Read Ciemny Eden by Chris Beckett Wojciech M. Próchniewicz Online


Na odległej, obcej i pozbawionej słońca planecie zwanej Edenem, pięciuset trzydziestu dwóch członków Rodziny szuka schronienia w świetle i cieple drzew lampowych.Wokół Lasu rozciąga się Śnieżne Ciemno – góry tak wysokie, mroźne i spowite tak gęstym mrokiem, że dotąd nie pokonał ich żaden człowiek.Najstarsi w Rodzinie powtarzają legendy o świecie, w którym światło padało zNa odległej, obcej i pozbawionej słońca planecie zwanej Edenem, pięciuset trzydziestu dwóch członków Rodziny szuka schronienia w świetle i cieple drzew lampowych.Wokół Lasu rozciąga się Śnieżne Ciemno – góry tak wysokie, mroźne i spowite tak gęstym mrokiem, że dotąd nie pokonał ich żaden człowiek.Najstarsi w Rodzinie powtarzają legendy o świecie, w którym światło padało z nieba, a ludzie potrafili budować łodzie pływające między gwiazdami.Takie łodzie przywiozły nas tutaj, powtarzają, Rodzina powinna więc czekac na powrót gwiezdnych podróżników.Jednakże młody John Czerwoniuch złamie edeńskie prawa, rozbije Rodzinę i odmieni historię. Porzuci stare zwyczaje, zapuści się w Ciemno… i odkryje prawdę o swoim świecie.Powieść zdobyła nagrodę im. Arthura C. Clarke’a za najlepszą powieść science-fiction roku 2013....

Title : Ciemny Eden
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9788374804165
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 336 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Ciemny Eden Reviews

  • Greg
    2019-04-02 19:51

    Once again I'm a confused about what constitutes an award winning Science Fiction novel. This book?Really?The jacket copy and a couple of reviews that I noticed mention the interesting linguistic aspect of the novel. The copy gives a lighthearted assurance that it's not as difficult as, say, Clockwork Orange. No mention is given of that book by Joyce. Now you might be one of those people who claim love for that book. Personally, I gave it about fifteen pages and then ran a quick effort to satisfaction ratio in my head and realized that it wasn't worth the effort on my part. This makes me an awful awful person. Or it just makes me a person who realizes his own limitations. Is aware of his own mortality, and just doesn't feel the need anymore to check off certain books from some list like notches on the literary bedpost. Instead I'll just kill my reading time with things like this. Which, require fairly little effort and give me close to zero satisfaction. Yeah, I'm not consistent. For those of you who find the linguistic antics of someone like Burgess or Joyce to be too much, let me possibly recommend something from the Avant-Garde school of linguistic wordplay popularized by Bil Keane and at the heart of this book. You may be familiar with this kind of groundbreaking work, but if you are not let me give you a few examples:andImagine a society whose language was formed by Billy, Dolly and Jeffy having mis-heard and then gotten their own version of words replaced with the real words. Brilliant? Yes!In keeping with the Keanesean influence on this work, I made my own crude attempt to break down the story through another of Bil's literary devices. The dotted line. Don't worry if you can't read the words in this picture, you can't really read them on the original either. But the one says six-legged animal. Because animals have six legs in this book. And the other says, In the Butt, because a hawt teenage girl likes it in the butt so they don't get pregnant in this book. It may come as no surprise by the title that there are some biblical themes in the book. I found the book to be kind of repetitive and boring. There are only so many times I wanted to hear about what an undemonstrative dick the main character was. There were some interesting themes in the book, but they weren't handled in a way that made them seem fresh or interesting. I think this book with a little bit of tweaking might have made a fine YA novel. Instead it's an award winning adult SF novel, and once again in my head it seems like having some moral issues and a bit of creepy sexual innuendo equals award. Better than Robert Sawyer though. Oh, yeah I'm supposed to mention that I got this book for free, from either Netgalley, the publisher, author or through some other way that I get books to read before they are published. Apparently it's a federal law to mention this (for reals?) and not just a cheap reason to float the shit out of my reviews. I haven't been given any monies, nor have I been coerced in anyway to write the review you just read. Huzzah!

  • Algernon
    2019-03-31 03:29

    The best way I can describe this book is as a cross betweenLord of the FliesandAvatar: a group of astronauts gets stranded on a deserted, sunless planet after going through a wormhole and losing all touch with Earth. The survivors intermarry, producing after several generations The Family : a gathering of clans around the site of the rocket crash, living precariously off the land (hunters and gatherers) and waiting for a rescue ship from home to find them and take them back to civilization. The story is told at the level and through the eyes of 'younghairs' - teenagers rebelling against the strictures imposed by Family traditions and the authority of their elders. The re-creation of human society by a group of youngsters marrooned on an isolated island / enclave and the revelations about the role of violence in establishing authority are the elements that reminded me of William Golding. The incredibly rich texture and diversity of the native plant and animal life on the planet of Eden, with bioluminescence and heat regulating trees compensating for the absence of a Sun, the exotic critters and the dangerous predators are the parts that seem inspired by David Cameron's vision. “There are only two or three human stories,” Willa Cather wrote, “and they go on repeating themselves as fiercely as if they had never happened before.” The story may not seem all that original when reduced to its basic elements : kids leaving the safety of home and striking out on their own, the clash between conservative maintenance of status-quo and the courage to go out into unknown territory, the short term versus the long term goals of society, with particular application to the destruction of the environment and dwindling resources. The merit of Chris Beckett is to transmute the individual plight of John Redlantern and Tina Spiketree into the fate of humanity; of exploring, in the best tradition of classic SF, the need of our race to keep pushing the limits and to reach for the stars, literally. It's not about individual survival, or survival of the fittest in the most Darwinian sense, but about the fate of the whole species. Just as the Family is stranded on a cramped oasis of lush vegetation where population already outgrows food resources and is surrounded by dark and forbidding glacier wastes, humanity is reaching the limits in terms of what the Earth can support and is turning its eyes away from Space exploration. We probably need our own John Redlantern, a visionary capable of energizing the imagination and the resources of a younger generation who can think longterm instead of instant gratification. The trouble with Family: you eat and you drink and you slip and you quarrel and you have a laugh, but you don't really think about where you're trying to get or what you want to become. And when trouble comes, you just scramble up trees and wait for the leopard to go away and then afterwards giggle and prattle on for wakings and wakings about how big and scary it was... I mentioned earlier the Young Adult style of presentation. I should make it clear that YA is not a dirty word in my book. When done right, as in this case, the story can reach across generation gaps and tackle as deep and important themes as the most intricate and self-absorbed, existentialist, post-modernist piece of highbrow literature. A lively pacing and a concise literary style, clear-cut archetypal characters are not a sign of dumbing down the issues, but of good storytelling technique that is sometimes harder to achieve than page long disertations and internal monologues of tormented introverts. The author does well I believe in capturing the degradation of vocabulary, echoing in part the genetical deffects resulting from the limited genetic pool of the outcasts. The prose gains an almost mythical dimension, as in: This is how history is written and legends are born.I should also make a mention that, while the 'newhairs' at the core of the story are 12-14 years old, they are really mature for their age and engage in explicit sex and violence - not gratuitous or out of context, but as a part of their journey of self-discovery. Whether this disqualifies the novel or not from the YA shelves, remains the decision of each individual reader, according to his/her expectations and set of moral guidelines. I for one see no problem in recommending the novel to a younger audience, and would like to see it gain a wider recognition as a potential modern SF classic.

