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Robot visions

What does it mean to be human, and can a machine have a soul? In Genesis, a remarkable and entirely unexpected treatment of these ideas has arrived

Genesis By Bernard Beckett (Quercus £10.99)

The Edge Foundation poses a question every year to scholars and writers. In 2007, the question was “What are you optimistic about?” My answer was “art.” Specifically, I said I hoped that “works of presently unimaginable aesthetic and moral force will be created by human beings not far ahead of us.”

I meant it seriously. But if anyone had suggested that this hope might be fulfilled by a work of science fiction, just 35,000 words long, and marked out by its publisher for the “young adult” market, I would have laughed. Laughed louder, I’m…

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