Dark Eden: A Novel Audible Audiobook – Unabridged
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 women made boats that could cross the stars. These ships brought us here, the Oldest say - and the Family must only wait for the travelers to return.
But young John Redlantern will break the laws of Eden, shatter the Family and change history. He will abandon the old ways, venture into the Dark…and discover the truth about their world.
Already remarkably acclaimed in the UK, Dark Eden is science fiction as literature; part parable, part powerful coming-of-age story, set in a truly original alien world of dark, sinister beauty--rendered in prose that is at once strikingly simple and stunningly inventive.
"John Redlantern" Read by Matthew Frow
"Tina Spiketree" Read by Jayne Entwistle
"Sue Redlantern" Read by Lone Butler
"Gerry Redlantern" Read by Robert Hook
"Gela Brooklyn" Read by Heather Wilds
"Mitch London" Read by Nicholas Guy Smith
"Carolyn Brooklyn" Read by Hannah Curtis
"Jeff Redlantern" Read by Bruce Mann
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|Listening Length||15 hours and 10 minutes|
|Narrator||Matthew Frow, Jayne Entwistle, Ione Butler, Robert Hook, Heather Wilds, Nicholas Guy Smith, Hannah Curtis, Bruce Mann|
|Audible.ca Release Date||April 01 2014|
|Publisher||Random House Audio|
|Best Sellers Rank|| #28,011 in Audible Books & Originals (See Top 100 in Audible Books & Originals) |
#248 in Coming of Age Fiction (Audible Books & Originals)
#1,541 in Literary Fiction (Audible Books & Originals)
#2,133 in Coming of Age Fiction (Books)
Top reviews from Canada
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A runaway ship from Earth crashes on an unknown planet, along with the Orbit Police chasing them. Four men and one woman. Two of the five decide to stay on the planet they've named Eden, while the other three attempt to make it to Earth and send back help.
That was 163 years ago - and they're still waiting. All 532 people. They've lived and waited at the same landing spot, telling tales of the mother and father of their Family, fondling the few relics they have, acting out the past as they know it, and simply surviving. Because they believe that they will be rescued and taken to Earth - they just have to wait.
"We'll make a Circle of Stones here to show where Landing Veekle stood. That ways we'll always remember the place and know to stay here. And we'll tell our children and our children's children , they must always stay here, and wait, and be patient, and one waking Earth will come.'
But young John Redlantern believes there is more to this planet they call Eden, more over the snowy passes, more on the dark side, more than the small same life the Family has been living for so many years, more than waiting.......
Beckett's world building is imaginative. There is no sun on this planet, but the trees themselves provide the light. Alien creatures abound, but with some similarities to ones we know. His descriptions paint a vivid picture of an alien land.
The language initially annoyed me - for emphasis, the inhabitants repeat a word - 'sad sad' or 'pretty pretty'. Some phrases took a bit of deciphering as they are evolved from original Earth words or phrases, such as Lecky-Trikity. But I quickly caught on and was caught up in Beckett's imaginings of a society started from two individuals. Two that really didn't like each other.
What I really wanted to see was what was beyond and over the mountain and after The Dark. What would they find?
Beckett tells his story from the viewpoint of more than just John. There are three young protagonists. John is the driving force behind the changes, but he wasn't my favourite. I found myself much more drawn to gentle Jeff, a young 'clubfoot', who is quiet, thoughtful and inventive. Many other characters, old and young, have a voice and a chapter as well, giving alternative views on the life and times of The Family.
Beckett has created an imaginative tale of 'what if'. I enjoyed the exploration of Eden, the society of The Family and what might be. But I almost wanted to stop reading during the last bit of the book. Dark Eden is also a sad reminder of human nature and that history does indeed repeat itself.
A different read for me - one I enjoyed.
I’ve had a hard time getting into this book because I thought the beginning was really confusing. Actually, Eden was so weird to me with all those lantern trees and six feet creatures that it was difficult for me to imagine them. I had the feeling someone was trying to describe to me Pandora in the movie Avatar without actually having seen the movie. Which is kind of difficult to do. Also, the writing style of the author took some adapting too with all those repeating words, but once you get used to it, it is really enjoyable.
I like the main character, John Redlantern. I think that the fact that he wants to do something nobody on Eden has done before and that he is actually going through with it made him very courageous. But by the end of the story, when I saw that he always wanted to go further and further and that he always wanted more, he started to annoy me quite a bit. It is kind of a down side when you are annoyed by the main character of the book you are reading and that you can’t even stand him anymore. Luckily, the fact that it was changing of point of view at every chapter made it less hard to read.
In conlusion, I think the concept of the book was really original with the humans waiting for Earth to get them back. Most of the other science-fiction books I’ve read were all about how to survive an alien invasion, which can become boring after so many.
