Dark Eden audiobook

Dark Eden
Dark Eden
, by Chris Beckett, won this year's Clarke Award, the UK's most prestigious literary prize for science fiction. While it talks about space travel, it is not what would traditionally be perceived as being science-fiction. On the other hand, it addresses common social issues transplanted into an alien environment.

When the story starts out it is hard to exactly place the setting. It clearly isn't Earth, but everyone speaks a stylised English where comparatives are created by repeating the word a number of times, for example, instead of dark, darker, darkest, it would be dark, dark dark, dark dark dark. In this audiobook form it does take a little while to get used to, along with some of the other turns of phrase.

At first the story feels like a young-adult fantasy story set on a dark world that has no sun, and gets its light from plants, but it soon develops into something else, akin to Lord of the Flies in space.

The main protagonist/narrator is John Redlantern, a free-thinking teenager (or new hair as they are known), one of the descendants of two astronauts stranded on the planet they called New Eden. John is vehemently opposed to the status quo and the traditions forced upon him by the elders, and wants to strike out on his own, and his aloof charisma soon attracts a small band of followers, whose voices are added to the narrative.

Because there are only two readers, Oliver Hemborough and Jessica Martin, if you are not paying attention when the character is announced at the beginning of the chapter, it can become a little confusing as to who is talking, as there is not enough differentiation between the characters' voices, and it's not as simple a matter as flipping back a couple of pages to find out.

Apart from bringing up the obvious question of incest in the Bible's Genesis account of the creation of humanity, the story addresses many issues relating to societal behavioural norms, the development of language, traditions and history, and those who are brave enough to question.

Dark Eden is clearly worth a listen, having won the Clarke Award, and is available now from Audible, where you can hear a sample.

You can win a copy of the audiobook, courtesy of Audible, by clicking on the link below.

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