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Summary

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

Critic reviews

"A classic theme, beautifully told" (Sunday Telegraph)

"Brilliantly brought to life by Chris Beckett, a dazzlingly inventive science-fiction writer... superbly well paced and well written, packed with ideas" (A.N Wilson, Reader's Digest)

"Human plight and alien planet are both superbly evoked in a captivating and haunting book" (Daily Mail)

"Dark Eden is an incredible novel" (SFBooks)

"Dark Eden is stunningly written" (SciFiNow)

"... a strong contender for science-fiction novel of the year...There's no justice if Dark Eden, with its beautiful, terrifying planet, slowly revealed, fails to bring Beckett awards." (Sunday Times)

"... a superior piece of theologically nuanced science fiction... I for one would relish reading a sequel" (Guardian)

What listeners say about Dark Eden

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • M
  • 05-08-15

Everything I look for in Science Fiction

With shades of Lord of the Flies, Animal Farm and Pitch Black. It covers human culture, sexuality and belief systems.

Chris Beckett used his background in social work to create an immensely interesting culture on a totally original sci-fi world.

It's well narrated, well written with a fantastic concept at its heart.

In short, it's everything I look for in science fiction.

12 people found this helpful

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Gripping story set in a beautiful unusual world.

What did you like most about Dark Eden?

On surface level - a thrilling story told in a beautiful and imaginative way. Going deeper, it says so much about life and human character, the structure of society, history... I love a story that makes me think!

What other book might you compare Dark Eden to, and why?

Dark Eden is hard to compare - if you love science fiction, you will find links to so many books, yet nothing quite like it.

Which character – as performed by Oliver Hembrough and Jessica Martin – was your favourite?

I love how all characters are so transcendent - they all change, cross boundaries, rise and fall, play heroes and villains. It so profoundly reflects the nature of being human, the way people never stay the same, they get wiser, make mistakes, become kind, lose hope, ever-changing. A nice change from the flat characters of countless novels.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

I earned a gold all-nighter badge from Audible listening to this! Therefore, you can imagine how hooked I was.

Any additional comments?

Loved it! And don't listen to any comments that complain of the abrupt ending - the ending is perfectly placed and timed. There was no more to tell.

9 people found this helpful

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We really are here


“every one of us In Eden came from the same mother and the same father.”
Dark Eden by: Chris Beckett

The progeny of of a couple stranded on a dark planet, has waited 163 years for rescue.They live in a small valley waiting for rescue from Earth, but now the family is over five hundred humans, some are genetically damaged from the incestual nesesity and life is hard for all and getting harder as the population grows and they resist departing from the place where they began and where they expect to be rescued.

The young are getting restless are are no longer listening. John Redlantern believes change is coming, change is needed but culture and belief oppose it. So the struggle begins, divisions and violations of the sacred, divide the family and new ideas shake the very foundations of Eden.

“To do my job, you had to wear a mask and hide your feelings, you had to choose carefully what you said and what you kept inside. People could see that, and it made them wonder what it was that you were holding back.” Dark Eden by: Chris Beckett

The planet has no sun, all life comes from geothermal processes and Biological thermodynamics, all light on its surface is created by bioluminescence, Full of fascinating details, like language deterioration, beautiful biological creations and cultural dilemmas, that make this a very beautiful trip to an alien environment with very human problems.

Yes it ends abruptly but it is the first part and the writer is not hiding it.

A very good read, that has complex characters and realistic scenarios of survival with minimal technology, and just the memories of a culture as a guidance for life.

8 people found this helpful

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It just ended ..... what?

Would you try another book written by Chris Beckett or narrated by Oliver Hembrough and Jessica Martin ?

I liked the idea and concepts in the book, the narration was good and painted the story well. But as it reached its climax .... it just ended, literally mid sentence. I was so disappointed! I even re-downloaded the chapters to make sure I'd not been mistaken, nope that was it.

It had good promise, but ended up being a waste of time and money. Real Shame.

