Dark Eden : Dark Eden (Beckett)

  • by Chris Beckett
  • Narrated by Matthew Frow, Jayne Entwistle, Ione Butler, Robert Hook, Heather Wilds, Nicholas Guy Smith, Hannah Curtis, Bruce Mann
  • Series: Dark Eden (Beckett)
  • 15 hrs and 10 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

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.
Reader List:
"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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Audible Editor Reviews

Editors Select, May 2014 - It's been a long time since I've been this excited about a new sci-fi novel, and when I heard Chris Beckett’s Dark Eden had already made a splash in the UK – winning the 2013 Arthur C. Clark award for best novel - I knew I had to listen immediately. What I found was a fascinatingly original story set in a very unique world. Dark Eden is a sunless alien planet populated by strange creatures that was reminiscent to me of deep sea Earth. There lives the Family - the hundreds of direct descendants from the first humans to be marooned there ages ago. The Family never leaves their home in the forest, patiently waiting for the day when Earth will return to take them back home - until one day a young boy named John dares to wonder what's beyond the great expanse they call Snowy Dark. One of the most fascinating thing about this novel was Beckett’s use of language: the Family has evolved with an almost exclusively oral history, giving them a unique English dialect. This novel hit on all the aspects I love in a sci-fi story, including a beautifully imagined world, religious undertones, and complex politics. But at its heart this is a character-driven story about self-awareness and evolving as humans – making for a great listen for any fan of great fiction. —Sam, Audible Editor

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What the Critics Say



Winner of the 2013 Arthur C Clarke Award for the Best Science Fiction Novel of the Year

"A linguistic and imaginative tour de force." (The Guardian [UK])
"Captivating and haunting…human plight and alien planet are both superbly evoked." (Daily Mail [UK])
"Captivating and haunting…human plight and alien planet are both superbly evoked." (Daily Mail [UK])

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

A Ripping Yarn

I don’t read a lot of fiction, and I can count the number of science fiction books I’ve read on the fingers of one hand, so I was quite curious to see how much I would enjoy Dark Eden. The answer was ‘a lot’. Forgive me if I don’t know the genre well enough to judge whether this is truly a good example of sci-fi, but I loved it.

The story takes place some time in the not too distant future, when humans are able to travel into distant space, but they still have some familiar old technology such as radio, television, electricity and police vehicles. We only know this secondhand, however, because we are told about this technology by ancestors of 3 earth colonists who crash landed there and then formed a ‘fee-amily’ of about 500 people by interbreeding with each other.

They have heard about radios and television, but never seen them for themselves.
They are very simple souls who live a hunter-gatherer existence living off the exotic flora and fauna of this dark planet. There is no sun, and the only light comes from trees and animals who generate it through their evolved 'lee-anterns’, supplemented by a little bit of starlight and the light from human fires. There is a high incidence of birth deformities in this community, such as hair-lip ('Bat Face') and claw-foot resulting, presumably, from the interbreeding.

They all believe in a kind of creation story about their ancestors, and harbour a quasi- religious belief that earth will one day return to Dark Eden to fetch them back, even though it is about 150 years since their ancestors landed there. In order not to miss being picked up by earthlings, they all feel obliged to stay close to the original landing spot in a crater on the planet’s surface called ‘Circle Vee-ally’, even though the area has been over-hunted and food is growing too scarce to feed the growing Fee-amily.

But there is one character, John Red-Lee-Antern, who is different to all the rest. He doesn’t believe that the Fee-amily is destined to stay in this one small part of the planet waiting to be picked up. He wants to go on a dangerous trip over the top of ‘Snowy Dark’ in search of richer pastures. He has the courage and the vision to explore this unknown terrain, with exciting consequences for the rest of the story.

It is very appealing the way the fee-amily has evolved its own dialect and customs. They have become quite a primitive community, even though they are descended from advanced humans.

The characterisation and dialogue are very convincing and interesting. I found the book compelling from the beginning to the end and will now be keen to give sci-fi another go.
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- Mark

Hope to see a sequel soon

John Redlantern is done with simply waiting. He is one of more than 500 people stuck in a cycle that was intended to be temporary. They are all waiting for rescue, because their parents and grandparents have passed down a plan which was constructed by their ancestors, more than 100 years ago.

Generations ago, 5 earthlings crashed on a strange planet with no sun. Three left, they were to come back with help from earth; Tommy and Angela stayed behind, waiting for their rescue. They become the original parents to a colony of their descendants.

Years of inbreeding, combined with limited knowledge, have addled most of their minds and bodies, but not everyone. John and his friends are forward thinkers. This story is about those who dared to ask what if we are stuck here? Shouldn't we start to live as if we will never be rescued?

Written from several points of view, the story seamlessly allows the reader to understand where the characters stand, and how they developed into their current ways of thinking.

The ending could be final, but it gives hope for sequels!
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- Holly Mo

Book Details

  • Release Date: 04-01-2014
  • Publisher: Random House Audio