Dark Genesis: The Birth Of The Psi Corps
By: J. Gregory Keyes
I was super enthused to read Dark Genesis: The Birth of the Psi Corps. Babylon 5 was my favorite television show of all time. Bester was also one of the greatest villains ever written. I was hesitant to allow myself super high expectations. This was a novel that dove into the origin of the Psi Corps, the telepathic military and government oppressor of telepaths or telekinetics. A topic I’d always been curious to know more about. Even so, I’m glad that I grounded my expectations. I did enjoy the first book of this trilogy, but it wasn’t without problems.
“I’m here to save your butts. Next time, show a little gratitude.”
The story begins with the birth of humans proof of telepathy and the results of the world not only discovering it but trying to control and utilize it. The clumsy race of humans have ultimately almost destroyed the telepathic race. The norms made attempts to wipe them out until a crafty senator named Lee Crawford came up with an idea to “save” the telepaths. Of course still wanted to use them to the advantage of the government and Earth Alliance, and while also keeping them in their complete control. At first, it seemed the best and most humane way of making the normals feel “safe” and not committing genocide.
The Mirror Never Sees Itself
The build-up of the first stages of the Psi Corps and the characters surrounding it don’t immediately grasp your interest. They are pretty simplistic and one dimensional. That being said, the narrative itself is compelling enough that you keep going with earnest.
Lee Crawford is blown up by his assistant Kevin Vacit, who we find has been hiding his telepathic abilities. It turns out his abilities are on a scale so high that no other telepath can even detect him. After, Kevin Vacit takes over the Psi Corp while also mysteriously aiding the resistance, who are telepaths that believe in freedom and are fighting the Psi-Corps. The resistance is led by Fiona and Matthew, this lovely couple that blows things up in a Fight Club way.
The chemistry between Fiona and Matthew is forced and the weak history of the two made their leadership of the resistance seem doomed from the start. Throw in a soap opera twist and you get a love triangle with an undercover Psi Corp agent. Stephen, the agent was sent by Kevin Vacit to make sure Fiona was safe. She happens to be his granddaughter). Stephen and Matthew have a few awkward exchanges and demonstrate a clear tension. Without any real organic development the trio are besties and together are waging a war on the Corps. Then a baby is born. As foreshadowed the resistance along with Fiona and Matthew are destroyed.
“Liars are always afraid that somebody is going to see through them.”
Meanwhile, there is a ton of mumbo jumbo linking the creation of human telepathy to Vorlons. Learning humans had been genetically engineered as telepaths was pretty interesting stuff, but from a narrative perspective. Of course if you had watched the show, you already knew about it. Kevin Vacit in his elder years finally found proof of the Vorlon tampering. He was assisted by while with his aid Natasha Alexander, who seems to have some personal connection to him. On Venus both are touched by a Vorlon and so lives the precedent for the future. It was then Kevin came to the epiphany that the real battle wasn’t against the resistance. It was against normals or the mundane. This alludes to a lot more of the future happenings of the Psi Corps.
The Reflection Never is Itself
Without giving away the rest of the story, the author attempted to make too many unnecessary connections between characters without making any real attempt to define, explain, or develop them. Simply, it seemed like he was trying to be cool rather than write a good story, and the blocks were there, he just stacked them in a kind of peculiar fashion. Perhaps the thoughts of the second book will be more organized and better developed, but the first was certainly good enough to give the second a peek.