  • Mogsy (MMOGC)
    2019-04-20 03:48

    5 of 5 bright bright stars at The BiblioSanctum tells me Dark Eden isn’t the kind of book you can take at face value; I have a feeling it could spawn a dozen papers on sociology and human psychology if you were inclined to analyze it. Heck, I’m sitting here writing a monster of a review for it myself. The book takes place in the far-flung future on an alien planet, but simply labeling it science fiction misses out on a lot of its themes too. In some ways, it’s almost like a hypothetical social experiment, exploring the possible outcomes if a society were to emerge on its own, completely cut off and free of influences from the rest of humankind.This scenario begins with five human beings, stranded on a dark and icebound planet they dubbed Eden. The planet is too far from its sun and the only inhabitable areas are those where the ground is warm and the lantern trees give off light. Three of the original humans who arrived – Mehmet, Michael, and Dixon – decided to leave in their damaged spaceship to seek help from Earth, but two opted to remain behind on Eden instead. They were Angela and Tommy, who did what they could to survive while they patiently awaited rescue.Approximately 160 years later, the story officially beings and the population of Eden has grown from 2 to 532. Collectively calling themselves “Family”, all of them are the descendants of Angela and Tommy, who had eventually settled down and raised children. All this time Family has stayed together living in the area they call Circle Valley, the site of the original circle of stones laid down by Angela to mark where the landing vehicle is supposed to return to when they come take them all back to Earth. However, with their numbers ever increasing, Circle Valley is becoming far too small for Family and the surrounding resources are becoming depleted. One teenager named John Redlantern changes everything when he proposes Family abandon their old ways to seek new expansion beyond the forest and over the mountains of Snowy Dark.The planet of Eden is fascinating, home to a lot of bizarre flora and fauna. It is shrouded in perpetual darkness, so virtually all native species are bioluminescent. Both predator and prey animals possess two hearts, greenish blood, six limbs and sometimes tentacles with light buds at their tips. The names that Family have come up with to describe their surroundings give plenty more hints as to what their world looks like. “Snowy Dark” is what I imagine is the glacial mountainous area where nobody has ever crossed, the “Starry Swirl” they always see in the sky is likely the Milky Way, and names like “Longpool” and “Greatpool” presumably describe the various bodies of water they have nearby.But even more fascinating are the social implications behind a group that started and emerged like Family. Maybe it’s the anthropology buff in me coming through again, but I just adore speculative stories like these that theorize on human culture and its evolution. What would happen if a small founding population of humans grew by itself completely separated from the rest of us? What would their society look like after many generations if left alone to develop on its own? They may come to adapt their own traditions, perhaps learned from the original two parents but then altered through the years so that it eventually becomes very different. Survival might take priority over all else, stifling creativity and innovation. Polygamous relationships may result from the need propagate, and it’s possible that children are raised in groups by people other than their parents.In Dark Eden, Family either practices or shows a lot of these characteristics. Furthermore, their language has already drifted, and they have their own way of talking, which comes across as childish sometimes (if you think this might be an issue for you, I recommend the audiobook; the childlike style is much less noticeable in the narration). Words are invented, like “Newhairs” to describe teenagers, and repetition is used for emphasis, saying “dark dark” to mean “very dark”, for example. A few complex words are written out as they are spoken, like “Any Virsry” for anniversary and “veekle” for vehicle. There are also consequences from the huge genetic bottleneck. Various physical deformities and heredity disorders are present in a large proportion of Family, presumably the effects of inbreeding.Deeper and even more fascinating still are the themes related to religion. It’s probably no coincidence that the author decided to make his characters name their planet Eden, and it’s interesting to me how Angela, whom Family called the mother of them all, eventually became an almost god-like figure to them. The story of how she and her companions became stranded on Eden, which in essence only happened five or six generations ago, has already taken on a legendary status, told and retold with reverence. Everyday objects that the original five arrived with that survived (like computer keyboards or shoes) are relics that are practically worshipped. It is believed that one day men and women will arrive from the sky and save those who have kept faithful to Angela’s vision, bringing them back to that bright and shining paradise called Earth.Then of course, there’s John Redlantern. He’s an obnoxious and arrogant jerk, really. But because he dared to challenge the status quo, literally breaking Family traditions when he destroyed Circle of Stones, he becomes almost like a religious figure and a prophet himself, a leader who brings his followers to a new land to start a new way of life. John is highly unlikeable in this story, but you have to wonder if every stagnating society needs someone like him to shake things up. He could also be seen as the embodiment of the human spirit. What does a story like this say about us? Is it in our nature to never settle when we can always have more, to always strive for the next best thing and to constantly seek truth behind the next mountain, beyond the next valley, across the next stream? And while we’re asking these questions, how about some other tough ones, like are human populations inevitably doomed to violence and conflict? Are our social instincts to be gregarious so strong that we’ll always be so quick to shout down and shun those who threaten tradition or who don’t agree with the whole? CAN’T WE ALL JUST GET ALONG?So many questions. So much material for discussion. I love books like this.I’m also glad that the end of the novel brings some closure. Even when you already know how things are likely to play out, it’s nice to get confirmation and so I can move on. Dark Eden can be read as a stand alone, though there is a sequel coming out soon which apparently will take place far in the future of Eden’s timeline. I’m looking forward to it so much. Will the events that happened here with John Redlantern and his faithful friends Tina, Gerry and Jeff eventually take the form of religious scripture for the generations to come, just as Angela, Tommy and their companions became a sacred figures for Family? I guess we’ll find out.

  • F.R.
    2019-04-05 21:37

    Who the hell decides where the line is drawn between literary and genre fiction? If one takes Chris Beckett’s ‘Dark Eden’ for instance, this is a beautifully written, magnificently constructed work of art, and yet because of its subject matter it will casually be shunted off to the ‘science fiction’ ghetto. Now I’m not one to raise a lip of sneering to any form of genre fiction. I love genre fiction with all my black heart and soul! And yet I know, as you surely know, that when it comes to the mythical cannon, genre fiction is not worth anywhere near as much pseudo-gold as the latest puffed-up offering by, say, an Ian McEwan or a Martin Amis – and yet this book is as brilliant as any you can put against it.It’s a novel which manages to get across almost another book’s worth of back-story with incredible art and simplicity. One hundred and fifty years ago or so, two Earthlings were stranded on a distant planet. This man and woman – this new Adam and Eve – had children and grandchildren and now a thriving community of 500 lives there. Beckett’s interest in the nature of society is clearly passionate, and he does not shun away from the fact that these people are horribly inbred with deformities appearing again and again. This community lives in the same spot where their ancestors landed, awaiting long overdue rescue from an Earth that not even the eldest member has ever seen. However one day a young man decides to challenge the status quo and turn everything upside down.Beckett’s depiction of this new world, and the human tribes which have grown up, is incredibly vivid and real. As the book progressed it becomes science fiction which both looks forward and back. A post-spaceship existence, where crossing a strange wasteland to get to the other side is every bit as daunting and frightening as it would have been to our ancestors in aeons ago hunter/gatherer times. It’s a depiction which captures the reader, envelops the reader and leaves the reader panting for more. The story bounds forward in a logical and yet dangerous way, demonstrating the author’s absolute control over his material, and creating an incredible smart, passionate, tense and wonderfully dramatic read.I finished the last page knowing that I couldn’t wait to re-enter this world.

