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4.4 out of 5 stars
This Other Eden
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
on 30 August 2003
I've just got into Ben Elton novels - I've never been a huge fan of his stand-up, but he's a cracking storyteller.
This Other Eden seems to be his least famous work; ominously, there were no quotes celebrating the book's quality in either this one, or in the Also Available... blurbs in his other novels. Had a picked a duffer? I don't think I did at all.
The plot returns to that familiar stomping ground of Elton's: politics and the environment. They say write about what you know, and Elton certainly does know what he's talking about here. The crux of the story - the end of the world is coming sooner or later, so let's market it... and accelerate it as a by-product. Elton gives us his usual bunch of contrasting characters, and without wanting to spoil anything for you, the least promising of the protaganists had me cheering for him by the end. A masterful emotional journey this one...
It's a little slow to get going, but once the odd murder happened and the conspiracy mushroomed, I found it gripping. The climax - a cinematic showpiece, written so well I could see the camera angles - was magnificent, and even amongst the set pieces, there are so many little knowing observations and concepts I loved, some of them Douglas Adamsesque.
Of the books of his I've read so far, this is the most blatantly SF, but it hasn't really been advertised as such, and maybe that's why no one talks about it much in comparison to Stark or Inconceivable. Ben Elton? He's a comedian, he writes clever political environmental satire, not SF.
So, Science Fiction or clever political environmental satire? The answer's simple. It's both. Fiction IS allowed to be multi-tasking you know. And it's actually really good.
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22 of 24 people found the following review helpful
on 10 August 2002
If you want to laugh at a marketing culture gone mad then Ben Eltons 'This Other Eden' is the book for you. It is set on the eve of global meltdown. The rat race has begun. The world is governed by crude advertising and 'feel good' products such as spray-on condoms, inflatable breasts, virtual reality for the masses and free liposuction with the purchase of twenty donuts or more.
The story follows a group of unlikely heros on their quests to save the planet. A planet that is now frantically buying claustropheres (self-contained, self-supporting environments), for every back yard.
The narrator changes with the characters, beginning with Nathan, an anal, struggling, British scriptwriter. He has come to Los Angeles to pitch an advert for claustropheres to marketing genius, media baron and claustrosphere empire owner, Plastic Tolstoy. "At the age of twelve Plastic Tolstoy made his first million...He wrote to the manufacturers (of cereals), suggesting that they reverse the ratio and market boxes full of snap-together plastic toys with a free corn-flake hidden amongst them. Kids went crazy for it."
Plastic is the story's villain, his main adversary is Jurgen Thor, leader of Natura, a fundamentalist version of Greenpeace.
For the romantics Rosalie Connolly, an Irish Natura terrorist, and Max, a pretentious movie star, provide the love interest.
The frequency of the environmental disasters and the twists and turns along the way make this book hard to put down-how will it all end?
Ben Elton gained notoriety writing for Blackadder and The Young Ones. He always touches on issues that most other comedians shy away from. This book is no exception. As with his other novels he has managed to put forth his opinions in a highly enjoyable and light-hearted style. This book has great entertainment value. It can be easily read and provides plenty of laughs.
"Claustropheres: who are you to deny your kids a future?"
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on 22 October 2010
I love Ben Elton's take on life so I bought this knowing that he would have something to say that is relevant to modern society and he would say it in a way that was enjoyable. I was not disappointed. I found it hard to read at first - not the style but the content. It starts with the death of a supertanker grounded on the rocks, killing all the life on land and sea and seemingly unstoppable in its devastation. It was so close to the real thing that is all too common in the world that I felt I didn't want to read any more - this was depressing. But I did read on and glad I did. It becomes a rollicking story about a girl, a guy, an FBI agent (who IS Ben Elton) and the twin forces of capitalism and the green movement. It is pacy, interesting and terrifying because the end of the world as we know it seems inevitable. Read on, though. You will not be disappointed either.
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on 6 January 2011
Another great Ben Elton book! Elton's unique and enthralling writing style creates a funny and vivid story, easy to pick up and hard to put down. As a fan of his books, this text, alongside High Society, stand out as favourites. Set in a future near-apocalyptic earth, the marketing battle over humanity's survival is on. With some of the most unique named characters every created (a male FBI agent called Judy and a media mogul named Plastic), this is a great book if you like your fiction fast, furious and most of all funny. Far from a simple text though, This Other Eden really allows Elton's satirical comic style to come through; some of his creations in his dystopian future world keeping me entertained long after I'd put the text down! Highly recommended!
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11 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on 22 December 2003
This is the 7th book by Elton that I have read and as always, I foud it very entertaining and funny. BUT-compared to all the other books, this was the one that gave me the strongest impression of "déjà-vu". Too similar to Stark. The brave, attractive girl, the vain and halfwitted guy, the war veteran who's completely nuts, the ruthless megatycoon and so on. Somebody dies unexpectedly just as is Stark, and the plot is exactly the same. If you're an inconditional fan as I am, you'll have a lot of fun and will have the impression that Elton has a special gift to describe archetypical characters and still sound sharp and cynical. But if you're not into "more of the same stuff" and haev read Stark, you can be a little brought down with This other Eden. I had a good time, but it didn't thrilled me as much as the other novels by Ben Elton.
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on 31 December 2012
Ben Elton's "This Other Eden" is a terrific read. Funny, thought provoking and a page-turner of epic proportions. This is not Elton's first kick at the End-of-The-World scenario, but this is probably my out-and-out favourite iteration. Plot, characterizations, and humour are all at their prime here.
I will not delve into the storyline, as I am certain many other reviewers have covered the essentials approprietly and because, doing so would deprive future readers of a very worthwhile literary journey.
Suffice it to say, that " This Other Eden" is a very satisfying and worthwhile read.
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on 6 July 2015
This book was lots of fun to read and snicker at, whilst at the same time makes his audience think about how we treat the planet.

Perhaps a nice addition would be suggestions on what we can do to impact the environment less (if I remember correctly, the only thing the book mentions is government's setting pollution laws). But perhaps that was not the point of this book. This information can be found in other books like how bad are bananas, by Mike Berners-lee.
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on 11 October 2014
This idea had so much potential I thought it just had to work, but for me it didn't which was a shame because I've read a lot of Ben Elton's other books and really enjoyed them. There were one or two typical Elton gags, which were almost laugh out loud stuff, but that was about it. Others clearly enjoyed it but I gave up half way through and won't be picking it up again.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon 4 September 2004
I have read quite a few of Ben Eltons books, this by far has been my favourite. I read it on holiday, and could not put it down, so naturally it went everywhere with me, spending countless hours on the beach. This satire on the future is hilarious and shocking at the same time. I dont want to give much away but Ben Elton takes us on another brilliant adventure. Go and buy it!
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9 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on 28 January 2001
Ben Elton is truly talented. He is clever, amusing and conveys his message well because he is entertaining. If you have the slightest fear for our planet earth, read this and you will see that he's not far off the mark. When you've read this, go on to "Blast from the Past" and "Inconceivable". Ben Elton just gets better and better.
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