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Dark Eden Hardcover – 1 Jan 2012

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Corvus (1 Jan. 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1848874634
  • ISBN-13: 978-1848874633
  • Product Dimensions: 15.9 x 3.5 x 24 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (207 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 425,071 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Chris Beckett's third novel Dark Eden (published in 2012), follows two others, The Holy Machine (2010) and Marcher (2009). His short stories have been appearing in print in Britain and the US since 1990, and his short story collection, The Turing Test, won the Edge Hill Short Fiction Award in 2009, in a shortlist including collections by Booker and Whitbread prize-winners, Anne Enright and Ali Smith, a rare instance of a science fiction book winning a non-genre literary award.

More information about his fiction writing can be found at www.chris-beckett.com

Chris Beckett works part-time as a lecturer in social work, and he also writes text books. He tries to use his experience of story telling to make these books readable and lively, and to write in a realistic way about social work as it actually exists.

Product Description


`A classic theme, beautifully told' --Sunday Telegraph

`Brilliantly brought to life by Chris Beckett, a dazzlingly inventive science-fiction writer... superbly well paced and well written, packed with ideas' --A.N Wilson, Reader's Digest

'Human plight and alien planet are both superbly evoked in a captivating and haunting book'
--Daily Mail

About the Author

Chris Beckett is a university lecturer living in Cambridge. He has written over 20 short stories, many of them originally published in Interzone and Asimov's. In 2009 he won the Edge Hill Short Story competition for his collection of stories, The Turing Test.

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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Eljon on 30 Dec. 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
What I love about that book that is so different. No aliens, no big spaceships, no wars, no proud human race. It's just story of forgotten small group of people, on very unusual planet, very dark. The whole story is very well constructed, picture of events is very very convincing, and it is hard to imagining it in other way. Darkness and strange mood of this book swallowed me straight away and kept until last pages. I couldn't get back to myself for a week after this book.
I can recommend it to every fan of S-F that want to try something different.
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24 of 26 people found the following review helpful By Kate TOP 500 REVIEWER on 18 Jan. 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Eden is a planet without a sun. Instead, light is generated by Eden's humming trees and its strange animals. Scratching a living in one small area of the planet is a group of several hundred humans who are descended from two astronauts from Earth who settled on Eden approximately 160 years before. Five astronauts had landed but three left to try to make it back home. The remaining two, Tommy and Angela, stayed behind and in so doing became the mother and father, grandparents and great grandparents of every man, woman and child on Eden. Divided into different family groups, such as the Redlanterns, London and Brooklyn, the people wait for the astronauts to return and take them all back home to Earth. They have little but a shared mythology, a common memory handed down like Chinese whispers, to give them comfort. But as the years go by and no-one from earth has arrived, the youngsters, the New Hairs, led by John Redlantern, decide to turn an existence into a life.

Dark Eden is one of the most extraordinary novels I've read in quite a while. Almost immediately, the powers of Beckett's description and imagination have immersed the reader fully into this eerie, dark world which is both beautiful and menacing. Fierce leopards sing exquisitely before they strike, bats hang from trees with their arms folded, watching, bucks (like cattle) have lanterns growing on their heads. But the humans fare less well. Generations of inbreeding have created people with `batfaces' and `clawfeet'. Many babies die, especially boys. Language has degenerated, adjectives have been lost - now something is `cold cold' or `hot hot' and life centres around the stories told by Eldest about Tommy and Angela, their journey from Earth and the objects they left behind, such as Car, Plane, Rayed Yo and Lecky-trickity.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Jason on 13 Feb. 2012
Format: Hardcover
This is a brilliant story. I won't go over the details, as that has been covered well already.

This is a great comibination of planetary exploration and future primitive on a planet that seems to be travelling in interstellar space outside any solar system. A spaceship crashes on a the world they call Eden, and their descendents stay in the area waiting for Earth to rescue them. Chris Beckett explains how life might survive, and creates a wonderful ecosystem for the humans to explore that is both alien yet believable.

On top of that, the book is an allegory about the introduction of evil in the world (it's called Dark Eden for a reason), and about how change is painful but necessary.

All the characters are strong, and you can understand their point of view even if you do not agree with what they are doing. The main protagonist John Redlantern is a complex and not entirely sympathetic character that shakes up the old system without any clear idea what to replace it with. The only one-note character is the 'baddie', but even here, you can understand how he had become so bitter.

Great book, it's only February but can see this will be one of my favourite reads of 2012
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47 of 52 people found the following review helpful By A. Whitehead TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 6 Jan. 2012
Format: Hardcover
Eden: a world of perpetual darkness, lit by fluorescent vegetation and headed by geothermal trees. Five hundred humans - the Family - live in an isolated valley. They are all descended from the same couple, Tommy and Angela, astronauts stranded on Eden one hundred and sixty years ago. As a result, genetic deformities and aberrations amongst the Family are commonplace. The Family is held together by the dream that one day Earth will send a rescue ship to pick them up and take them home.

For teenage hunter John Redlantern, this dream is a futile delusion. He believes that the Family must branch out to survive, as the valley's food stocks are dwindling. But the only way out of the valley is a dangerous ascent over an unlit, freezing mountain that has killed every person who has tried to climb it. John's determination to escape to a better place splits the Family apart, but how much is John's plan motivated by a desire for humanity to survive on Eden and how much to appease his own ego?

Dark Eden is a dark (thematically and literally) novel that uses an interesting SF concept - a world in perpetual darkness - to explore themes about human society and the impact of ideas, traditions and rituals on a small group of people. Chris Beckett, the author of the excellent Holy Machine, has been noted as an author who fuses SF subject matter and 'literary' ambitions together into something interesting. Whilst hardly new - there's a faint hint of Brian Aldiss or early Ballard to his work - it's something that Beckett does well, creating stories that work from a scientific viewpoint as well as a literary one.

Eden itself, with its luminous trees and vividly nocturnal wildlife, is a fine, stirring creation.
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