  • Tyrannosaurus regina
    2019-03-30 21:56

    I actually have a lot of really complicated feelings about this one. On the one hand, it has some fascinating worldbuilding and the development of language is of particular interest to me, as are the social rituals and relationships that have risen on this new world. Those aren't the reasons I picked it up, but they're what I got out of it. On the other, it reads like a systematic removal of women's agency, which makes me really uncomfortable. I suspect this book will be triggery for some people, too, though the ways in which it might be are probably implied in the blurb.At the end, the story leaves a lot of balls in the air, but I feel like that's more a function of how the story is told than a setup for a sequel. Things are not wrapped up in a neat little bow, but then, when are they ever?Overall I thought it was good, and once I got a feel for it I stayed up well into the night to reach the end (which I had long since guessed, but that makes it no less a powerful moment), but I was left too uncomfortable—in the wrong ways—to rate it higher.

  • Catherine Evans
    2019-04-02 19:55

    I was surprised to learn upon finishing Dark Eden that not only was it an Arthur C Clarke award winner but also that it had beaten Nick Harkaway's Angelmaker to the prize. Angelmaker has its flaws but it's a solid and compelling story (most of the time), which I can't say about Dark Eden. It plods. It's predictable in its plot and the underlying ideas, and I could have guessed the story in its entirety just from knowing the premise. Not only is it linear and predictable, it's underdeveloped, with chunks of the plot happening just 'because': we are repeatedly told, for example, that in Family, the society in which the book is set, 'the time of women is over' and 'it was the men's time now', for reasons that fail to account for why the women of Family are powerless to stop this, and why several characters simply choose to leave rather than attempt to fight the change. There are, in general, some fairly unpleasant assumptions about gender roles underpinning this story, the more upsetting because Beckett's clearly tried to imagine a society in which gender roles aren't restricted to C21st Western expectations. He's just done a very poor job. It's not a terrible book. I enjoyed it, but it was a light read and not an outstanding SF novel.

  • Kend
    2019-03-29 03:47

         Back in early April, when I was first becoming disillusioned with my all-academic reading list, I found myself chatting over Gmail with a friend who keeps up with the publishing world far better than I do.  She brought up Chris Beckett's latest science fiction novel:And of course I, being a sucker for anything that manages to cram biblical references into the same sentence as "scientifically grounded," immediately took advantage of my access to inter-library loan to get ahold of a copy.     I should probably preface this review with a disclaimer: I ended up reading this book immediately after polishing off Kim Stanley Robinson's 2312, Red Mars, and Green Mars.  Whatever else I might say about them (and will, when I have time to review them), those three books are, if you aren't well acquainted with them already, pretty much the definition of "scientifically grounded" speculative fiction--refreshingly so.  Perhaps I did Dark Eden a disservice by expecting it to fill the same niche, but here's the truth of the matter: Dark Eden is not, at all, grounded in hard science.  At least, not in respect to space, space travel, engineering, physics, chemistry, or any other of those fields that we think of as having an especially pertinent connection to science fiction.  There are nods to a basic understanding of biology (regarding the aforementioned in-breeding), and after a bit of reaching, to developmental psychology (also regarding the in-breeding).     I have three main objections to this book.  It is:mis-marketed.   boring. underdeveloped.      Dark Eden falls somewhere about the fifth-grade reading level, if you ignore the near-ubiquitous references to sex, genitalia, and other objectionable material.  I'm not an advocate of white-washing children's literature of real-life concerns, but this book was a strange jumble; I either wanted it to be more complex and lyrical and adult in tone, or less obscene and therefore in keeping with its afore-mentioned reading level.  As an adult reading it, I felt my intelligence and desire for good writing to be insulted; as a child, I would have been so disgusted by its content I wouldn't have noticed the formal construct at all.  (I guess, to be fair, I did know some boys in the fifth grade who would have liked the sexual antics, if they had gotten over their aversion to books.)  I therefore propose that this book has been tragically mis-marketed, not just for its supposedly "scientifically grounded" content, but its reading level.     When I say Dark Eden is boring, I am not talking about the sex, and I'm not even talking about the book's disturbing propensity to reduce women to baby factories and auxiliary plot devices.  When I step back and look at this book as a narrative, I find I'm not altogether certain what its through-line is supposed to be, or what it's arc might be.  The development is slow, even tedious.  You might expect a book with such simplistic language to make for a quick read, but I found Dark Eden so tedious that it took me two weeks to get through the first ten pages.  And I'm not a slow reader.  And I wasn't even over-busy or disillusioned with life in those two weeks.  Secondly, and yet perhaps more importantly, I found the characters entirely too one-dimensional.  And this is after spending a semester studying the merits of one-dimensional characters as a part of a graduate class on fairy tales.       To conclude my so-far overwhelmingly negative review of this book, I'd like to make a futile gesture towards something Beckett has done well.  Dark Eden feels underdeveloped, not just because of its failed attempts at characterization, development, and inclusion of hard science, but because it really did have potential.  There are certain world-building details that strike me as original and thoughtful, mostly because they find their soul in the imaginative and the surreal and the imagistic.  These moments reminded me of the adventure-books I devoured as a child.  I'm thinking particularly of books that tapped into the collision of ordinary and extraordinary worlds--the worlds of L'Engle, Lewis, and Gurney.  But these moments evaporated too quickly.     Had Beckett written a Dark Eden that acknowledged the complexities of building an isolated community through in-breeding on a biblical scale and written characters who actually interrogated these complexities and given the book a narrative arc that took the reader somewhere new and gave itself permission to unleash its latent images and lyricism, I might have enjoyed this book.  As it is, it reads a little bit like a rehash of all those other books that preach the necessity of living in the present moment.

