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Dark Eden by Chris Beckett

Dark Eden (original 2012; edition 2014)

by Chris Beckett (Author)

Series: Eden Trilogy (1)

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6957024,736 (3.66)47
A marooned outpost of humanity struggles to survive on a startlingly alien world.
Title:Dark Eden
Authors:Chris Beckett (Author)
Info:Crown (2014), 448 pages
Collections:Your library

Work details

Dark Eden by Chris Beckett (2012)

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I am conflicted about the stars. Have another half star but this book was desperately repetitious. And despite a good idea underlying it, the author appears to have no self knowledge. Apart from the lack of social perspective one of the things I disliked most was that the chapters were each voiced by individual characters - and if the chapters had not had headings telling the reader which character was voicing the story - the reader would have had no idea who it was - all the voices sounded the same. ( )
  Ma_Washigeri | Jan 23, 2021 |
There is a lot of this I really liked -- the world, the imagery, the language (seemed much less problematic and more grounded in the story than, for example, [b:The Country of Ice Cream Star|22350219|The Country of Ice Cream Star|Sandra Newman|https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1406043997s/22350219.jpg|25591193]. But I started to lose interest about halfway, in part because the resolution (no spoilers) seemed so predictable. The world exploration got a little old (we get it) almost as a way of prolonging the arrival at the conclusion. A novella masquerading as a novel. But certainly worth a read. ( )
  MaximusStripus | Jul 7, 2020 |
Eden is a planet that had been discovered by humans 6 generations ago. It is a harsh planet, full of alien flora and fauna; some of which is deadly, and others that are barely edible. There is almost no metal on the planet, they have reverted to a stone age existence using black glass (obsidian) spears to hunt. From the two explorers that were left, all the people living there today are descended from them. They have inbred, and are suffering from deformities such a cleft palette, craw feet and reduced intelligence.

They inhabit a small valley, and live in hope that the people that left to return to earth and bring help, will return soon. They are in families spread around the valley, but are all closely interacting, including sexually, thereby increasing the problems in the small population. They have a few artifacts that are brought out on the Any Varsiry (anniversary) and passed around for the people to see and touch. The society clings onto the past, maintain rituals and location for the return of the original team members.

Into this comes John. He is a newhair, an adolescent youth aged around 15 years old. He is celebrated when he kills a leopard. But when he starts to see the rituals and ceremonies as flawed and not moving forward and making the most of the planet they are on and questions the reasoning behind what they are doing, he is banished from the family. He knows that there is a way over the Snowy Dark, the name they call the mountains. He is joined but other of a similar age and who also see the need for change. The original family starts to split into fractions as John’s rebellion takes hold.

Beckett has created two things here, a planet that is harsh, alien and unforgiving and a closed and flawed society that has become inward looking and insular. He has developed deviations from the language that are still understandable, and fairly cleverly thought out.

John is the catalyst for change in this society, for good and for bad, and as he moves out of the valley he makes discoveries that change his understanding of the world that they now occupy. The older power structure has crumbled, and there is now a new force that see John as the point for their hate.

I have never read anything by this author before, so was not sure what to expect. It was refreshingly original, cohesive and have a solid plot. I wonder if there is to be a sequel. Will read if there is. ( )
  PDCRead | Apr 6, 2020 |
Various Highly Inbred People Behaving Badly, In Space ( )
  andrea_mcd | Mar 10, 2020 |
I’ve recently found it hard to ‘click’ with books, but was thrilled to become deeply, voraciously engaged with Chris Beckett’s Dark Eden trilogy: a series which asks us to think about what it means to be human, about the stories that we tell one another, and about the way that civilisations develop. It wasn’t love at first sight: I was initially put off by the mannered language, but its rhythms soon wormed their way into my mind and even into my dreams. Beckett’s story takes place on Eden, a strange and exotic world where a small cluster of some five hundred people struggle to survive in the heart of an alien forest. They are all descendants of two people, Angela Young and Tommy Schneider, survivors of a space mission almost two hundred years before. They do their best to keep the stories of their ancestors alive, and to remember how they came to be in this inhospitable place, believing that one day help will come from Earth to rescue them. But not everyone is content to simply sit and wait and trust. John Redlantern is one of these, and his questioning and challenging will push the entire history of Eden in a new direction, changing the world forever...

For the full review, please see my blog:
https://theidlewoman.net/2019/09/08/dark-eden-chris-beckett/ ( )
  TheIdleWoman | Oct 7, 2019 |
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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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