- Paperback: 314 pages
- Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (12 Dec. 2012)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1480192406
- ISBN-13: 978-1480192409
- Product Dimensions: 13.3 x 2 x 20.3 cm
- Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,161,463 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Genetopia Paperback – 12 Dec 2012
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About the Author
Keith Brooke's first novel, Keepers of the Peace, appeared in 1990, since when he has published seven more adult novels, six collections, and over 70 short stories. His novel Genetopia wasfirst published in hardback by Pyr in February 2006 and was their first title to receive a starred review in Publishers Weekly; The Accord, published by Solaris in 2009, received another starred PW review and was optioned for film. His most recent novel, Harmony (published in the UK as alt.human), is a big exploration of aliens, alternate history and the Fermi paradox published by Solaris in 2012. Writing as Nick Gifford, his teen fiction is published by Puffin, with one novel also optioned for the movies by Andy Serkis and Jonathan Cavendish's Caveman Films. He writes reviews for The Guardian, teaches creative writing at the University of Essex, and lives with his wife Debbie in Wivenhoe, Essex.
Top Customer Reviews
And I wasn't wrong. On the surface the story is simple. Flint goes in search of his sister Amber, who has disappeared and their abusive father shows no interest in finding her.
His serch takes him out to the wider world, and it's (mainly) through his eyes that you explore the world he inhabits. There are gradiations between humans and animals, with animals being raised up to intelligence, and humans being devolved (or just altered) by change vectors carried the wind. Humans can also be purposely altered for punishment, or by choice.
This may read like a fantasy book in some ways, but a culture still adapting to the higher biotechology of their predecessors, and hints that the 'humans' that are around may not be the same as the humans that settled on the planet, means this is definitely science fiction.
Around the hero-quest plot, Genetopia asks one basic question, whether it is better to resist or embrace change. There are also allusions to slavery in pre-Civil War America, and the occasional change in Points of View give a sly glimpse on how well we truly know those we come into contact with.
I gave this 4 rather than 5 stars as I thought Flint's character could have done with a little more depth. But as you can tell, I'm a fan.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
However, during a Treco clan gala, Flint cannot find Amber; he soon concludes that she is simply gone. No one seems concerned except Flint who knows she may have decided she had enough abuse from their cruel father and left on her own accord; however more likely Flint assumes the worst that slavers abducted her thinking she is a mutt for market. Feeling nothing toward any other member except perhaps hatred of his father, Flint decides over the objection of his kin, to search for the only family member he cares about, Amber; when he finds her as expects to do he will insure her safety even if he has to battle slavers and slave owners.
The above two paragraphs are the opening gambit in a futuristic tale in which biotechnology has gotten out of control. There are a few purebred humans who are subject to being tossed into the changing vats. There are also Mutts who are slaves whispering that one day they will be free; obvious parallels to the slavery of this country add depth. This is a thought provoking science fiction story that is more a coming of age tale that condemns any "ology" or ism that cause harm. The fascinating story line contains several interesting spins. For instance ironically the audience knows up front what happened to Amber while Flint can only conjecture while he learns who he is in a world off kilter, as Amber is just the mechanism to propel the hero to begin his quest. Fans of deep thrillers will appreciate this fine parable of a man frightened by what the future holds, but sets forth anyway.
It's a marvelously rich book about what it means to be human and where we'll go in the future. It's also about a boy's journey into manhood and all the lessons he learns. In many ways this reminded me of Huckleberry Finn. It's a book that makes you think and that makes it a book worth reading. For the complete review see the February issue of SFRevu.com.
I have not found someone who compares to Octavia until Keith Brooke. I like how he writes a great sci-fi organic story, yet really addresses some current and social issues. Definitely looking forward to reading more future work from him.
Genetopia is well-written, asks good questions, and provides an unusual answer. The resolution is heartwarming and sad all at once, and wraps up the story in an unexpected way. Like Heinlein and other science fiction authors, Brooke is asking questions about the nature of humanity and the role science plays in defining that humanity in the future. In Brooke's vision, science has changed us into something different, not better, nor worse, only different. Flint and Amberline are compelling characters, and their journeys take quite a few unexpected twists. Brooke has written a tight, interesting, and unusual novel in Genetopia that I recommend as a good read for those who want to explore the nature of humanity and for those readers interested in the lost civilizations style science fiction.