And let's jump into the discussion.
Alea: I guess I wasn't really sure what to expect when reading Genesis. I would definitely say there was far more philosophy than I was expecting. I would say I was hoping for a bit more information on the background of the story and the world that the author has created (but I think I always expect that, I love the details). I would definitely say that Genesis sparked my interest in this genre, definitely more so than The Forest of Hands and Teeth. While the Forest of Hands and Teeth left me sort of bored and not surprised, Genesis shocked me several times over and gave me the chills. I loved it! And I definitely hope to read more in this genre.
Lenore: Sharon, how was Genesis like dystopias you've read before? What was different? How would you rank it compared to other dystopian stories?
Sharon: The format of Genesis was unlike other dystopian novels that I’ve read in the past. I’m actually very surprised that Genesis was labeled as a young adult book. The format was quite different from other young adult dystopian novels that I’ve read. One example that comes to mind is Uglies by Scott Westerfeld. Both Uglies and Genesis are dystopian novels written from the point of view of a teenager girl. Uglies follows the traditional format of most dystopian books that I’ve read. It is suspenseful and fast paced. Genesis on the other hand, followed a much slower pace and wasn’t really suspenseful. Another thing that made Genesis different for me was the ending. Young adult dystopias tend to have happy endings and don’t leave you with a lot of unanswered questions. Genesis on the other hand, left me with a ton of unanswered questions and certainly did not have a happy ending.
Lenore: I agree with Sharon that the structure of the novel slowed it down, but I don’t think that’s a bad thing in this case. The narrative is divided into three examination hours with two breaks in between. The examination is question and answer format and Anax is expected to show that she knows about her subject. The result is that the novel is almost entirely exposition. However, this breaking of the “show, don’t tell” rule works well here – quickly bringing us up to speed on the events that led to the breakdown of society as we know it, the dystopian society led by Plato that came after, and the current situation. Very important parts of the story are told through hologram presentations so that we can see the interaction at the core of the novel - that between the human Adam Forde and the robot Art. I think if the story had been told more traditionally, it would have been very difficult to make it as thought-provoking and shocking as it is now. I’m pretty convinced that its unusual structure is the basis for its success as a story. Unlike Sharon, I actually found it to be quite suspenseful. And I didn’t mind too much that a lot of the questions were left unanswered – I just let my imagination run wild with speculation.