The Genesis summary from the HMH catalog has me very excited with buzz words like "post-apocalyptic", "utopian" (you just know that actually means dystopian) and "plague-ridden". Well, just read it:
Set on a remote island in a post-apocalyptic, plague-ridden world, this electrifying novel is destined to become a modern classic. Anax thinks she knows her history. She’d better. She’s now facing three Examiners, and her grueling all-day Examination has just begun. If she passes, she’ll be admitted into the Academy—the elite governing institution of her utopian society. But Anax is about to discover that for all her learning, the history she’s been taught isn’t the whole story. And that the Academy isn’t what she believes it to be.
In this brilliant novel of dazzling ingenuity, Anax’s examination leads us into a future where we are confronted with unresolved questions raised by science and philosophy. Centuries old, these questions have gained new urgency in the face of rapidly developing technology. What is consciousness? What makes us human? If artificial intelligence were developed to a high enough capability, what special status could humanity still claim?
Those questions also sound like ones that need to be asked on Battlestar Galactica, don't they? Reviewers in New Zealand, where the book was originally released, are in fact calling this a modern YA sci-fi classic and it recently won NZ's highest award for YA fiction, the NZ Post Award. Very exciting! Too bad the fine folks at Houghton Mifflin Harcourt never seem to get my e-mails begging them for their awesome books. Guess that means I really will have to wait until the April 2009 release date stateside.
McClelland & Stewart is releasing it in Canada (also April 2009) with another cover and offers this description:
A brilliant and chilling dystopia for a new generation in the tradition of Brave New World.
“Explain to us why you wish to enter The Academy."
Anaximander, a young Academy candidate, is put through a gruelling exam. Her special subject: the life of Adam Forde, her long-dead hero.
It’s late in the 21st century and the island Republic has emerged from a ruined, plague-ridden world, its citizens safe, but not free, and living in complete isolation from outside contact. Approaching planes are gunned down, refugees shot on sight.Until a man named Adam Forde rescued a girl from the sea.
“Anaximander, we have asked you to consider why it is you would like to join the Academy. Is your answer ready?”
To answer that question, Anaximander must struggle with everything she has ever known about herself and her beloved Republic’s history, the nature of being human, of being conscious, and even what it means to have a soul. And when everything has been laid bare, she must confront the Republic’s last great secret, her own surprising link to Adam Forde, and the horrifying truth about her world.
I also found the planned UK cover (left) and the New Zealand cover (right). Which of the four covers do you like the best? Which one would get you to take a second look at the book? I prefer the US cover - kind of a darker version of The Other Side of the Island. The UK cover is prettier, but it doesn't look like a dystopia cover to me. The Canada cover makes it look like a comedy. Don't even get me started on the NZ cover.