  • Pam ☼Because Someone Must Be a Thorn☼ Tee
    2019-04-20 00:46

    DARK EDEN falls into the classic scifi genre --sociology camp. It's a book that doesn't focus on hard-core technical science, but rather on sociological and biological questions.In the case of Eden this means developing an eco-system that isn't reliant on a bright, cheerful sun, and which is occupied by strange life forms, and a small population of humans, all descended from two people.What worked for me was the world building. It was innovative and interesting. I also thought the human population was suitably rank: being dominated by the extremely old, and populated by the genetic problems that arise when you have excessive inbreeding.What didn't work for me were the characters. I never ever cared for them. I understand John and appreciated his efforts to keep people from starving, but the way he handled the problem was counter productive and didn't really jive with how intelligent he was supposed to be.THUS... At the 85% point, I threw my hands up into the air and said ENOUGH!!! I don't freakin' care. WHAT HAPPENED to elicit this response was a change in the narrative. First, we were no longer seeing events through the eyes of Tina and John. We were getting Sue Redlantern and others telling us what they thought. (I barely know these people. Why are they here at the end of the story?)Secondly, Tina changed. No longer spirited, she became whiny and no different than most of the oldmums back at Family. In fact, she changed so completely that she developed a new speech pattern which left her referring to John as that 'bloke'. A word that was not previously amongst the few fewsimple words that the people used.And meanwhile, back at the Old Family camp,(view spoiler)[ they've suddenly got religion and talking up how as they should have done for John by spiking him up like Jesus. (hide spoiler)]For me it was the last straw. I was willing to chug along faithfully to see what happened to our intrepid crew, but the author broke the contract we had. By which I mean that I expected him to provide a consistency to his world, and not dart off into some new direction that didn't have a foundation in what went before.NOT a bad read. Chris Beckett writes well. He's imaginative. I'd suggest this book to those who aren't bothered by arcane language. The people of Eden have been isolated for too long long, and so they have developed their own speech patterns. I also think that scifi readers who enjoy being immersed in a world where there are dozens and dozens of new creatures and flora to learn about would enjoy this book.It's not for someone who absolutely needs intriguing characters. DARK EDEN is driven by logic and scifi, not character development.

  • Rebecca Foster
    2019-04-25 23:43

    (4.25) Chris Beckett writes page-turning science fiction with deep theological implications. I almost never read sci-fi, but in 2012 I devoured Dark Eden, admiring it so much that I chose it as Greenbelt Festival’s Big Read that year (it seemed especially appropriate because the festival theme was “Saving Paradise”).Six generations ago a pair of astronauts landed on the planet Eden and became matriarch and patriarch of a new race of eerily primitive humans. A young leader, John Redlantern, rises up within the group, determined to free his people from their limited worldview by demythologizing their foundational story. Through events that mirror many of the accounts in Genesis and Exodus, Beckett provides an intriguing counterpoint to the ways Jews and Christians relate to the biblical narrative.While echoing environmental dystopias such as Brian Aldiss’s Hothouse or J.G. Ballard’s The Drowned World, Dark Eden is surprisingly thought-provoking on the subject of human knowledge and meaning. It is a perverse parable in which evolution works in reverse and the boundaries between Earth and Paradise are unclear. “I hate Eden, this miserable dark place we’re all trapped in for bloody ever,” one character complains. “We shouldn’t be here, that’s the real problem: it wasn’t the world we were made for. We were meant to live in light.” Are the residents of Eden the innocent beneficiaries of a prelapsarian society, or are they deluded nomads? Is Earth truly the perfect homeland they envision, or do they possess Paradise already?Sequel: Mother of Eden

  • Lisa Reads & Reviews
    2019-04-18 01:34

    4.5/5 I looked up Chris Beckett on Wikipedia and learned he "was educated at the Dragon School in Oxford and Bryanston School in Dorset, England. He holds a BSc (Honours) in Psychology from the University of Bristol (1977), a CQSW from the University of Wales (1981), a Diploma in Advanced Social Work from Goldsmiths College, University of London (1977), and an MA in English Studies from Anglia Ruskin University, Cambridge (2005). He has been a senior lecturer in social work at APU since 2000. He was social worker for eight years and the manager of a children and families social work team for ten years. Beckett has authored or co-authored several textbooks and scholarly articles on social work."--which makes sense because "Dark Eden: A Novel" (to distinguish it from his short story by the same name) is focused more on psychology than science fiction. An alien world is described well enough and coherent enough to orient the reader, all without information dumps. Really, the alien world was secondary to what I think was the author's intent. Complete with plot and fleshy characters, Beckett has written an exploration of the re-formation of society from (view spoiler)[ one that is matriarchal and peaceful, yet stagnant through evolution from a need to explore and expand that leads to a warrior mentality--a re-enactment of Earth's history. The human seed carries personality traits that are necessary for survival, as well as those that are destructive.(hide spoiler)]Although the observation itself is not new (think "Lord of the Flies"), I enjoyed the unique characters, the alien world, and the story that unfolded.

  • Desinka
    2019-04-02 00:34

    Actual rating 3.5 stars. I liked the world building and the critique of society bits. I was exasperated by the language - I think I'll speak with repeated adjectives for some time. The characters were interesting but not entirely three-dimensional and convincing. Their motivations remained largely unclear to me and even when I got glimpses of them I wasn't very happy with the picture. I found the plot predictable and not very exciting. I was disappointed by the open ending - I didn't expect answers but at least there should have been some questions.

  • Casey Hampton
    2019-04-22 03:49

    Eden is a planet covered in darkness, hosting an abundance of familiarly alien flora and fauna, inhabited by Earth descended humans. The only light occurs naturally, there is no sun in orbit, and there are only the far away cold stars that shine in the sky.The human settlement is known as the Family. They have not migrated from first landing. The original settlers of Eden could be counted on one hand; the women could be counted with one finger. Now everyone in the Family speaks in a childish patois riddled with repetition.Dark Eden focuses on the splintering of the Family as one group breaks away from tradition and heads out into unexplored territory. The original society is built upon a matriarchal democracy. As the story evolves, this deteriorates into an oppressive system of patriarchy, under which we witness the first ever murder.I struggled with this book. It's billed as being a coming of age/YA story, but sex is treated rather peculiar. In the local patois, sex is known as a "slip" or to have sex, is to have a "slip" and to get slipped, is to, well you can figure it out. Free love is rampant and often public with mild attempts at modesty. Of course there is the issue of necessary incest. While the folks on Eden know it's not good to slip your sister, daughter, or mother, I get the impression that such slips do occur. Personally, I feel that the attitudes and practice of sex on Eden is pretty true to how it would happen. Morality and modesty are after all cultural and malleable in definition. But the phrases "baby juice" and "juicy juice" carries an awkward juvenile humor that outweighs social commentary. I never knew if I was supposed to laugh at the sophomoric double entendres or simply overlook them. One minute it feels like I'm reading a cleverly written work of SF, the next moment I feel like I'm deciphering the bathroom stalls back in sixth grade. And the thing is, you can't have it both ways. Rarely does one find Shakespeare in the outhouse.The other irritations? The patois got old, very quick. The childish rhyming felt strange when place so near to sexual coupling. It just felt weird, as if puppets were having a sex education discussion with an ongoing demonstration. In places, it just felt a little creepy-creepy dirty-sneaky. I also feel the storytelling would have benefitted with some non-patois segments, or just something to break up its relentless monotony. The result of only employing local dialect is that exposition/description is reduced to unfamiliar forms of expression that fail to yield a smooth reading experience. Lastly, the plot mirrors Watership Down and Lord of the Flies too close for comfort. If you add the local-lingo and odd beasty theme of Miéville's Railsea, Dark Eden loses all of its alien faraway feel. This doesn't mean the book is bad, it just suggests a lack of originality.The audiobook is narrated by Matthew Frow, Jayne Entwistle, Ione Butler, Robert Hook, Heather Wilds, Nicholas Guy Smith, Hannah Curtis, and Bruce Mann. I enjoyed the various narrators, each reading a different character. All readers have a heavy English/UK accent, but it still works, most of the time. I usually don't care much for multiple narrators, but this production does a nice job.In the end, Chris Beckett is a good writer, and Dark Eden is an okay read.

