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Dark Eden

(Dark Eden #1)

3.77  ·  Rating details ·  6,946 ratings  ·  976 reviews
On the alien, sunless planet they call Eden, the 532 members of the Family shelter beneath the light and warmth of the Forest’s lantern trees. Beyond the Forest lie the 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 the Family recount legends of a world where light came from the sky, where men and
Paperback, 404 pages
Published August 1st 2012 by Corvus (first published January 1st 2012)
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Patti It's deliberate, yes. It's a bit like the double-speak in 1984, though it comes about for a totally different reason. They use phrases like "cold-cold…moreIt's deliberate, yes. It's a bit like the double-speak in 1984, though it comes about for a totally different reason. They use phrases like "cold-cold" instead of saying "frigid" because their vocabulary is limited. This language quirk is just one of the brilliant touches the author gave to show how the people have lost their "earthness," so to speak, after only 167 years or so since the first five arrived on Eden.(less)
Andrew I just read it, and it stands alone just fine. Only found out it was a trilogy just now when I came to add it to my "read" list.…moreI just read it, and it stands alone just fine. Only found out it was a trilogy just now when I came to add it to my "read" list.(less)

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Average rating 3.77  · 
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Once again I'm a confused about what constitutes an award winning Science Fiction novel.

This book?


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 satisf
Mogsy (MMOGC)
5 of 5 bright bright stars at The BiblioSanctum

Something 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 s
Algernon (Darth Anyan)
Sep 24, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2013
The best way I can describe this book is as a cross between Lord of the Flies and Avatar : 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 civilizati ...more
Kevin Kelsey
Apr 16, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-2019
My full review is forthcoming, but in the interim I discuss my thoughts on Dark Eden at length as a guest on the science fiction bookclub podcast Spectology that just went live and is available here. ...more
Jun 24, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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 m ...more
Tyrannosaurus regina
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 ...more
Cat Evans
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, wit
Apr 27, 2013 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Kend by: Martha
     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
Nick Imrie
A young man in a small and primitive society dreams of something better. He dreams of going where no-one has ever gone before, over the mountains into lands unknown. Against the advice of his elders, he gathers a band of brave young outcasts and ventures into the darkness, with terrible and amazing consequences.
Around this familiar and unoriginal plot-line, Beckett has constructed a very interesting novel.

Our young hero, John Redlantern, lives in a small tribe in a fascinating world. Eden is a p
☼Book her,   Danno☼
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 populati
(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
Apr 09, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: young-sff
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 pat
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 ...more
Lisa Reads & Reviews


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
Feb 03, 2014 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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 w ...more
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 answ
Mar 05, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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. ...more
A few points as i plan to have a full rv soon

I 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 in
Fantasy Review Barn

It 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 spea
Mar 06, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: arc, dnf, vine
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 repea
Richard Beddard
Jun 21, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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 an
Jan 07, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Rating and review to follow.
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
Ryan Michael
Mar 26, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 ...more
May 19, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi
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 lat ...more
Sep 03, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sf
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 wi ...more
May 19, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 ...more
L.E. Fitzpatrick
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.

Ştefan Tiron
Dark Eden - is an apocryphal relict from a planet without a sun, far far away from Earth where a new Genesis has arisen out of a group of cosmic star lost humans - the founder incestuous pair of no-return humans. This is vast & primeval cosmo - ontological experiment, and one can only identify with this shipwrecked humanity that is being shaped both by the luciferian perpetual night of their new home and the imperfect transmission & growth of myths, laws, taboos, customs, namings, traditions der ...more
I am so confused.

Dark Eden is one of the most bizarre books I have ever read (or tried to), and I’m still not entirely sure that I understand what was actually happening. The novel is written in multiple perspectives, but mainly focuses on the main protagonist John. We follow John and various other characters of Family, who live in Eden – a sunless planet with lanterntrees, woollybucks and other oddly named animals, plants and places. Eden, and its 500 odd inhabitants are struggling to find food
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Chris Beckett is a British social worker, university lecturer, and science fiction author.

Beckett 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

Other books in the series

Dark Eden (3 books)
  • Mother of Eden (Dark Eden, #2)
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