As humans, we are always wondering about “what if” and imagining better possible futures for our world. Sci-fi allows us to explore these possibilities and consider what the world may look like in another century or two. C. M. Genton is a local author who looks at some current trends in society and explores what the world may be like in a few more generations if we continue following these trends.
I received this book for review courtesy of the author; all opinions expressed are my own. This post contains affiliate links; as an Amazon associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.
Sons of Adamah plot summary
John has grown up on Andropida, a socially conservative galactic colony, as part of a study program. Andropida is meant to be a refuge for “Earthers” should life on earth become impossible. John is accustomed to the frequent ion storms, protective dorms, and strict social rules of the study. However, when he is declared to be an “anomaly” and given three options, he chooses to return to earth.
During the long space voyage between Andropida and earth, John tries to learn as much as possible from a fellow traveler. His arrival on earth is still a shock as he deals with the different environment and strange social customs while trying to find his brother, sent to earth a few years earlier. John’s neighbours attempt to help him settle in, but John’s search for his brother lands him in trouble.
Someone, however, wants John to succeed, and provides not only forbidden coffee but also a cushy job opportunity. As John tries to make friends and understand earth culture, he meets a woman who has connections with his best friend on Andropida—and with the out-of-bounds areas in Vancouver. Then Captain Pomeroy, founder of the family that discovered and colonized Andropida, offers John the chance to return. Can John trust the Captain? Or does the Captain have darker plans for John’s home?
My thoughts on Sons of Adamah
Genton writes a fast-paced sci-fi novel that raises interesting questions about what the future may look like. While Andropida follows strict gender laws, where men and women each have specific roles in the colony, earth has abandoned gender altogether and everyone goes by the neutral pronouns zhe/zher. Those who hold to “trad” values are looked down upon and barred from advancement in society, while “rebels” exist in areas outside civilization.
Climate change had drastically altered the world, as warmer temperatures have caused rising oceans that have flooded most of the lower mainland. John works in Chilliwack, where the space station resides in a mountain, while living and exploring parts of Vancouver that are not under water. The North Shore is off-limits and home to rebels and other parts of North America are also lost to wilderness.
I found it very hard to connect with John as a main character. He’s rather selfish and stubborn and, on earth, makes several stupid mistakes in his attempts to find his brother. It was easier to connect with Ann, who remains on Andropida and fights against the strict study rules as she seeks to expand the colony gardens. She’s a smart, determined woman who is held back by the limitations of the study. John did become more likeable towards the end of the novel.
Genton raises some thought-provoking questions in Sons of Adamah. Could our climate become so bad that the world could be radically changed? What would World War III look like and what might cause it? How would a society of genderless people operate? If we did destroy earth’s climate, is there the possibility of colonizing another planet?
In some ways, Sons of Adamah reminds me of The Hunger Games—a radically transformed North American with an autocratic government. It’s not a pretty picture. The earth that John returns to is not utopia, and Andropida is scarcely better. Sons of Adamah is a stark reminder that we need to be stewards of the resources we have, to continue working towards global democracy rather than control, and carefully consider how we define ourselves and our roles.
The interweaving of numerous speculative “if this goes on scenarios” (alternate sexualities, climate change, evolution pressure) is Sons of Adamah‘s great strength. ~ Kathy Tyers
More about C.M. Genton
Catherine Genton has a Bachelor of Fine Arts and a Master in the Arts of Theology. Her writing is influenced by her thesis work, “The Iconography and Narrative of Gender and Sexuality.” She grew up in a large, French-Canadian immigrant community and became atheist by the age of ten. She returned to her faith at age 18 after considering suicide. As a single mom with five daughters, Catherine returned to school. She later remarried and now writes sci-fi.
To learn more about Catherine and her novels (including upcoming sequels to Sons of Adamah), drop by her website.
Occasionally I reflect back to beginning of the novel, when gender identity was a fringe subject and my themes and plot stretched the bounds of credibility. But here I am today, smack dab in the middle of a big debate. Some readers have called Sons of Adamah prescient. But the day the questions can no longer be publicly debated will be a day of deep concern for our culture and our children. ~ C. M. Genton