The US cover sparked my interest, and the setting of Eden includes flora and fauna of which some is colourful and some lights up. I'm not even kidding when I say that a character, not unlike Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, has a light-up nose that comes in very handy when trekking in the dark. Also, there are trees that provide heat. If anyone's done any digital fan-art for this world I'd love to see it, because it reads as both magical and scientific.
Indeed, the location of Eden is the best part of the novel. Second to that is the "origin" story: How a man and a woman from Earth ended up stranded on this planet. They were never rescued, but their many generations of descendants have maintained hope and faith that one day more people from Earth will show. This origin story is more intriguing than the actual plot of the novel, though.
John Redlantern is exiled, but his friends join him to form a breakaway group. As they journey to find a suitable space to settle, another generation is born, and a fascinating relic from the past is discovered.
There's no getting around it: what began as two people on Eden grew many more generations because of incest. (The sex is often referred to as "slipping", or asked as, "Wanna slide?") And unlike the Foxworth/Dollangangers of Virginia Andrews' novels, the incest in Eden results in birth defects for some, but not all: "Clawfoot" (which I think means club foot) and "batface" (maybe cleft palate). Also, there are developmental challenges. The novel is primarily narrated by John Redlantern and Tina Spiketree, both of fully able body and mind. There is ableism.
I don't really like any of the characters, though their story and group dynamics are interesting. The incest and ableism prevents DARK EDEN from being fully enjoyable, but I plan to read the upcoming sequel/companion, MOTHER OF EDEN.
Top reviews from other countries
However the main character is a boring bit of better-than-thou cardboard.
I did love the world. A dark planet where the only light and heat comes from underneath and up through the trees and plants. The animals were interesting yet very unvaried and similar: 6 arms and big black eyes. Where are the crazy spiders that live within the lava? Or the fireflies as bright as a sun? Or something? It all feels very safe in the alien forest.
The only thing I agree with John on is the want to explore.
Yet just as that might have been coming the book ends with the most unsatisfying ending I've ever read. This book was clearly meant as a taster to see if you want to read the rest of the series. It might have well ended in the middle of a sentence or even in the middle of a word. The story came to such a sudd
It sounds simple but two things that I loved, are the simple tellings of emotion and reason from the main characters' perspective, and the author's willingness to have first person narration in which every character tells us how the world is, and yet we see that every one is wrong, and across all of those we can put together our own truth. And the use of degenerated language to give those voices their own little bit of difference (although sadly this is incredibly erratic, some sections read like they're just any kid on the street in 2020)
In a world where the president of the USA can only manage to add emphasis by saying "bad", "very bad", "very very bad", it seems so much better and more natural to have these backsliding uneducated kids tell us that things are bad bad...
I loved Dark Eden, and I have a feeling I'll return to it over and over for many years.
The characterisation seems to rely on stereotypes, but this could well be deliberate as the focus is on their symbolic value. They see themselves as part of an on-going narrative, occupying roles past down by their ancestors. Thus, the vague division between history and mythology is explored, with a light touch that frequently edges toward the darkly humorous, as with the tale of Hitler verses Jesus and the Juice.
Informed by a view of humanity as the story-telling animal, the main concern here is how identity and community, knowledge and extrapolated visions of the future rely on an essentially mythic understanding. This is a particularly poignant issue in an age of disinformation and revisionist history. But Dark Eden is not an academic thesis. Far from it. Chris Beckett is a masterful and very entertaining author.
Some readers may find the open ending frustrating, or even a flagrant provocation to read the sequel, but even this fits with the story’s parabolic function. In real life there are no endings, or as one character puts it, “We are here. This is really happening.”
This is a well written story, which I just had to finish. The characters were believable and mostly well rounded. The constantly changing first person perspective worked well, particularly early in the book. My only concern is the tribe have it just a bit too easy when it comes to survival against the innumerable creatures in this world. There are no deadly fauna for instance. The examination of human behaviour works really well as the tribe deals with it's own disruptive influences.
I was so captivated I have now bought the remaining books in the trilogy.
This is a book full of clever ideas. The society that has been created seems believable based on the history and the way that communities work. Eventually, however, someone is going to challenge the norms and mythology and in this story John Redlantern raises together a group of young people who are prepared to travel away from the existing habitation and look to do something new. In doing so, they challenge many ideas of what is acceptable and other factions arise and challenge them.
I thought that the set up was good and I accepted that this is a possible society that could have grown up in the circumstances. I thought that the challenges to the community and what happened made sense. I didn't, however, really like John Redlantern or his ethos. I didn't admire his reasoning or some of the ways that he went about things. I did, whoever, like Tina Spikehair whose story is also part of the plot and I sympathised more with her. The fact that I didn't really like John or the way he worked spoiled my total enjoyment of this story but I will be interested to see where the author takes it next.