8 people found this helpful

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Bit boring - decided not to finish

What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

The narration is the star of this book with many different voice actors coming into play but the story was very slow and plodding for me. I got the concepts and the language and could see that it was interesting from a sociological perspective but, the story did not grab me.

What could Chris Beckett have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

Not one for me. Prefer more drama and a bit more interesting page turner - maybe I'm too used to more exciting books.

Did the narration match the pace of the story?

Narration is brilliant

You didn’t love this book--but did it have any redeeming qualities?

If you are interested in the sociological aspects of groups or even are happy to take a stroll in book land this might be the book for you but, it wasn't for me.

7 people found this helpful

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humanity rebooted

What did you like best about this story?

A criminal and the cop that chased him were stranded on a faraway planet; this is the story of their descendants 160 odd years later, still waiting to be rescued. They are essentially living in a stone age matriarchal society until an original thinker is born and begins to rock the boat. I found it utterly fascinating and more than a little disturbing to imagine how a society might be completely different if we had only the vaguest notions of earth history and morals.

6 people found this helpful

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A Dark Ending Indeed

This is a well written story by a talented author - I enjoyed the thoughtfully developed theme. I saw the book was coming to an end and was natually expecting there to be a sequel - but there appears to be no sequel and the book just seemed to stop. I had the feeling that the author just got bored with his work.The official critics out takes appear to suggest the book is excellent and make no mention of the abrupt ending. Perhaps I am so use to SciFi authors writing endless shaggy dog stories volume after volume, that I natuarally expected a follow on. Anyway - enjoyable while it lasted, can do better! Please be a little more friendly to the reader or listener next time. I found the reading to be good, and matched the mood of the story well.

6 people found this helpful

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Very well put together and enjoyable!

Would you consider the audio edition of Dark Eden to be better than the print version?

I think the readers performances added an extra dimension to an already good experience!

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

The story flowed very well and held my interest constantly. Definitely a book I could listen to in one sitting.

Any additional comments?

This story is an excellent example of a well balanced book. It combines an interesting concept and situation in a not to unlikely future with excellent characters, well paced storyline and good plot.
I was very pleasantly surprise with this book!

6 people found this helpful

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sci fi the John Wyndham way

Would you consider the audio edition of Dark Eden to be better than the print version?

N/A

Any additional comments?

when I was a child I read the day of the triffids and the kraken wakes and the ship that sang, they excited me like this excited me.I found the author and emailed him my thanks, he graciously replied. Innovative yet traditional and so very bright

5 people found this helpful

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A differently told tale that held my interest

I found this story to be very much a look at the different characters of people in a group. From that perspective I found it quite interesting. The story itself was a believable mixture of things which happened to give the characters something to react to and things that logically follow from the actions of the characters.

The narrative is from the first person perspective of members of the groups and that really helps with bringing out their inner thoughts. Often the same event is seen from multiple perspectives. I found that this device worked quite well and never felt the need to "get on with the story".
I liked this book in a large part because of it's novelty value, it's always nice to read something a little different if it's well done.
The story is narrated by two people and I found both very easy to listen to.

5 people found this helpful

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  • N
  • 28-10-16

slow start but engaging eventually

Slow start but engaging eventually. at first it seemed like a novel aimed at young adults. it slowly turned into something more engaging. stock at it!

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  • Andrew Pollack
  • 20-06-13

Great character piece, fascinating world, poor end

The book starts a bit slow and it's a very unusual kind of story, but you get into it fairly quickly. The bulk of the book is a great character study, with very real young people in it, but the end fell apart. Even without changing the plot, the end could have been written better.

Much of the subject matter is too adult for the rest of the book. That's not to say it didn't belong there. I think it was well treated and necessary for the story. The problem is that in every other respect it would be a great bit of young adult science fiction -- the adolescent exploration of a new environment, the rebellion against the enforced status quo, etc. are all staples of good YASF; but there's just too much content that I'd say most parents would want to wait for late teens (at least) before being comfortable with the kids getting to deep into.

The story was well read, and the subject matter well treated for all that.