m. c. de marco: To invent new life and new civilizations...


John Ottinger at Tor.com highly recommends Genesis by Bernard Beckett. He gives no publisher information, but it looks like it will be coming out in hardcover from Houghton Mifflin next month.

Beckett is addressing head-on theories on the origins of life (hence the title), and from there to theories of consciousness, of the mind, and of the nature of the soul. But never once does he allow the story to drag. These philosophical discussions, while Socratic in nature, are not the heavy ponderous things readers study in school, but exciting arguments with simple, clear examples of meaning used to explain complex ideas. Where Aristotle used the Allegory of the Cave, Beckett appropriately chooses the Chinese Room. The war of beliefs between Adam Forde and Art is fascinating to read, even if the final conclusions are arguable.