Here at The Illuminerdi, we strive to bring you the best in entertainment media journalism. Longtime readers of the site will know that we specialize in more specific areas, such as, comic book adaptations and the Power Rangers franchise. Personally, I tend to focus on characters from Black Adam’s corner of the DC Universe, though I enjoy writing about a wide variety of stories across several mediums.
As a relatively new journalist, I am always in search of ways to expand my horizons, and I came to realize that I have never reviewed a short story or book, having exclusively reviewed comic books when it came to the written word. This realization lead me to search for a great story to analyze, and shortly thereafter, I was introduced to the writing of Christopher Cook. In addition to Genesis Theory, his short stories Everything’s Jake and Balancing The Scales were published through Mythaxis Magazine and the Critical Blast Publishing anthology, The Devil You Know, respectively.
While I thoroughly enjoyed Everything’s Jake and am confident that I will enjoy Balancing The Scales once I read it, Genesis Theory really struck me.
In my youth, I was a fairly avid reader, but as I got older, the frequency of which I made trips to the library decreased dramatically. But there’s something uniquely magical about a great piece of literature. The written word has this power to create something unique in your mind, a world shared between only you and the author, as no two readers ever share the exact same experience.
Genesis Theory: Young Romance In Blossom
This short story follows an 11 year old boy named Ryan Farist as he goes on a family trip with the girl of his dreams, Julie Meyer.
Ryan Farist is in love in the same way that most of us can remember from the days of our youth. Hopelessly, painfully in love with someone who would likely never reciprocate that unconditional and temporarily everlasting affection. While, as adults, we can look back at these times and laugh, seeing them from a now unbiased perspective, we must never forget how we felt at the time. While future reflection and meditation may change our perspective on certain memories, time doesn’t suddenly change how you felt in the past.
Cook has expertly created a highly relatable tween protagonist in Ryan Farist, something that many big names in the entertainment industry struggle with after decades of experience developing characters.
There’s an old timey apple pie and baseball atmosphere in Genesis Theory, due in no small part to Cook’s eye popping imagery. The focal point of the story and the meat of the character interaction takes place on a chair lift at the Smokestack Railway, an old timey mining attraction.
Julie Meyer, daughter of Mr. Meyer (Mr. Farist’s longstanding best friend), has the most essential role in the story other than Ryan, and one could argue that Julie is the true protagonist of this dark tale. As Ryan’s daydreams have effectively built her up to be a goddess among men, the truth about her character is quite shocking when finally revealed.
The Truth About Julie
We come to find out that Julie has a very unhealthy obsession with trauma, and the way that trauma shapes us. As someone who has a deep love of writing and fictional characters, I have often considered through what means an author arrives at a certain character, or facet of said character. What sort of damage must one undergo in order to authentically create authentic deeply disturbed characters?
This is the question that Genesis Theory is exploring, though the story is intelligent enough to avoid attempting to answer that question.
Fascinatingly, Genesis Theory is more a story about the danger of pursuing the answer to that question. It’s a commentary on how we as a society have come to value certain unhealthy habits, experiences, or self-destructive behaviors as more valuable than other types of baggage. Julie Meyer and Ryan Farist go on a journey together, a journey that follows this flawed worldview to its conclusion, resulting in a powerful, shocking, and highly insightful conclusion.
The climax of the story is also exceedingly suspenseful. As Julie and Ryan open up to each other, you come to realize where things are likely headed, and it’s not a happy ending. Once, that realization sets in, each sentence builds off of the next one as you inch nearer towards the inevitable.
If you’re looking for a clever, witty, and engaging short story, you’d be hard-pressed to find a tale stronger than Genesis Theory. While I sometimes fear that I’m overly generous in my reviews, I have no such concerns here. Any issues I could raise with this story would be nit-picky, and that’s not a trait I care to exhibit.
Source: JJ Outre Review