‘Dark Eden’ by Chris Beckett

Dark edenIf you read this blog regularly, you’ll know that I’m happy to try most genres. ‘Dark Eden’ got great reviews and it was reduced to 99p on Amazon, so even though it was a bit of a different premise than I usually go for, I thought I’d give it a try. Honestly, though, this went a little bit too far into the realms of science fiction for me. The world building was good but a little too much for me to get my head around.

Essentially, ‘Dark Eden’ is the story of a group of people stranded on a planet far from earth. Set far in the future when space travel is the norm, a rogue ship slips through the cracks and ends up stranded on a planet that’s completely off the grid. This world is completely new – there’s no sun, the light coms from flowers and the heat comes from the trees. Due to the perpetual darkness, there’s no real concept of time, and the people have to come up with their own methods for measuring out their days.

Mimicking biblical origin stories, all of the children born on the planet are descended from one couple, meaning that a lot of the children are born with physical or mental abnormalities. In theory, this was an interesting idea, as it had the potential to raise all sorts of questions about where we get our belief systems, our idea of right and wrong and our social structures. In practice though, I found it weird and I felt a bit uncomfortable reading it.

I hated the language they used, the word ‘slip’ actually still makes me shudder – if you’ve read it, you’ll know what I mean, if not, you don’t want to. I also found it really hard to believe that all of the people on this new world were so completely incapable of imagining anything new or different. Despite the fact that their ancestors were astronauts, they can’t even imagine making or wearing shoes or clothes. It’s like watching evolution go backwards. I found it really hard to see them as anything but bizarre, backwards caricatures.

There’s a sequel coming out, but I won’t be reading it – it just wasn’t for me!


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