Mother Of Eden

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Fur­ther up the gar­den path

Re­lease Date: 4 June

480 pages | Hard­back/ ebook Au­thor: Chris Beck­ett Pub­lisher: Corvus Books

Chris Beck­ett’s 2012

novel Dark Eden su­perbly melded SF into a quasi- mytho­log­i­cal style, fol­low­ing a group of hu­mans ma­rooned on the sun­less planet of Eden ( and win­ning the Arthur C Clarke award in the process). Mother Of Eden picks up the story sev­eral gen­er­a­tions later, as young fish­er­woman Starlight Brook­ing seeks to see more of the planet. She meets Green­stone John­son, son of the leader of New Earth, and agrees to leave her sim­ple ex­is­tence be­hind and go back there with him.

There was a fas­ci­nat­ing am­biva­lence at the heart of Dark Eden re­gard­ing its ego- driven hero, John Red­lantern. This am­biva­lence bears sin­is­ter fruit in Mother Of Eden, in an ex­cel­lent pro­gres­sion of the wider nar­ra­tive. The so­ci­ety John founded in New Earth has be­come feu­dal and pa­tri­ar­chal, with his­tory rewrit­ten to priv­i­lege the role of men. New Earth looks dispir­it­ingly like Old Earth.

The book gets off to an un­cer­tain start: even though Starlight is clearly naive and cu­ri­ous, her de­ci­sion to go to New Earth feels rushed, her ro­mance with Green­stone doesn’t quite con­vince, and the reader is sev­eral steps ahead of her when it turns out that New Earth is not all she’d hoped. But when she catches up, the novel finds its groove and sud­denly it’s ev­ery bit as com­pelling as Dark Eden was, plac­ing its cen­tral char­ac­ter over a trap­door. Eden is build­ing into one of the most vivid and fas­ci­nat­ing places in mod­ern SF. Ed­die Rob­son Check out Chris Beck­ett’s “A Spe­cial Mes­sage To Peo­ple Who Don’t Read SF”: http:// bit. ly/ spe­cialmess

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