Rebecca's Reviews > Dark Eden

Dark Eden by Chris Beckett
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really liked it
bookshelves: science-fiction, greenbelt-big-reads

(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 up within the group, determined to free his people from their limited worldview by demythologizing their foundational story. Through events that mirror many of the accounts in Genesis and Exodus, Beckett provides an intriguing counterpoint to the ways Jews and Christians relate to the biblical narrative.

While echoing environmental dystopias such as Brian Aldiss’s Hothouse or J.G. Ballard’s The Drowned World, Dark Eden is surprisingly thought-provoking on the subject of human knowledge and meaning. It is a perverse parable in which evolution works in reverse and the boundaries between Earth and Paradise are unclear. “I hate Eden, this miserable dark place we’re all trapped in for bloody ever,” one character complains. “We shouldn’t be here, that’s the real problem: it wasn’t the world we were made for. We were meant to live in light.” Are the residents of Eden the innocent beneficiaries of a prelapsarian society, or are they deluded nomads? Is Earth truly the perfect homeland they envision, or do they possess Paradise already?

Sequel: Mother of Eden
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Reading Progress

January 21, 2012 – Started Reading
January 21, 2012 – Shelved
January 27, 2012 – Finished Reading
October 1, 2013 – Shelved as: science-fiction
October 1, 2013 – Shelved as: greenbelt-big-reads

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