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Dark Eden by Chris Beckett

Dark Eden (edition 2014)

by Chris Beckett (Author)

Series: Eden Trilogy (1)

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A marooned outpost of humanity struggles to survive on a startlingly alien world.
Title:Dark Eden
Authors:Chris Beckett (Author)
Info:Broadway Books (2014), 448 pages
Collections:Your library

Work Information

Dark Eden by Chris Beckett

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» See also 47 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 75 (next | show all)
The reviews for this here seem to be quite mixed, with some people loving it and some thinking it was overrated. I fall firmly into the former camp. This was a truly excellent sci fi novel, well conceived and constructed, beautifully imagined and full of great characters. Really first class ( )
  whatmeworry | Apr 9, 2022 |
A crashed-ship/lost-colony tale, "Dark Eden" takes place several generations after two stranded humans leave descendants on a sunless planet; Beckett allows that the culture spawned has somehow persisted for 163 years, making his story directly from the difficulties that such a genetic and cultural bottleneck would create. Founder Effect, cargo cult, recessives on display, linguistic simplification: you got it.

Setting this story apart from others of this type, DE is told in the first person from a number of different characters' p-o-v, in the limited vernacular of the lost children. The strengths and weaknesses of oral tradition both keep things going and restrict innovation; this group has decided over time to eschew innovation or exploration in favor of staying in one place and in one state of being until longed-for rescue occurs. Beckett makes good use of that fertile ground. This book is both stimulating and a bit menacing: there's a bit of "Lord of the Flies" determinism explicit throughout, but that's not too unexpected given the times in which Beckett wrote it. The angsty adolescents of DE represent not just a metaphorical future, but the only hope for a future the residents of Eden have. The clipped but expressive language used underscores that, the way Huck Finn's dialect drives Mark Twain's classic novel. ( )
  MLShaw | Feb 15, 2022 |
El Extraño Gato del Cuento

Cuando terminé de leer, puse esto en GoodReads: "Esta reseña va a ser interesante, espero poder abarcar todo lo que me dió este libro." Y sigo esperando poder lograrlo.

Primero, es el primer libro completamente, puro purito, ciencia ficción que leo, por lo que no tengo nada con qué compararlo. Prácticamente me ha desvirgao' este libro (?). Voy hacer esta reseña por puntos... En serio, no sé como hablar del libro, ya pasó un mes exacto desde que lo terminé y no logro agrupar las ideas muy bien.

Narrativamente me fue complicado adentrarme en la historia, la manera en que está escrito es bastante peculiar, hay palabras del tipo "Elek-trikity" (creo que así lo escribe), y esa es la más fácil de entender, varias palabras las va cambiando. Es como un teléfono malogrado, la pronunciación de las palabras se va perdiendo con el transcurso de las generaciones, algo que me pareció frustrante en algunas partes porque no entendía lo que decían, y en cierta forma también tierno, como cuando los niños recién aprenden a hablar. Otra de las razones por las que estuve perdida durante un tiempo también es que cambia de narrador en cada capítulo, a veces es John, otras Tina, a veces aparece Sue, y con la memoria que tengo a veces no recordaba quién era quién.

La Familia, la pequeña sociedad donde viven, como dije con lo del teléfono malogrado, no solo transformó algunas palabras, sino también la historia en sí, por ejemplo vemos que Jesús fue colgado por Hittler. Eso fue lo que se les contó y es lo que ellos creen. Es un libro un poco inquietante, por la forma en la que no están dispuestos a cambiar de pensar (al parecer aún estando en otro planeta, los seres humanos seguimos tercos) o la manera en la que... eh... se reproducen, no encontré otra palabra, quise poner cortejo, pero no tendría nada que ver con el libro. En Eden es así: todas las chicas a partir de cierta edad, 16 si es que recuerdo bien, pueden dormir con cualquier hombre que ellas decidan (lo que está bien, mujeres fuertes e independientes y todo eso) lo que me fue un poco, díganme mojigata, es que no existe algo parecido al matrimonio, cada quién puede crear con quién guste. Y con los chicos no es diferente, básicamente desde que pueden tener una erección pueden empezar a reproducirse. Seeeh, a mí me dijeron que era un libro juvenil, así que cuando empezó cierta cosa así de repente, tuve que leerlo varias veces para entenderlo, es que es tan frío. Soy una romántica, me gusta el porno con amor (?)

En cuanto a lo ciencia ficción, jo, lo amé. Como anuncié al principio, Dark Eden was my first. Eden es hermoso, en su aterradora manera.

Luego de unos capítulos empecé a pensar que le daría bajo puntaje, pero con el transcurso de mi lectura la historia me empezó a fascinar, aun así no es un libro que recomiende a todo el mundo, es bastante pesado seguirle el ritmo. No digo que sea malo, solo que es ese tipo de libro que no es para todos.

