[Review] Genocide of One, by Kazuaki Takano

[Review] Genocide of One, by Kazuaki Takano

I received this book for free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Genocide of One by Kazuaki Takano
Published by Mulholland Books on December 2, 2014 (first published 2011)
Genres: Japanese literature, Science fiction, Thriller
Pages: 512
Source: Netgalley
The verdict: five-stars
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What if one day, the next - hyperintelligent - step in human evolution is born?

What if more than three decades earlier, the existence of precisely such a new human evolution was predicted as a potential scenario for the end of the human race as we know it?

Without spoiling too much: this book simultaneously takes place in the US, Japan and the Congo. We’ve got the US President and those directly surrounding him. We’ve got four mercenaries sent on a mission. We’ve got children born with a deathly illness. We’ve got a Japanese student whose father just passed away. And most of all, we’ve got a three-year-old child named Akili: the next step in human evolution.

This book is pretty damn brilliant. When I just started reading, I was afraid this was not going to be my type of book. It starts out sounding a lot like a military thriller, but it is in fact a dareIsayit perfect piece of science fiction.

The plot of the book is extremely intricate and it all fits and works. By the end we’ve got not a single loose end, and yet it never feels forced. Again without spoiling too much: to me the plot was extremely satisfying, from the beginning to the end.

And the plot is also extremely realistic. You can imagine every aspect of it becoming reality. In fact, much of this book is either describing actual events or heavily based on actual events. The book is so convincing that you will even believe in the portrayed consequences of the birth of this evolved hyperintelligent human being.
(To illustrate: Only near the end there was one tiny thing that made me go “oh really” View Spoiler » but guess what. I Googled it and it actually exists. So I hereby take back my “oh really”. Also other parts that sounded very random ended up being 100% real or based on 100% real events.)

The book really is three things: both thrilling and unpredictable, and also very philosophical. The first two will make you want to keep reading. The last one will creep you out. Because just like the plot, the philosophy is real. The book is full of what-ifs, and Takano manages to hand them to you without it ever becoming tiresome.

Now, this book also uses a lot of jargon. I’m convinced Takano is a genius, not just because he convinces me with the science, the military and the political aspects, but also because he still manages to write it down in such a way that my poor Humanities-oriented brain understands (sort of). Again without it ever becoming tiresome.

So yes. Read this.


  1. Awwww, this book SOUNDS SO GOOD! WANT! WANT! I love good sci-fi/mystery/thriller type of stories so this one sounds exactly like my kind of read. And it being J-lit is an extra bonus 🙂

    (Btw, seeing you enjoying it, I actually requested in on Netgalley… but it’s still pending, sigh)
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