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Dark Eden (2012)

de Chris Beckett

Altres autors: Mira la secció altres autors.

Sèrie: Eden Trilogy (1)

MembresRessenyesPopularitatValoració mitjanaMencions
7067124,741 (3.67)47
A marooned outpost of humanity struggles to survive on a startlingly alien world.
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The book starts slowly which is good as it introduces not just unfamiliar words but a setting that is quite alien in flora, fauna, and understanding of its inhabitants. By the 40% mark I was beginning to tire until BAM! everything started moving quite quickly. The time spent with our core characters in the beginning was a wise investment as it lets the book's action sequences hit more dramatically with a sense of depth behind small actions. Overally this is a really interesting read that meshes some of those feelings I had from Clan of the Cave Bear with those of Lord of the Flies. I will most likely read the other two books in the trilogy. ( )
  jamestomasino | Sep 11, 2021 |
Like a lot of reviewers, I'm not sure how I feel about Dark Eden. It didn't bore me, which is always a good thing - the question is whether the total sum reactions are positive or negative. In the end I came down with "positive".

And if you're wondering how that's possible, allow me to use American Presidential elections as a simile; the overall result will be a landslide, yet every state is too close to call in advance type scenario.

That's how I found DE going through it. I was on the fence for almost every aspect but enough "categories" won out.

The underlying sociological stuff is good, very good. Usually this sort of thing is done poorly in spec fic and the author's efforts do pay off here. There was a genuine organicness to the setting that didn't feel tacked on or papered over, and some interesting insight (imo) into a hypothetical society with almost no patriarchal bias.

The story of Angela Young, the story's "Eve", (including the tribal retellings and re-enactments of her life) are incredibly powerful, despite the fact that she is long since dead and gone.

My main difficulty - and this, I suspect, is where it garners a lot of hate - was the almost physical pain of having to sit through a novel where every POV character is little better than a caveman in terms of narrative capacity. Don't get me wrong, it's immersive and probably well done, not to mention it creates a very distinctive voice. But the temptation to flee into a different book with a more conventional set of characters is pretty strong.

John and Tina are a head and shoulders above the others in terms of readability, almost to the point of dubiety given their upbringing and low level of education, but I can't complain about that too much; I was honestly just relieved to have a more straightforward set of POVs to go through.

This is of course very personal as a bias. Whenever possible I'd rather have a lucid, literate character, however much that constrains the setting or prose (and frankly, it's rare that it does - this is probably an unusual case as a result).

The plot is not remarkable; I would compare it to a coming of age story, in the sense that you already know what the ending is going to be and you're only reading to assess how well the author puts the characters through their paces. The book feels exploratory rather than decisive, which is really not a bad thing.

The final element which tips this to positive for me is a certain insouciant rebellion on my part against this trend of high-action, pretend-to-be-a-thriller madness which is currently gripping modern fiction (even spec fic). I admire a book that is confident and calm and thoughtful, which takes its time rather than dragging you from pillar to post with a series of carefully scripted marketing hooks.

This is a book for advanced or experienced readers of scifi I feel. ( )
  Sunyidean | Sep 7, 2021 |
I am conflicted about the stars. Have another half star but this book was desperately repetitious. And despite a good idea underlying it, the author appears to have no self knowledge. Apart from the lack of social perspective one of the things I disliked most was that the chapters were each voiced by individual characters - and if the chapters had not had headings telling the reader which character was voicing the story - the reader would have had no idea who it was - all the voices sounded the same. ( )
  Ma_Washigeri | Jan 23, 2021 |
There is a lot of this I really liked -- the world, the imagery, the language (seemed much less problematic and more grounded in the story than, for example, [b:The Country of Ice Cream Star|22350219|The Country of Ice Cream Star|Sandra Newman||25591193]. But I started to lose interest about halfway, in part because the resolution (no spoilers) seemed so predictable. The world exploration got a little old (we get it) almost as a way of prolonging the arrival at the conclusion. A novella masquerading as a novel. But certainly worth a read. ( )
  MaximusStripus | Jul 7, 2020 |
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 reduced intelligence.

They inhabit a small valley, and live in hope that the people that left to return to earth and bring help, will return soon. They are in families spread around the valley, but are all closely interacting, including sexually, thereby increasing the problems in the small population. They have a few artifacts that are brought out on the Any Varsiry (anniversary) and passed around for the people to see and touch. The society clings onto the past, maintain rituals and location for the return of the original team members.

Into this comes John. He is a newhair, an adolescent youth aged around 15 years old. He is celebrated when he kills a leopard. But when he starts to see the rituals and ceremonies as flawed and not moving forward and making the most of the planet they are on and questions the reasoning behind what they are doing, he is banished from the family. He knows that there is a way over the Snowy Dark, the name they call the mountains. He is joined but other of a similar age and who also see the need for change. The original family starts to split into fractions as John’s rebellion takes hold.

Beckett has created two things here, a planet that is harsh, alien and unforgiving and a closed and flawed society that has become inward looking and insular. He has developed deviations from the language that are still understandable, and fairly cleverly thought out.

John is the catalyst for change in this society, for good and for bad, and as he moves out of the valley he makes discoveries that change his understanding of the world that they now occupy. The older power structure has crumbled, and there is now a new force that see John as the point for their hate.

I have never read anything by this author before, so was not sure what to expect. It was refreshingly original, cohesive and have a solid plot. I wonder if there is to be a sequel. Will read if there is. ( )
  PDCRead | Apr 6, 2020 |
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Nom de l'autorCàrrecTipus d'autorObra?Estat
Chris Beckettautor primaritotes les edicionscalculat
Brand, ChristopherDissenyador de la cobertaautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
Kuklev, EvgenyAutor de la cobertaautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
Scott, SiAutor de la cobertaautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat

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For my family – Maggie, Poppy, Dom and Nancy – with much love
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Chris Beckett wrote a short story "Dark Eden" that tells the story of Angela and Tommy, the two original founders of the human colony, the Family. This was printed in his anthology The Turing Test. Please do not combine these works if someone catalogs the short story.
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A marooned outpost of humanity struggles to survive on a startlingly alien world.

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