El Extraño Gato del Cuento
( )
  Ella_Zegarra | Jan 18, 2022 |
The book starts slowly which is good as it introduces not just unfamiliar words but a setting that is quite alien in flora, fauna, and understanding of its inhabitants. By the 40% mark I was beginning to tire until BAM! everything started moving quite quickly. The time spent with our core characters in the beginning was a wise investment as it lets the book's action sequences hit more dramatically with a sense of depth behind small actions. Overally this is a really interesting read that meshes some of those feelings I had from Clan of the Cave Bear with those of Lord of the Flies. I will most likely read the other two books in the trilogy. ( )
  jamestomasino | Sep 11, 2021 |
Like a lot of reviewers, I'm not sure how I feel about Dark Eden. It didn't bore me, which is always a good thing - the question is whether the total sum reactions are positive or negative. In the end I came down with "positive".

And if you're wondering how that's possible, allow me to use American Presidential elections as a simile; the overall result will be a landslide, yet every state is too close to call in advance type scenario.

That's how I found DE going through it. I was on the fence for almost every aspect but enough "categories" won out.

The underlying sociological stuff is good, very good. Usually this sort of thing is done poorly in spec fic and the author's efforts do pay off here. There was a genuine organicness to the setting that didn't feel tacked on or papered over, and some interesting insight (imo) into a hypothetical society with almost no patriarchal bias.

The story of Angela Young, the story's "Eve", (including the tribal retellings and re-enactments of her life) are incredibly powerful, despite the fact that she is long since dead and gone.

My main difficulty - and this, I suspect, is where it garners a lot of hate - was the almost physical pain of having to sit through a novel where every POV character is little better than a caveman in terms of narrative capacity. Don't get me wrong, it's immersive and probably well done, not to mention it creates a very distinctive voice. But the temptation to flee into a different book with a more conventional set of characters is pretty strong.

John and Tina are a head and shoulders above the others in terms of readability, almost to the point of dubiety given their upbringing and low level of education, but I can't complain about that too much; I was honestly just relieved to have a more straightforward set of POVs to go through.

This is of course very personal as a bias. Whenever possible I'd rather have a lucid, literate character, however much that constrains the setting or prose (and frankly, it's rare that it does - this is probably an unusual case as a result).

The plot is not remarkable; I would compare it to a coming of age story, in the sense that you already know what the ending is going to be and you're only reading to assess how well the author puts the characters through their paces. The book feels exploratory rather than decisive, which is really not a bad thing.

The final element which tips this to positive for me is a certain insouciant rebellion on my part against this trend of high-action, pretend-to-be-a-thriller madness which is currently gripping modern fiction (even spec fic). I admire a book that is confident and calm and thoughtful, which takes its time rather than dragging you from pillar to post with a series of carefully scripted marketing hooks.

This is a book for advanced or experienced readers of scifi I feel. ( )
  Sunyidean | Sep 7, 2021 |
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» Add other authors

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Chris Beckettprimary authorall editionscalculated
Brand, ChristopherCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kuklev, EvgenyCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Scott, SiCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

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For my family – Maggie, Poppy, Dom and Nancy – with much love
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Thud, thud, thud.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
Chris Beckett wrote a short story "Dark Eden" that tells the story of Angela and Tommy, the two original founders of the human colony, the Family. This was printed in his anthology The Turing Test. Please do not combine these works if someone catalogs the short story.
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A marooned outpost of humanity struggles to survive on a startlingly alien world.

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This book is a sequel to a short story by the same name that was anthologized in Beckett's collection The Turing Test.

"You live in Eden. You are a member of the Family, one of 532 descendants of Angela and Tommy. You shelter beneath the light and warmth of the Forest's lantern trees, hunting woollybuck and harvesting tree candy. Beyond the forest lie the treeless mountains of the Snowy Dark and a cold so bitter and a night so profound that no man has ever crossed it. The Oldest among you recount legends of a world where light came from the sky, where men and women made boats that could cross between worlds. One day, the Oldest say, they will come back for you.

You live in Eden. You are a member of the Family, one of 532 descendants of two marooned explorers. You huddle, slowly starving, beneath the light and warmth of geothermal trees, confined to one barely habitable valley of a startlingly alien, sunless world. After 163 years and six generations of incestuous inbreeding, the Family is riddled with deformity and feeblemindedness. Your culture is a infantile stew of half-remembered fact and devolved ritual that stifles innovation and punishes independent thought. You are John Redlantern. You will break the laws of Eden, shatter the Family and change history. You will be the first to abandon hope, the first to abandon the old ways, the first to kill another, the first to venture in to the Dark, and the first to discover the truth about Eden."
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