Sunday, June 12, 2011

Genesis Alpha: A Thriller, by Rune Michaels (2007)

Gaming, genetics, stem cells, designer babies, psychology, families, love--this book packs it all in with just 193 pages of text. it is a well told, terrifying story that suspect I am going to hesitate recommending to teens. It got under my skin and as a result I worry about the effects it might have on the thinking of adolescents.

I've read other books that make me hesitate about recommending them to teens--Looking for Alaska, by John Green for example. But this is much more. This well-crafted story exploring the psychology of a psychopathic killer involved with gaming is just outright chilling. Some of the kids I know who are gamers are already tottering on the edge. Thirty years ago I worked with other kids who remind me of the edgy gamers, often they were kids who were fascinated with science fiction.

I'm probably too sensitive--the plot line is no more frightening than that of The Matrix or even in some ways that of Harry Potter. But, some how set in what seems like a normal middle class setting, it becomes all that much more frightening. Well--perhaps not entirely middle class--both Josh's parents are university professors. But, that seems pretty normal to me.

I picked this up because I am collecting books that will appeal to gamers. It is much more than a story about gaming, the risks of online gaming, and internet security. I am going to share this with a couple of others to get their reaction. I'll report back.

The reviewer from The School Library Journal was relatively critical about this book. He suggested that some of the characterizations and plot elements were unrealistic. That may be the case, but I think no more so than many other books.

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