Style: Average

Attitude: Take Care

Cover of Origins

Author: Kate Thompson

Series: Fourth World

Publisher: The Bodley Head

Age Range: Young Teens+

Period: Near Future

Setting: Scotland

Genres:  SciFiThought-provoking


  • See The "Fourth World" Series


The stone which Christie was given by the Yeti is linked to the mysterious creature which takes over the lab at Fourth World; meanwhile in some unspecified place and time, the Dogs and the Cats are in a permanent state of conflict. The two stories come together when a representative of the Cats and the Dogs find Christie's diary.


See The “Fourth World” series

Literary: This book is more interesting than its predecessors as it runs two stories side-by-side, leaving you unsure where they're going to meet. That said, the Cats and Dogs story doesn't draw the reader along so much, not least perhaps because it's trying to explain the attitudes of the different tribes without being able to explain their origins in full until the end of the book.

General: Granted its premises, this is a fitting conclusion to the Fourth World series. As you read the parallel stories, it's not so terribly hard to guess where they're going to converge, but there is enough that is left uncertain to make it interesting.

Human Origins: Obviously, the premises are questionable: a stranded alien introduced the Missing Link gene into some apes, giving them the ability to reason, and then went into hibernation until there was enough technology to allow it to signal for help. Since the intelligent creatures had served their purpose, it engineered a virus which would destroy the gene across the whole human race. The genetically-enhanced Fourth World animals were not affected by the virus and so become widespread, while the humans with the gene removed are simply carefree hairless apes.

Wednesday 18th February 2004