  • Silea
    2019-04-19 21:45

    This read like it was written for children about children, except for the sex and stillborn babies.In a world without a sun in the sky, i understand keeping time in 'wombtimes' instead of years, counting 'wakings' instead of days, but why on earth was it 'slip' instead of 'sex'? Why did they apparently lose the word 'very' and have to make do with repetition, calling things 'old old' or 'quiet quiet'? I get that the hum of the forest is the background to their lives, but describing it with repeated onomatopoeia makes it sound like a children's book. "The cow says 'moo moo', the trees say 'hmmph hmmph hmmph'."I also have trouble believing that, in 200 'wombtimes', John was the first to ever wonder what was outside the circle. And that a Family all descended from two people could have one clan that's dark-skinned while all the rest are fair-skinned.The author made a relatively complex world, but filled it with boring people, and the Point Of View tosses randomly between them. I was fundamentally uncomfortable reading this book because the characters all seem like children except that they have sex all the time. It reminded me of the scene in Brave New World, with the sexually active children, that was designed to make readers squeamish. Having read the spoilers in some other reviews, i'm confident i would not like the book any more in the latter two thirds than i did in the first third.

  • Kathy
    2019-04-21 01:33

    Lately I have purchased a few books that have won awards and the blurbs are filled with promise of great writing and world building. Lately, for me, I am finding it hard to believe. My most recent disappointment is Dark Eden. From page one in the book, I felt like I randomly opened it in the middle. The dialogue is ridiculous. The book is "bad bad and it is "silly" silly. Right, somewhere along the line, the word "very" has disappeared. But no worries, the Earth people have a Rayed Yo and they will come back in their Landing Veekle. And there is a lot of "slipping" going on here (sex). Obviously inbreeding due to all the physical abnormalities (hair lips and whatnot). I can't even say how VERY awful this book is and I have no clue how it won awards and got such high praise. Sometimes I just won't leave a review for such an awful book, especially those I return (including this one). I will take the $4.00 loss on postage just to get it out of my house. Skip Dark Eden.

  • fromcouchtomoon
    2019-03-27 02:53

    The third SF novel from the UK I've read in the past 12 months that focuses on a setting of perpetual night, but this sensawunda locale hooked me for the whole novel. Well-written, well-drawn, with gender- and religion-politics that hit close to home at times, naive at other times. Great examination of ambition and the arrogance of leadership, particularly with regard to colonialism, and a youthful sociopathy that reminds me of Pangborn's Davy.

  • Mona
    2019-04-15 00:33

    Rating and review to follow.

  • Liviu
    2019-04-12 20:32

    A few points as i plan to have a full rv soonI finished Dark Eden (the novel I mean as I read the story with same name a while ago) and I quite liked it, though it is ultimately a bit limited as sfnal scope.As story goes, it is not unlike the Eden (!) series of H. Harrison (or your favorite early/proto human stuff, lots out there both sfnal like the Harrison series or even Helliconia in some ways for that matter, but lots just pre-historical fiction like say the Auel stuff) but on a planet in intergalactic space, with no sun but life, atmosphere and heat coming from underground volcanic activity; very well written and if you have not read its story before, it will probably impress you more but as mentioned I've read it quite a few times; still I enjoyed it and would be happy with more Eden adventures as there is a lot of scope for such and even for more sfnality if a more advanced society is built; highly recommended, though its limited scope will probably keep it out of my top 25 for this year FBC Rv:INTRODUCTION: I heard of Chris Beckett's work when The Turing Test collection won the prestigious Edge Hill Short Story prize in 2009. I immediately bought a copy of the collection and I read a few of the stories there. I generally enjoyed them and I plan to read all of them as time goes by, but they seem to work only in smaller doses for me maybe because they are quite concentrated.However his previous two novels, Holy Machine and Marcher never really tempted me, so when Dark Eden was announced with the blurb below I was not sure either. Remembering vaguely that I read a story with the same title in The Turing Test, I checked the collection and sure enough the story Dark Eden is in there and it is precisely the tale of Angela and Tommy told through their two quite distinct voices in alternating parts. As I quite liked it and some reviews showering great praise on the novel appeared too, I decided to buy a copy for myself and try it immediately."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...."OVERVIEW/ANALYSIS: In talking about Dark Eden, there are two different aspects that need to be considered, namely literary quality and sfnal scope. In short, Dark Eden is superb as a literary novel but something I've seen many times before as sf or (pre) historical fiction and not only that, but its scope is very limited since there is only so much you can do with a primitive society as sense of wonder and big picture - in other words the attributes that define high class sf - go.After all, you are given a small grouping of people - no advanced tech to sustain too many or too hostile an environment and the tech base of the society is not able to tame said environment - relatively rigid rules which where justified once upon a time when survival was the first imperative, rules that lead to what the current younger generation perceive as stagnation, and the maverick hero/heroine who is set to change all that and in doing so breaks the social compact for better or for worse.This is the sfnal structure of Dark Eden too and as mentioned I've read this so many times that in terms of the big picture there is not much to surprise and there is a clear logic of events that you can already guess from the blurb. The specific world building - planet in intergalactic space, with no sun but life, atmosphere and heat coming from underground volcanic activity - is interesting though and there is a lot of potential for complexity if the author chooses to develop this universe more.If sfnally the novel is just good due to its limited scope, literary Dark Eden is superb. Its structure alternates narration mostly from John Redlantern and his girlfriend Tina Spiketree - they have 21 and respectively 16 of the 46 total chapters - with a few other characters with their own distinctive voices presenting their take on events at various points.The rules and habits of the Eden society, their way of life, rituals, food gathering and hunting, mating, division into "normal" humans and the disfigured ones - as expected the descent of all 532 humans which live in Eden at the start of the book from Angela and Tommy has quite a few genetic negatives - are slowly revealed and the author balances action with world building and back story perfectly.The transitions between chapters are very smooth and all characters that narrate even for only a chapter come alive. Of course as they have the bulk of the story John and Tina are the most nuanced and developed of all and we see their growth from a wondering but confused boy who is well liked by most women in the colony to a mature and determined leader in John's case:"And in the back of my mind a little thought came to me that there were other worlds we could reach that weren’t hidden away in Starry Swirl, or through Hole-in-Sky, but here on ground, in Eden. They were the places where the woollybucks went, the places they came from."and from a young girl who cherishes her "desirability" by men but does not really question her society and its way of life to one who discovers the courage to confront the "public opinion" and follow John in looking for a better life:"John was interesting. I mean he looked nice, and I fancied him in that way, but what fascinated me most was the way he behaved. All that hunting trip he was trying to be different, trying not to be the same as all the other newhair guys. He went right up that icy ridge. He annoyed Old Roger and David by questioning the True Story."So despite that almost everything that happens is predictable as it follows the logic described above, I was still captivated by the novel and turned the pages to see what happens with John, Tina and their growing band of followers.While a standalone novel and with a very good ending that leaves open a lot of possibilities, I wish the author will return to Eden and tell us more about the fascinating human society he created there. Dark Eden is a highly recommended novel of 2012 and excellent literary sf that I can easily see shortlisted for both genre and mainstream prizes that appreciate writing style and "realistic" characters rather than sense of wonder and big picture speculations.

