, the UN appoints Chance Van Riebeck to lead a scientific survey of Mars. Using theories derived from the Gaia Hypothesis, his team clandestinely introduces genetically tailored bacteria into the Martian environment to begin transforming the planet into one habitable by human beings.
Earth is under the theocratic rule of the Ecotheist Movement, which divides human beings from the rest of nature. The Ecotheists regard all human interference with nature as evil; therefore, they consider the transformation of Mars to be a criminal act. So they capture Chance and his followers and put them on trial, which leads to war between the Martian colonists and Earth.
To complete their terraforming project, the colonists must locate the secret Lima Codex, which contains a genetic inventory of all Earthly lifeforms. The Codex is hidden somewhere on Earth, and their agents must hunt it down before the Ecotheists find it first.
The colonists, desperate for independence, threaten to drop a moonlet on the Earth, which would annihilate the planet. To save Earth, the Ecotheists agree to a truce that they have no intention of honoring--for they are plotting a sneak attack that will destroy both the colonists and the Codex. Genesis
is an ambitious tale filled with visionary ideas; peopled with prophets, fanatics, traitors, and tortured heroes; and taut with conflicts that mirror the moral issues we face today.
Originally published in 1988, Genesis
was the first major work of fiction that addressed the idea of terraforming Mars. It not only suggested the idea, but provided a feasible solution for doing so. During its initial publication, Genesis
was on the list of recommended reading at NASA, and has since gone on to enjoy a type of cult status. Its acknowledged list of admirers includes such literary luminaries as Brian Aldiss, Amy Clampitt, Arthur C. Clarke, Thomas M. Disch, Kim Stanley Robinson, and Pulitzer Prize winning poet, James Merrill. It is with great pride that Ilium Press brings this influential and prescient work back into print.
Praise for Frederick Turner's poetry
"The poem inspires us to go back to the epics of the past, whose roots it shows us to be so much alive after all." - Amy Clampitt
"Vivid, effortless narration ... This is a grand, glowing poem. ... A thousand bravos!" - James Merrill, Pulitzer Prize winning poet
"Frederick Turner comes across in his poems as a man of impressively broad experience, intellectual brilliance, and originality." - Richard Tillinghast
"Myth, religious parable, and science fiction are genetically recombined into lyrical new forms of being. Turner has taken up the most ancient challenges of the poet, delivering work as intellectually charged as formally challenging." - Paul Lake
"Frederick Turner is a polymath as well as a poet and I love his work. I have his extraordinary poem Genesis in a place of honor next to those of Homer, Virgil, and Milton."
- Martyn J. Fogg, President, British Interplanetary Society
"Turner reclaims for poetry its antique privilege of heroic action, its right and, perhaps, primal compulsion to tell a story more sharply, with more economy than can that later idiom which is prose." --George Steiner
"Fluent and full of surprises...its sustained narrative is an enviable achievement..." - Irving Feldman
"...verse narrative of great power." - Guy Davenport
"The epic poem...has historically enjoyed a greater ability to convey a culture's character and spirit through language. Turner uses the strengths of the epic form to good effect. His poems describe and mythologize futures which are more than just extrapolations of our present. He's written good science fiction while creating and presenting a possible future in a way that a novel could not have accomplished. It's good poetry, too." - Dani Zweig