Monday 11 December 2017

Genesis Earth by Joe Vasicek (Book Review)

The ultimate voyage of discovery ends when you learn the truth about yourself.

Michael Anderson never thought he would set foot on a world like Earth. Born and raised in a science colony on the farthest edge of the solar system, he only studied planets from afar. But when his parents build mankind's first wormhole and discover a world emitting a mysterious artificial signal, Michael is the only qualified planetologist young enough to travel to the alien star.

He is not alone on this voyage of discovery. Terra, his sole mission partner, is no more an adult than he is. Soon after their arrival, however, she begins acting strangely—as if she's keeping secrets from him. And her darkest secret is one that Michael already knows.

Twenty light-years from the nearest human being, they must learn to work together if they're ever going to survive. And what they discover on the alien planet forces them to re-examine their deepest, most unquestioned beliefs about the universe—and about what it means to be human.

This book is rated T according to the AO3 content rating system.

My Review (4 / 5 Stars)

Having just come off the emotional rollercoaster that is Christine Bernard's Unravel, I was looking for something light to read, and based on the title and glossy cover, I thought Genesis Earth would be it.

Well, it is, and it also isn't.

About 150 years into the future, a group of scientists live on a space station at the edge of the solar system. They don't live there because Earth has become uninhabitable, or some other catastrophe has taken place, as is the case with most science fiction. No, Earth is just fine--climate change is still an issue, but other than that, life on Earth is pretty much as it always was.

The scientists live on the space station because they have some very important research to conduct. They're trying to manufacture a wormhole to another point in space-time, and they need to do it as far away from Earth as possible because a mishap could destroy an entire planet.

Faster-than-light travel hasn't yet been developed, so the journey from Earth to the station takes many years. Consequently, many of the younger generation, born on the station, have never known Earth except through stories and pictures from their parents.

Such is the case for our protagonist, a 16-year-old scientist.

The book is an easy read, but there are layers within layers, including discussions about evolution vs creationism, the purpose of religion, and loyalty to a collective vs loyalty to oneself.

I was impressed. Even more so, when I discovered in the Author's Note at the end, that Genesis Earth was self-published after many failed attempts to get a traditional publisher to take a look at it. I wouldn't have guessed that; it reads like any traditionally published work. It's professionally put together, and the editing is near-perfect (Except for one of my biggest editing bugbears: there is no such word as "alright|!). This is probably thanks to the countless revisions the author said he made before finally unleashing it on the world.

The only thing that irked me a little was the ages of the main characters. It seems as though the author only made them so young so he could call this a Young Adult book, but once the story gets started, you completely forget how old they are. The main characters are most obviously adults, and calling them 15 to 16-year-olds simply doesn't ring true.

Click here to learn where you can pick yourself up a copy.

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