Book: Previewing Genesis by Paul Chafe

Way back when I wrote a note on Destiny’s Forge by [tag]Paul Chafe[/tag], which I called (and still call) a great book. It has pretty much all the characteristics I like in a book. More recently, I posted a notice about Paul Chafe’s forthcoming book Genesis which will be released November 6th (according to Amazon.com). I said I looked forward to November with pleasure.

Well, I didn’t have to wait that long. I received a pre-release copy and permission to write about it, and so I have now read the new book. I still want a copy to sit on my shelves, but it’s nice to get the story ahead of time.

Unlike Destiny’s Forge, this book labors against some of my prejudices. I have found that I like relatively few books about the near future. I’m a bit wary of books or series that cover large periods of time, and I often avoid a new series until it’s either complete or well under way. None of these are absolutes, and this book had one major thing going for it–it’s written by Paul Chafe. It’s simple truth and not flattery to say that up to now I have loved everything he has written, and I think now I have read it all.

Now that I have read Genesis it goes back up near the top of my list. Truth be told, I had more fun in Destiny’s Forge simply because there are the battle scenes, more strategy, and an alien culture to develop. In Genesis we have humans, other humans, and yet more humans.

The scope is breathtaking, and the characters, whether you love or hate them, are inspiring. From a person involved in religion on a professional basis, as I am, the handling of a mass religious movement is excellent. As a student of history as well as somewhat of theology I’m well aware of how the pieces can be put together in odd ways, and the damage an unthinking, mass movement can cause.

Chafe uses that movement in interesting ways. I don’t want to hint at them, because I think the story reads better without anticipating some of the interesting corners that are turned as it develops.

I understand this will be a trilogy, and I’ll certainly be here for the whole ride. I have to say that I wonder how a trilogy can actually tell a story of the scope that is laid out by the first volume.

The style is excellent and very readable. It doesn’t have my favorite alien cultures or battle scenes, but still, I’m giving this a numerical rating of five. Y’all be sure and go out and buy one, or even pre-order on Amazon.com right now!