  • Nathan
    2019-04-23 23:50

    Fantasy Review BarnIt is a fine, fine line that sometimes separates those little details that work and those that start to fall apart and take a book with it. Dark Eden is a book that could go wrong in a hurry by relying on some threads that have to be played just right. It is a near future society that lost its access to technology, a sci-fi dystopia if you will. And be honest how many dystopias hold up to a close reading? It also takes modern English and twists it around to fit the people speaking it. Even though I am not a linguist I tend to pay more attention to language in speculative fiction worlds than anyone wants me to and all too often it doesn’t hold up. Both of these aspects had a chance to derail the entire reading experience for me yet I made it through the whole book. A good sign.Dark Eden is a title that can be taken quite literally. The world is a literal Eden, started by only two people stranded only five or so generations back. It is also dark, with no star in the sky the only light is provided by the life on the planet (or whatever this celestial body happens to be); native trees and animals mostly have their own light source (with tree being one of many things with Earth names the founders used them on completely new flora and fauna). Both of these setups are more than background information that sits in the back; they are intrical (it’s a word, a promise) to every portion of the story.For several generations the people of Eden have diversified their genes best they can, scavenged for food, and eeked out an existence as they look to the dark sky for their eventual rescue promised by the founders. Their entire presence is a mistake but with three of the original five heading back to earth it is a given that if they stay close they will be found. Life is getting harder as the population grows and tradition set down by this extended family doesn’t allow for deviation. Finally one young man named John looks at the situation and decides it should change. The valley they live in can’t be everything in the world and if the animals of the land can cross the snowy dark then…And we come back to those little details and how well they work out in this ambitious setup. Language can be a sticking point. I have read some reviews of Dark Eden that take issues with the liberties he takes with English. One on Goodreads specifically (and quite entertainingly) compares the bastardization of certain words to Dolly from the Family Circus comic; childish mishearings that have stuck in the society. And it is true, ‘versary’ instead of anniversary and radio being split into two words seems like a simplistic approach. But in this one man’s opinion it actually works here. We are dealing with a society that come from two people; any lisp, idioms, or misheard phrasing is forever stuck in the groups’ vocabulary without a larger society to correct it.The same can be said about the use of repeating worlds for emphasis (it was cold cold out there). My love of British humor has seeped into my everyday language, which in turn has spread among my social group. I have heard many friends say things like ‘pull the other one it has bells,’ a very non regional cliché. I also am quite proud of how many people I know use ‘snake’ in place of the word steal. So I have no problem with a small society taking on linguistics of a couple of dominating personalities. Something I am known to nitpick over is a strength in my mind; just one more aspect of some pretty unique world building.But another little detail was tougher to swallow. The book seemed to decide on an inevitable move from a fairly female dominated group to a generational shift to patriarchy. The necessity of keeping the gene pool diverse (hairlips and other birth defects already plague the colony) has also let to sexual freedom and is something that has helped women keep an equal footing in this devolving land. But changes that John brings about spark a power grab that seems destined to end with women in a secondary role. Already many women in the society seem content with being regulated to breeding stock; several men in the society seem happy to take what agency they have in their lives away.Details like this aside I don’t hesitate to say I was hooked on this book throughout. Minus the Eden aspect (and various other biblical allusions that the people of the land have played telephone with to almost being unrecognizable) there was almost nothing recognizable about this land. Life coming from the core rather from the sun and light being provided by the native flora and fauna finally clicked in my mind as a deep sea setting on dry land; valleys acting in the same role as vents in the sea by providing heat and focal points for life. And while I hesitate to call most (if any) characters likable they are still fairly compelling.Mother of Eden is out soon, if not all ready. Peeking ahead it looks like it skips two hundred years in the future of this land. I am going to move it to my must read pile.4 StarsCopy for review provided by publisher.

  • Ryan Michael
    2019-04-19 20:51

    I don’t know if I believe in karma. The mystery surrounding it breaks the argument into believes and non believes, just like anything else in the same category of beliefs. Does karma really exist, or is it just a figment of the imaginations of the hominid species that attempts to put us in a different column than the rest of those who have inhabited this planet in history? I really don’t know. I lean towards the latter, but there is something to be said for one’s preference to curtain things. We can love a food based on what we grew up on (though I am an avid organic and natural foods advocate and consumer, I still love Cracklin’ Oat Bran cereal because it reminds me of hanging out with my mom after a day at kindergarten). But sometimes I am just drawn to things that end up emitting a certain emotional response from my inside parts. An example of this would be Darren Aronofsky’s film “The Fountain.” By no means is this the greatest movie of all time, or even one of Aronofsky’s best, but shoot if it doesn’t make me cry every since time I watch it (close to twenty views and growing since it was released in 2006). What drew me to it, and continues to draw me to it, is a combination of sci-fi (although very light sci fi) that is beautifully in it’s visuals, as well as a bit of history and a heart-wrenching love story. Since then, anything with those ingredients I typically fall in love with. Another example would be a song by Anohni (formally Antony of Antony and the Johnson’s) called “Manta Ray”, written by both herself and K. Ralph for the documentary “Racing Extinction”. For me, this song (helped slightly by the cover art) conjures the same mental image, or world, as “The Fountain” does. I love this place that these art mediums take me. I don’t know if this comes from something I experienced in a previous life, but if it did, karma does hold a great deal of power. This novel took me to a place just like “The Fountain” and “Manta Ray” have. An alien world unique to any other I have pictured in my mind, with bits of history and love sprinkled throughout. Maybe the story wasn’t as rich as I would have liked, but if you are reading this for the story alone you might want to look into reading something else. That is not to say it has a bad plot by any means, but the questions it raises seem more important. There is psychology all over this thing for sure, and you would expect it given that the story revolves around a group of a little over five hundred humans living on an alien world for 163 years, waiting for Earth to spend back a ship to bring them back to Earth. One of the most prominent examples of this is at the beginning of chapter seven. John Redlantern talks about one of the elders, Old Lucy Lu, telling him about all living things having a shadow that hides away in them. I saw this as a pretty direct nod towards Carl Jung and Jungian theory of the shadow complex. As a bit of a psychology nut, I loved looking out for these things throughout the novel and chewing on them, which again, was emitted by a story (and a world) that is perfect for it. But in the end, the religion in the story is what really got to me. I live in Asheville, North Carolina, which itself is a bit of a liberal island in a conservative ocean. I lean to the liberal side of things usually, but I do find myself surrounded by those who never stop criticizing those who have religion as part of their lives. Look; I am not going to try and argue for those who use religion to hurt or kill other people, or cause destruction in anyway. But, for me, it’s hard to criticize someone for believing in a faith of some sort, when it’s helping them lead a better life and do good, no matter what faith they follow. Even if someone walks up to you and says “God loves you,” I have a hard time seeing that as anything but positive. I might not believe what this person believes in, but the fact they want to bring me into something (in this case, organized religion) that has made their lives that much better, and that they want to share that power with you, I can never fault someone for sharing that (as long as they don’t get too pushy, and we all know how that can be.)The bottom line is (and sorry for taking so long to get there) but this is a great book to read if you want to dive into a pool of thought. There is lots going on in it even when they plot is a litter slower, and probably much more than I had picked up on, but I loved thinking a lot while I read this book. Give it a shot, and do a few brain laps around the track. PS- I hear there is a sequel to this one. Has anyone out there read it and is it worth a shot?

