cover image The Genome

The Genome

Sergei Lukyanenko, trans. from the Russian by Liv Bliss. Open Road (, $14.99 trade paper (496p) ISBN 978-1-4976-4396-3

Lukyanenko (the Night Watch series) neatly crafts a sophisticated SF thriller featuring Alex Romanov, a spesh, or a person who has been altered to be superhuman. After recovering from a horrific accident, Alex accepts a job as the captain of the spacecraft Mirror. He's responsible for ensuring the safe passage of his alien compatriots on their tour of the known galaxy. Alex's life is further complicated by the murderous intent of his fellow crewmembers, as well as his romantic entanglement with a much younger spesh, Kim. The prose is introspective and inventive, and the story plumbs tricky philosophical questions, such as what it means to be human and how humanness can be altered in the future. The plot moves along at a fast pace, with an appealing at and at times humorous voice. Lukyanenko's tendency toward the preachy is amplified by the translation. This solid work of SF fits into, but does not transcend, its genre. (Dec.)