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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 members say

Average customer ratings

Overall

  • 4 out of 5 stars
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    33
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Performance

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Story

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • 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.

7 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

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.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

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!

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Dr
  • 15-12-13

Gripping Modern Sci Fi

What made the experience of listening to Dark Eden the most enjoyable?

It's a fresh take on the genre, starting with a previously considered idea of a population abandoned following an exploration from earth but looking at the development in a manner similar to classics like Lord of the Flies

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

Lord of the Flies or Earthsearch

Did the narration match the pace of the story?

Yes, good narration bringing characters to life.

If you made a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

My Lord we're flying in space

Any additional comments?

Chris Beckett is an exciting writer well worth keeping an eye on. I'm looking forward to more.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Ant
  • St Albans, United Kingdom
  • 20-09-13

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.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars

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.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
  • T
  • 02-02-16

A good book, and well prersented

Any additional comments?

This takes a while to get where it is going, but worth a listen to on long dog walks...

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

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.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Prolific reader

Great book. Imaginative blend of Adam and Eve and Lord of the Flies. Creates a world of living things in a world without light, seasons or time. Great story, believable characters who are not overly sentimental.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Compelling characters on a rogue planet

This story has a great stage. A rogue planet: A planet without a sun where the majority of life on the planet has evolved bioluminescence to survive. There are some good compelling character arches and the plot continues to move throughout.

Performances from both narrators are great. Their voices clearly define different characters and have the range from young to old making both sound comfortable. One little thing that did annoy me is that the characters in the book repeat words to emphasise (saying "cold cold" rather than "really cold") and each narrator delivers this in different ways. Would've been nice to have consistency (I prefer the man's delivery) but this is a very little niggle.

A great read (listen).

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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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!

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • 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.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful