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Dark Eden (Unabridged)
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Dark Eden (Unabridged) [Audio Download]

by Chris Beckett (Author), Oliver Hembrough (Narrator), Jessica Martin (Narrator)
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (157 customer reviews)
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Product details

  • Audio Download
  • Listening Length: 13 hours and 20 minutes
  • Program Type: Audiobook
  • Version: Unabridged
  • Publisher: Audible Studios
  • Audible.co.uk Release Date: 14 Jun 2013
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00D5552I2
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (157 customer reviews)
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Product Description

Dark Eden was shortlisted for the BSFA Best Novel award, and was the winner of the 2013 Arthur C. Clarke award.

A marooned outpost of humanity struggles to survive on a startlingly alien world. John Redlantern, one of the 532 degenerating descendants of two marooned space explorers, will break the laws of Eden, shatter the Family, and change history. He will be the first to abandon hope, the first to abandon the old ways, the first to kill another, the first to venture into the Dark, and the first to discover the truth about Eden....

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.

©2013 Chris Beckett; (P)2013 Audible Ltd

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
42 of 46 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Dark, haunting, powerful. 6 Jan 2012
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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19 of 21 people found the following review helpful
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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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars the dark fantastic 13 Feb 2012
By Jason
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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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Old School Classic 3 Jan 2014
By gajabr
If this book had been written in the era of Huxly's Brave New World and Orwell's 1984 I am of no doubt it would be on the reading list of every creative-subject university student looking to broaden and enrich their perspective of humanity. It was however written and published a little over a year ago, and quite deservingly received the Arthur C. Clarke Award of 2013.

I loved this book. It speaks on many levels, addressing uncomfortable subjects like incest, sexism and sexual abuse head on and without reserve. It explores the reversion to tribalism which Golding did so well in Lord of the Flies, and did so on a level equal to Golding.

Jon Redlantern is a character who will always stay with me. In a society descended from one man and one woman alone, neither of which had a particularly large or clean gene pool, genetic disorders are rife. Cleft lips, cleft pallets and "clawfoot" are the most visible of the problems many of the extended family are afflicted with. There is also a rather evident slide on the intelligence scale, making someone of average intellect appear truly brilliant. The state of this society, only some 160 years in the making is shockingly poor. The author achieves a great commentary on his subjects using PoV from a handful of characters, using their own simple vocabulary to effect.

Jon's role is to break the tradition bound simplistic society out of its downward spiral, and in doing so places himself and those who follow him in harms way. Both the ecology of Eden and its human population are as stubborn and alien as each other, and neither will be easy to overcome. And if you have read and enjoyed Huxly, Orwell and Golding, you'll love this book!
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Seems to be a Marmite novel
I read this book on the strength of The Holy Machine and as I enjoyed it so much I decided to return to see how others felt about it. Read more
Published 15 hours ago by Ged
5.0 out of 5 stars a great new author for me
I loved this book. it gripped me from the start. It was science fiction with deep, anthropological undercurrents. Read more
Published 19 hours ago by jennifer gee
1.0 out of 5 stars An Ugly Infantile Novel
The premise is great: some humans living on a dark planet without a star, their only light from geothermal trees, and no idea of the world around them. Read more
Published 19 days ago by Kublai Dom
5.0 out of 5 stars Great for Sci-Fi lovers
I really liked this title. It was an easy read, yet was also thoughtful, dark and insightful.
The characters and mood of the book was consistent and develops well and at a... Read more
Published 1 month ago by P. J. Fleming
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent read, dark eden
This book was innovative, fresh, full of everything a sci do fan hopes for in a book. And if you are that way inclined, there is deep meaning in here. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Lesley Bailey
5.0 out of 5 stars Compelling read
I bought this book, then didn't read it till weeks later, and I had totally forgotten what it was about...

So I went in pretty blind. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Steffers
5.0 out of 5 stars By the end, I wanted more.
(No spoilers).

I found this to be not only a good plot with engaging characters that I found myself genuinely caring about, but it's also beautifully and cleverly... Read more
Published 1 month ago by Mo8ius
5.0 out of 5 stars Random and riveting
The whole story is a bit random but absolutely riveting. The character-specific first-person narrative adds an excellent dimension to the story. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Mr. G. J. Walker
2.0 out of 5 stars I've read better
I liked the scenery and description used in the book, but felt it was too vulgar in places and the ending felt particularly sudden. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Judith Hutchings
4.0 out of 5 stars review for "The Terminus"
Good story, thoroughly enjoyed the descriptive passages. The whole thing came together nicely, I look forward to a sequel!! I do not have any more words
Published 1 month ago by M.J.Sumner
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