind writer; Adele is a bombshell; Augustus is the bad brother). There are a number of characters to try and familiarise yourself with in such a small space that at times I had to go back and re-trace who was who.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing
I've read another of Jonathan Trigell's books, Cham, and when I started reading this one I remembered that although I enjoyed the end the rest of it wasn't to my taste. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Pixilicious
5.0 out of 5 stars Stunning read
A believable future world, described beautifully. Such a well imagined society, it make you feel that it would require only a few short step before our reality could catch up. Read more
Published 10 months ago by Sarah
2.0 out of 5 stars A somewhat subpar endeavour.
Genus starts off with the best intentions. A society forged through genetic modification, that has seen war and loss, and the daily lives of those in the Kross. Read more
Published 14 months ago by Gerard H.
2.0 out of 5 stars I couldn't wait to finish it
But not for the right reasons... I just couldn't get involved with any of the characters, which is a real shame as the idea behind the story is really interesting. Read more
Published 15 months ago by Cathy J
5.0 out of 5 stars Loved it!
Just what I expected. Great seller and I'm very pleased with the product. Prompt delivery also. Definitely worth a look.
Published 15 months ago by kmo1
5.0 out of 5 stars Gunfire in the Sky
Dystopian fiction is all the rage right now, which is fine by me because I like reading it. Most new titles are aimed at the YA audience. Read more
Published 15 months ago by Quicksilver
4.0 out of 5 stars Great read
A dense, complex book, very well written and thought provoking. I look forward to reading more of Trigell's work in the future.
Published 17 months ago by Chandelier
2.0 out of 5 stars Not as good as I'd hoped
A gritty, stark and pretty bleak look at the have and have nots of the future. It's a decent plot and interestingly written, but I struggled to get into it and it was only towards... Read more
Published 18 months ago by Lianne
2.0 out of 5 stars underwhelmed
Maybe my expectations were too high for this book but it left me feelin unsatisfied,I love dystopian and speculative fiction but this misses the markI. Read more
Published 18 months ago by fearofbuildingsandfood
3.0 out of 5 stars Not bad.. but definitely not great!
This book was a gift.. and if it hadn't been I probably wouldn't have finished it.

Although it had an interesting concept I found the underdeveloped, clichéd... Read more
Published 18 months ago by S. Merry
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The fact that the same delusion is shared by two people or ten or ten million doesn’t make it more real, only more dangerous. &quote;
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