Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Dark Eden (Dark Eden, #1)” as Want to Read:
Dark Eden (Dark Eden, #1)
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Dark Eden (Dark Eden #1)

3.74  ·  Rating details ·  5,470 Ratings  ·  827 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, 441 pages
Published April 1st 2014 by Broadway Books (first published January 1st 2012)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Dark Eden, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
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…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)

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
Rating details
Sort: Default
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
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
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
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
Catherine 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 of a copy.

Pam ☼Because Someone Must Be a Thorn☼ Tee
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
Rebecca Foster
(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
Lisa Reads & Reviews
Jan 10, 2014 rated it really liked it


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
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
Casey Hampton
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
Mar 06, 2014 rated it it was ok
Shelves: arc, vine, dnf
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
Feb 03, 2014 rated it did not like it
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
Mar 05, 2016 rated it really liked it
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.
Jan 07, 2016 rated it liked it
Rating and review to follow.
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
May 13, 2015 rated it really liked it
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
Ryan Michael
Mar 26, 2016 rated it really liked it
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
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
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
L.E. Fitzpatrick
Dec 29, 2013 rated it it was ok
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.

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
Dec 24, 2015 rated it liked it
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.
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
Tiron Stefan
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, tradit ...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
Apr 02, 2016 rated it it was amazing
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 clásico
Tom Tresansky
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
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Coffee Club with ...: Dark Eden 08/25-09/24 17 23 Sep 25, 2014 11:14AM  
Dystopia Land: Dark Eden 2 21 Sep 02, 2014 07:15AM  
Sci-fi and Heroic...: 2013 Arthur C Clarke Award Winner Announced 2 43 May 01, 2013 06:55PM  
  • Intrusion
  • Empty Space (Empty Space Trilogy #3)
  • Jack Glass
  • The Machine
  • In the Mouth of the Whale (The Quiet War, #3)
  • Europe in Autumn
  • Unquenchable Fire (Unquenchable Fire, #1)
  • A Darkling Sea
  • Osama
  • Air
  • Children of Time
  • Song of Time
  • Afterparty
  • God's War (Bel Dame Apocrypha, #1)
  • Wolfhound Century (Wolfhound Century, #1)
  • The Adjacent
  • Love Minus Eighty
  • Take Back Plenty (Tabitha Jute, #1)
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
More about Chris Beckett

Other books in the series

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

Fantasy & Science Fiction Deals

  • Off to Be the Wizard (Magic 2.0, #1)
    $4.99 $1.99
  • Beneath the Shine
    $3.99 $1.99
  • The Stepford Wives
    $9.74 $1.99
  • Time's Divide (The Chronos Files, #3)
    $5.49 $1.99
  • The Long Earth (The Long Earth, #1)
    $5.49 $1.99
  • Gilded (Gilded, #1)
    $3.99 $0.99
  • Infinity Lost (The Infinity Trilogy #1)
    $3.99 $1.99
  • The Man of Legends
    $4.99 $1.99
  • All the Breaking Waves
    $4.99 $1.99
  • Fellside
    $9.99 $2.99
  • The Banished of Muirwood (Covenant of Muirwood, #1)
    $4.99 $1.99
  • Muirwood: The Lost Abbey: The Graphic Novel
    $7.99 $0.99
  • 2061: Odyssey Three (Space Odyssey, #3)
    $8.99 $1.99
  • Alas, Babylon
    $9.74 $1.99
  • 3001: The Final Odyssey (Space Odyssey, #4)
    $8.99 $1.99
  • Fractured (Guards of the Shadowlands, #2)
    $4.99 $0.99
  • The Queen's Poisoner (Kingfountain, #1)
    $4.99 $1.99
  • Zeroes
    $7.99 $1.99
  • Dreams and Shadows (Dreams & Shadows, #1)
    $9.49 $1.99
  • Touch of Eternity (The Curse #1)
    $4.99 $1.99
  • Touch
    $9.99 $2.99
  • Dragon Rider
    $5.99 $1.99
    $4.99 $1.49
  • The Traitor's Kiss (The Traitor's Circle, #1)
    $7.80 $2.99
  • The Void of Muirwood (Covenant of Muirwood, #3)
    $4.99 $1.99
  • Dreadnought (Nemesis, #1)
    $7.99 $1.99
  • Dirty Magic (Prospero's War, #1)
    $8.99 $1.99
  • A Plague of Giants (Seven Kennings, #1)
    $8.99 $1.99
  • The Fire Queen (The Hundredth Queen, #2)
    $4.99 $1.99
  • The Lies of Locke Lamora (Gentleman Bastard, #1)
    $4.99 $1.99
  • Red Knight Falling (Harmony Black, #2)
    $4.99 $1.99
  • Star Wars: Thrawn
    $9.99 $1.99
  • Zoo City
    $9.99 $2.99
  • The Wishing Spell (The Land of Stories, #1)
    $7.99 $1.99
  • Sanctum (Guards of the Shadowlands, #1)
    $3.99 $1.99
  • Unmasked (The Vampire Diaries: The Salvation, #3)
    $3.49 $0.99
  • Afterlife
    $4.99 $1.99
  • Unseen (The Vampire Diaries: The Salvation #1)
    $3.49 $0.99
  • The Dwarves (The Dwarves, #1)
    $9.99 $2.99
  • Dryad-Born (Whispers from Mirrowen, #2)
    $4.99 $1.99
  • The Unbroken Line of the Moon (Sagan om Valhalla #4; Valhalla #1)
    $4.99 $1.99
  • Blackfish City
    $11.99 $2.99
  • Supernatural: Bobby Singer's Guide to Hunting
    $8.49 $1.99
  • Silvern (Gilded #2)
    $3.99 $0.99
  • Some Fine Day
    $3.99 $0.99
  • Random Acts of Senseless Violence
    $15.99 $1.99
  • Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West (Wicked Years, #1)
    $7.99 $1.99
  • Mystic (Mystic, #1)
    $9.99 $2.99
  • The Almost Girl (The Riven Chronicles, #1)
    $9.99 $1.99
  • Spell or High Water (Magic 2.0, #2)
    $4.99 $1.99
  • Uprooted
    $9.99 $2.99
  • Wormhole (The Rho Agenda, #3)
    $4.99 $1.99
  • The Dragons of Nova (Loom Saga, #2)
    $6.99 $1.99
  • The Ciphers of Muirwood (Covenant of Muirwood, #2)
    $4.99 $1.99
  • The Last Adventure of Constance Verity
    $7.99 $1.99
  • The Traveler (Fourth Realm, #1)
    $7.99 $1.99
  • Ancestor
    $9.99 $2.99
  • The Thief's Daughter (Kingfountain, #2)
    $5.99 $1.99
“Nothing looks more lovely than something that’s about to end, and that’s true even if you yourself are going to be the cause of its ending.” 11 likes
“It was one of those moments when you wonder whether there is some kind of big misunderstanding and really this is all just a dream or a made-up story, and not the real world like you thought it was.” 6 likes
More quotes…