  • Paul
    2019-04-15 23:36

    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.

  • Richard Beddard
    2019-04-27 03:44

    Dark Eden took me to a strange and beautiful world of scalding trees with lantern flowers and cold, cold, darkness witnessed by characters so full-blooded I felt I inhabited them. Separated from the rest of humanity they'd developed a culture, mythology and linguistic ticks that seemed real.Such embellishments could impede a rollicking good story but they didn't. John Redlantern and his small group of followers captivated me as they dared to break away from the suffocating Family and risk war and annihilation to face the unknown. On his website Chris Beckett, the author, has a special message for people who don't like science fiction:"Undoubtedly the conventions of the genre offer lavish opportunities for sheer escapism, and a kind of techno-porn. But what I want you to know is that those same conventions are also powerful tools for writing and thinking about human life and about the world we actually inhabit."Dark Eden made me think about gender, politics and the art of negotiation. I think it's a rare skill to do that in a novel without labouring the point and jolting the reader out of his temporary but new reality.

  • L.E. Fitzpatrick
    2019-04-09 22:55

    At first this book seemed really interesting. The setting was originally. I liked the concept of a world totally in the dark and from that point of view the idea was well thought out.Unfortunately the characters all became quickly annoying. By the end of the book I hated John and the rest of Family were too irritating to warm to.The plot kept promising a unique ending but either someone stole the last few chapters of my book or the whole point of this story was lost somewhere on Snowy Dark.Well written, great ideas but predictable twist and lousy characters just left me in a bad mood by the time I got to the end.

  • Marta
    2019-04-13 23:36

    Po drugiej lekturze - to wciąż jedna z najlepszych pozycji z nurtu socjologicznej sf, jakie znam. Świetny worldbuilding i, hmm, culturebuilding? :D Poza tym, trzeba naprawdę dobrego pióra, by wciągnąć czytelnika w losy głównego bohatera, który jest strasznym bucem. Ach, no i kilka cennych szpileczek wbitych w patriarchat, w konserwatyzm i tych hipokrytów, którzy korzystają ze zdobyczy osób, którymi tak strasznie gardzą. Polecam!

  • Paul O'Neill
    2019-04-17 19:39

    Didn't live up to expectations. Interesting world and good use of a new language. It just didn't have any kind of huge revelation that I was hoping for which would've made this book a 4, or even 5 star book. Still pretty entertaining. Unsure if there's enough motivation to read the next book.

  • DJ
    2019-04-08 03:40

    4.5/5 Rating Originally posted at https://mylifemybooksmyescape.wordpre...This was an amazing story. Going in, I wasn't sure what to expect. I had read quite a few reviews where they said that this was a very good story, but the language was a major issue (with one stating it was unbearable to read). Then I read others saying there was a whole other level to story, exploring sociological and psychological issues. Now that I think of it, I guess I was expecting this to be good; the real question was just how good.It has been over 150 years since Angela and Tommy were first left on the alien planet Eden waiting for Earth to return to rescue them. They made a circle in the ground with stones to show where Earth would return to, and so they would not stray far. It started with the two of them alone, but now both have long died, and their children, and children's children, and etc. are still waiting in the same spot.The population is growing at an alarming rate, food is running deathly scarce, and they are running out of room in their circle. Yet Family of Eden refuse to leave, adapt, or change any of their ways.One young boy, John Redlantern, see the flaws and dangers of their thinkings and tries to warm them off it, but the Council will not hear of it, and are convinced he is trying to destroy Family. Because they will not listen, John takes drastic steps, and soon leaves to go into Dark, to explore what else Eden has to offer.This "language barrier" people where having trying to read this - I didn't see it. It was very evident what people were claiming the issue was, but it was not a distraction at all, and by no-means was it unreadable. Instead of saying "very cold", they will "cold cold". Or because they don't know how to spell some words, "radio" will come out as "Rayed Yo".They story is told through multiple POV's using the first person. Beckett could have limited these odd linguistics strictly to the dialog only, but I think that would have lessened their effect. In using them in their thoughts as well, he is stressing in the differences between us (Earth) and the people of Eden, and showing how far removed they actually are from civilization on Earth.At first I was a little confused and in a bit of disbelief that the people of Eden were living like they were. All huddled around a circles of rocks waiting for Earth to return for more than 150 years! (I mean, if you get shipped wrecked on a beach, it makes sense for the first few weeks or months to stay on/near the shore to signal for help. But after a couple of years, or even 150+ years, I think you need to move into the jungle and realize help may not be coming. And if help does come, I think it will look more than just on the sand.) I couldn't tell if it was ignorance or optimism keeping them there. Either way, it didn't matter; they were foolish! But quickly we learn the back story of how the people came to be on Eden and how their Family is currently governed, and it made sense why they thought like they did.In comparison to rest of the people, our main protagonist John Redlatern seems like a rebel anarchists. By our standards, what he suggests seems like less than common sense: moving out of the circle to make room for people; the realization of how quick people multiply and it's effect on the Family; if Earth comes, they will search more than just the circle; maybe try exploring more than two feet for more/different food sources. Make sense to us, but from hearing the Council and people of the Family, you'd have thought John was speaking blasphemy!This constant struggle between John and the rest of the Family is where the novel shines. John makes suggestions, with logical and rational reasons, trying to help Family, but Council is too afraid to listen to John, and to change their ways. They are convinced that he is trying to break up Family and do them harm. This is where the sociological aspects - particularly evolution of society - of the story come in, and there is too much for me to point out or talk about for merely a book review, but it is there, and impressive.I have already mentioned that the narrative style is told in first person. It is mainly John and his lady-friend Tina Spike Tree (our supporting protagonist?) that we have POVs for, but there are also a few other characters thrown in here or there for a different perspective when certain events call for it. Again, choosing to use first-person was an excellent choice. Becket is able to change the voice in character's mind so well, and it was crucial to story that we were able to see what they were thinking, and how they were feeling. John is 100% for change, and while Tina does supporting him, it's more like a 50/50 thing. She agrees with John ideas, but is not necessarily as eager or forceful to get them going. With John, Tina, and the occasional side character POV, we as readers are able to get an excellent feel of how various groups are feeling about the situation.I highly recommend this! The linguistic choice really isn't a big issue, and I haven't mentioned this yet, but Beckett's writing was smooth and easy to read. Even if you aren't invested in further exploring the issues presented, the story is still great and seeing how the characters deal with events will keep this book in your hands. (Actually, at times I had to put the book down, because I was so invested in the characters and was afraid of what might happen to them!).You're missing out if you haven't read this.4.5/5 Rating-DJ

