The Genome: A Novel
by Sergei Lukyanenko
I loved this book! When I first started reading it, I was blown away. I kept saying to my wife, “I love it.” The universe that Mr. Lukyanenko built was very believable. It was logical and convincing. He didn’t lay out pages upon pages of scientific facts to support his ideas. He just told the story and you believed it. When a novel is set in a future that is part of the story and doesn’t rely on extending technology and science, then it doesn’t become dated. This book was written in Russian in 1999, but feels like it was written this year.
What makes this book work so well is the convincing way that Mr. Lukyanenko introduces his initial two characters. You believe that master-pilot Alex Romanov really was injured and had just gotten out of the hospital. When he meets Kim and helps her, everything starts to gel. You understand what a spesh is. You learn how different types have different characteristics and abilities. How they become honed for a particular job. Then you just can’t wait to see where this story is going.
Mr. Lukyanenko then proceeds to flesh out your knowledge of his universe by introducing the other members of the crew. Alex gets a job as captain of a small starship and has to hire a crew. As he interviews candidates, you learn more about customs. The universe works.
The Genome was a fairly lengthy book, but felt much shorter. It starts out as a great, timeless sci-fi book, and along the way some philosophical questions come out. How can people be deprived of the ability to love, just to be a specialist, just to be able to perform their jobs. Is that right and necessary? You start thinking that maybe this is going to be a real thoughtful book.
And then, there is a murder on board the ship. One of the non-human passengers is killed and brutally butchered. This changes the story from a normal adventure story to a murder mystery. This is the only part of the book that is a bit of a stretch. This is where you have to suspend disbelieve and go along with the author and let him tell his story. It works, but does seem a little silly at times.
I am so impressed by this book. I don’t know who translated it, but they did a marvelous job. Even though you can get some idea that it was written in Russian, it works very well for an American reader, The sentence structure is natural, and never feels awkward.
I give The Genome 4 1/2 Stars out of 5, and a Big Thumbs Up! It is nearly a 5, but some things just were just a little bit off. Don’t let that stop you though, it is a great science fiction book. No fantasy, Not dystopian. A rarity, a story to be embraced by all science fiction fans.
I received a digital review copy from NetGalley.com and the publisher, Open Road Media.
Five months after the horrific accident that left him near death and worried that he’d never fly again, master-pilot Alex Romanov lands a new job: captaining the sleek passenger vessel Mirror. Alex is a spesh—a human who has been genetically modified to perform particular tasks. As a captain and pilot, Alex has a genetic imperative to care for passengers and crew—no matter what the cost.
His first mission aboard Mirror is to ferry two representatives of the alien race Zzygou on a tour of human worlds. His task will not be an easy one, for aboard the craft are several speshes who have reason to hate the Others. Dark pasts, deadly secrets, and a stolen gel-crystal worth more than Alex’s entire ship combine to challenge him at every turn. And as the tension escalates, it becomes apparent that greater forces are at work to bring the captain’s world crashing down.
Paperback: 496 pages
Publisher: Open Road Media Sci-Fi & Fantasy (December 2, 2014)
Product Dimensions: 8.8 x 4.4 x 1.2 inches
Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
About the Author
Sergei Lukyanenko was born in Kazakhstan, then a republic of the Soviet Union. In 1985 he entered the Alma-Ata Medical University, where he began to write science fiction and publish his first books. Though Lukyanenko completed his medical course, he realized that he would never be a doctor. In 1997 he moved to Moscow, and since then has published prolifically. Many of his works have become bestsellers and have won science fiction awards. Night Watch and Day Watch were released as films in 2004 and 2006, respectively. Lukyanenko’s writing has been translated into more than twenty languages and continues to be hugely popular.
The Book Description and Details are from Amazon. The Genome