  • Dan
    2019-04-20 03:34

    Now that I've finished this it is clear why it received an Arthur C. Clarke Award last year. The premise of a human colony on an alien world is by no means anything new but it is the little extra bits that make it special. For one thing, as you can kind of get from the title, this planet has no sun and the residents rely on the natural lights on the trees and animals in order to survive. The colony was also not intentional, by just one man and a woman who are marooned there. Five generations later and their ancestors are still waiting for Earth to come and find them. Rarely does a book which contains a great sci-fi idea actually have a good story to go with it. This book is an exception to the rule as it sees teenager John rip life Family life apart as he is determined to go and do something rather than sit around and wait for humans from Earth to arrive. Inevitably some people agree and other don't, which causes great friction. Soon John and a small group of friends go to explore Eden, but what will they find?Two well known books come to mind for me to compare this to. One is the Old Testament of the bible- I'm not a religious man but even I can see that a place called Eden where all humans originate from one couple has biblical similarities. Another is Lord of the Flies, with the idea that when a group of humans are moved away from civilisation they will pretty much forget how to be civilised. It takes a few generations here but essentially that happens. Another good thing about the book is that it features an alternate version of English. It's not overly complicated or hard to comprehend like A Clockwork Orange, but it is pretty clever. Over five generations it is inevitable that the language will change. Long words from Earth are confused and some actions like sex and killing are given new terms. The best thing is the adjectives, the way words like very are no longer needed in this system because the stronger the adjective the more times it appears and the stress varies, like "dark dark". This language works really well in the context of the book and in all honesty I would happily adapt the adjective system in real life.There are plenty of other good things to mention too. There is some great world-building with some good descriptions that aren't too lengthy or poetic yet give you a clear picture in your head. This includes some great creatures, some of them barely making more than a cameo appearance. And then there's the fact that the characters are well-developed, even most of the minor ones. Plus the story-telling is really good, the words flow in a way only an excellent author can achieve. All in all, a fabulous book. It's doesn't go with the modern trend of having to be over-complicated to be good. It's pretty simple and all the better for it. Very few faults, a great read for any sci-fi fan.

  • Simon
    2019-04-09 19:45

    An unwilling couple are stranded on a strange, distant planet while the others attempt to get back to earth leaving only a promise that they will send help. This story starts around a century and a half later and their descendants now number over five hundred, most of which are beset with deformities arising from their incestuous ancestry. They have formed an inward looking, insular society that does nothing but try to survive, clustered around their circle of stones, their one hope that help will eventually arrive from earth and whisk them all away. But there is now one who is not content to carry on living this way, determined to shake things up but will he be their saviour or merely tear them apart?An interesting premise and an easy going prose style made this a pleasure to read. The world on which they are stranded on, and wildlife that inhabit it, is evocatively described bringing it effortlessly to life.Biblical parallels abound, some more explicit than others. The tensions that arise between the young and old, between conservatives and progressives, are played out. The hearts of those who lead are examined, to what extent are they guided by the common good or merely power and glory?But for the sexually explicit content (reflecting the family's relaxed attitude towards promiscuity) I thought that this felt like a "young-adult" novel because of somewhat heavy handed way the author went about making his point and general hand holding of the reader throughout. But besides that I thought it was a very good, if not overly original, story.

  • MillánXVII
    2019-04-02 19:35

    Uno de los mejores libros de Ciencia Ficción en lo que llevamos de siglo. Así de simple.La historia es la de siempre: el adolescente que no encaja en la sociedad y que lidera una rebelión. En este caso es en un mundo fantástico muy bien pensado y en el que entramos sin descripciones (lo que agradezco), sólo mediante lo que los personajes hacen y nuestra imaginación nos dicta. Una sociedad joven y nueva, fruto de un desembarco inesperado en un nuevo mundo, pero corrompida por los defectos clásicos de las sociedades humanas: poder y misticismo, dos temas que el autor trata con inteligencia pero sin resultar pesado. Y creo que es precisamente ese el acierto del libro: es mucho más profundo de lo que parece en un principio. Y digo profundo de verdad, no como las típicas novelas adolescentes que tan de moda están últimamente. De hecho esta es una novela ideal para quinceañeros, pues además de acción y rebelión adolescente hay sexo e intriga.Como guinda, el primoroso uso del lenguaje, como guiño y reto al lector..Muy recomendable.

  • Tom Tresansky
    2019-04-18 21:55

    Truly fantastic book about the power of stories, tradition, the fragility of society, a fall from grace and the burdens and dangers of leadership disguised as an adventure story. Reads like a Heinlein juvenile that somehow discovered a profound talent for introspection. Would make a great YA novel, provided it had less of an ick factor. Loved the characters, thought the structure of 2 primary, alternating viewpoints with plenty of opportunities to see through the eyes of the supporting cast was well worked. The simple language and concepts were well done, too, though occasionally a suspect word (for instance, garbage) made me think: now why would this idea have survived? Really suspected the whole time that the story was going to veer in an entirely different direction, and it consistently surprised me. Needed a stronger ending, unless this is meant as book one in a series, ending in mid-scene is a weak gimmick. Will certainly be reading more Beckett.

  • James
    2019-04-11 20:43

    A 500+ member Family is stuck on a permanently dark planet, amusingly named Eden. Descended from two - Angela and Tommy - members of the original crew of the ship Defiant this is a strange collective. Split into a number of sub-groups, the society of both strongly matriarchal and gerontocratic in-bred family units is a hunter-gatherer society operating in an environment of decreasing resource availability while waiting for Earth to come and rescue them. Into this stagnant collective is thrown a couple of teenagers - led by John Redlantern - who start to think for themselves and question the group's assumptions.The world building going on here is the key to the novel, and it's both amazing and frustrating in not quite equal measures. The mythology of Angela and Tommy is well structured and provides a clear set of controls over the behaviours of the Family members. The regular meetings and their fascination with the mementos not only provides a way for the reader to access the wider Family, but also for us to quickly (well, mostly quickly) be caught up on the history of the Family on Eden. The need for casual promiscuity between groups is also built into the story as a natural way of attempting to break the genetic flaws that are rampant throughout the Family - batfaces and clawfeet are a high percentage of the population suffering from hare-lips and club feet. Secondly, the complete darkness feels initially like an interesting choice and allows Beckett to provide an entire ecosystem of phosphorescent flora and fauna. But, it becomes apparent while reading that the actual purpose of the darkness is just as a device to keep the Family localised - too terrified to spread out into areas that they cannot easily see - and it starts to feel a little too convenient for the narrative. And, finally, the language of Family is another major part of the world building. As you would expect in 160 years, language has degenerated somewhat and words such as anniversary and electricity are simplified down to alternative spellings based on the phonetics of a mostly aural tradition, some words are repeated instead of using intensifiers ('dark dark' rather than very dark). But it seemed as if he was too nervous of making the text 'difficult' to really follow through on this fully. Too many words - like computer - were left totally unchanged, and yet left alongside 'Any Virsay' instead of anniversary - the annual meeting of all family to remind themselves of their history and group identity. Comparing this with the, admittedly challenging but, thorough approach of Will Self in The Book of Dave, where I regularly had to refer to the glossary, it feels like a cop out.Many of the characters lack much dimension - Tina for example - and far too many interesting ideas are woven repeatedly into the story and then left unsatisfying unexplored by the end. But the world building is fascinating, the story is reasonably well paced and the ending - if not perfect - does feel better than it could have been (I was so worried it was all going to be a Truman show). I wavered throughout between a 3 and a 4-star rating, but ultimately the good stuff is good enough to outweigh the niggles and I'm going to be generous.