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Mother of Eden (Dark Eden 2) por Chris…
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Mother of Eden (Dark Eden 2) (original 2015; edição 2016)

por Chris Beckett (Autor)

Séries: Eden Trilogy (2)

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18225117,472 (3.57)8
A tale set 150 years after the events of Dark Eden finds the world of John Redlantern and the Family transformed by a thriving civilization that hides underlying evils realized by young Starlight Brooking when she lands at the center of a power struggle. "Civilization has come to the alien, sunless planet its inhabitants call Eden. Just a generation ago, the planet's five hundred inhabitants huddled together in the light and warmth of the forest's lanterntrees, afraid to venture out into the cold darkness around them. Now, humanity has spread across Eden and two kingdoms have emerged. Both are sustained by violence and dominated by men- and both claim to be the favored children of Gela, the woman who came to Eden long ago on a boat that could cross the stars and became the mother of them all. When young Starlight Brooking meets a handsome and powerful man from across Worldpool, she believes he will offer an outlet for her ambition and energy. But she has no inkling that she will become a stand-in for Gela herself and wear Gela's fabled ring on her own finger- or that in this role, powerful and powerless all at once, she will try to change the course of Eden's history."-- back cover… (mais)
Membro:pontheoldenguine
Título:Mother of Eden (Dark Eden 2)
Autores:Chris Beckett (Autor)
Informação:Corvus (2016), Edition: Main, 480 pages
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Mother of Eden por Chris Beckett (2015)

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After the events of Dark Eden, John Redlantern crossed Worldpool to escape David and his men. Generations have passed and the Davidfolk have prospered. There are many settlements now, not just one. Everywhere we look we see the settlers' ingenuity and tenacity: boats, houses, clothes, the beginnings of technology, trade, even a rudimentary currency.

But there is brutality and violence too, the price of all this progress. And John's descendants are back, bringing red metal to trade and the promise of adventure to Starlight Brooking, a young girl who is a restless as John was.

Starlight grew up on Knee Tree Grounds, a quiet backwater inhabited by Jeff's descendants, boat-builders and fisher-people who live communally, much as the original family did. So far, so familiar, but soon we're off, following Starlight across Eden in her quest for excitement. First to Veeklehouse and the Davidfolk, then to New Earth and the Johnfolk there — two cultures shaped by John's actions, still obsessed with the break-up of family and Gela's ring.

Along the way, there is love at first sight, great courage, terrible injustice, deceit and betrayal, mortal danger, a desperate escape, and, finally, a mostly satisfying ending. That might sound like a typical fantasy, but that is not what Beckett is about. He has his sights set on nothing less than exploring human societies and the belief systems that underpin them, how they come into being, how they evolve. If you like thoughtful science fiction, this is the book for you. It isn't always a comfortable ride, and don't expect a happy ending, but it's a rewarding read.


A longer discussion, some spoilers:

This is a book of simple language and profound themes. I like that, it's accessible, and I like this sort of sociological SF. It reminds me of Le Guin, although Beckett isn't quite on her level. His writing doesn't have the same depth; it lacks a certain realism.

As in Dark Eden, Beckett uses multiple first person narrators. That reinforces the 'history is everybody's story' theme, and it fits the oral societies on Eden. It also gives us an honest picture of Starlight. She's smart, beautiful, restless, but also wilful, spoilt and selfish. Flawed but compelling, as John was. There's a note of hindsight throughout too, as if the events happened some time ago and the characters know how things turned out. That allows the characters to make connections and reveal psychological truths that they would ordinarily only realise some time later, after some reflection.

The opening is Beckett at his best: the Kneefolk, their grounds, the fateful conversation that sets events in motion are all vivid and engaging. The characters are well-rounded and believable, even if they have a slight tendency to all sound the same. The descriptions of Eden really shine throughout, particularly New Earth which we see through Starlight and coloured by her sense of wonder. The last third of the book is great too, action-packed and dramatic, a thoroughly entertaining read.

But the middle of the book dragged. The first person narration doesn't work so well once we're in New Earth as Starlight and Greenstone become rather passive and distinctly less likeable. Beckett also seemed reluctant to let readers in on the dangers in New Earth, even when Greenstone is narrating. That's cheating, and it didn't deepen the suspense for me, it weakened it – something exacerbated by that sense of looking back on the past rather than being immersed in the moment. Too many new narrators meant a loss of focus, too. Yes, New Earth is a complicated society and we needed to see all the layers of it, but the more narrators you add, the less space there is to get to know each one, the less rich each account is, the more they work against each other.

New Earth is a plausible society on the whole, but Beckett has packed in so much – political power, industrialisation, feudalism, populism, repression, misogyny – it sometimes felt a tad artificial. Realistically, too much had changed for just four or five generations of isolation. I'd expect more discontent from the small people. Their grandparents were free, would they really accept their enslavement so thoroughly? It was as if they'd thought themselves smaller. It's a shame they're mostly a backdrop, an anonymous mass with no leaders of their own, but Starlight doesn't really interact with them as individuals — and this is Starlight's story despite the multiple narrators, just as Dark Eden was John's.

That doesn't make Beckett wrong about history, though. History really isn't just one person's story, but novels often are, especially SF/F ones.
Motherhood is central to this book. On Eden that's tangled up with Angela's rules, passed down mother to daughter but also taught to sons by the way their mothers act — kids learn an awful lot from adults without a word being said, after all. Those rules encourage kindness, but not all mothers are kind. Starlight is vulnerable to cheering crowds because her mum withheld affection. John created New Earth with all its cruelty and had no mum. Jeff was kind because his mother loved him. We're meant to conclude, as Starlight does, that a loving mother is crucial. I found that simplistic. What about mothers who love too much, or expect their child to complete them? (Is Glitterfish doing that with Mickey?) What about fathers? They don't seem to count. Firehand is a tyrant. Starlight's uncle is loving, but she's dismissive of him.

New Earth is a patriarchy, and inherently misogynistic. The Davidfolk aren't much better. Perhaps as a consequence, there's an undercurrent of contempt for men. Lucy has good reason to hate Dixon, but it's there between Starlight and Greenstone to a lesser extent when she realises he's not who she thought he was. Is this fractious relationship between the sexes inevitable? Could Angela's rules have prevented it if they weren't secret?
Knowledge – losing it, gaining it, keeping it secret — is a big deal on Eden. John obviously thought it was the key to progress, but in creating the Teachers to protect New Earth's store of knowledge he inadvertently created a force for repression and stasis. The library has become almost a religion. Beckett may be inviting comparisons with the Catholic church (just as Jeff's 'we are here' is perhaps Quakerism; Harry's preaching is perhaps Evangelism), but I see a wider truth about human nature that applies equally as well to scientists as it does to priests. Confirmation bias, cognitive dissonance — we're all primed to cling to our core beliefs, be they religious or secular, and we don't unlearn them easily. I think this is because our survival depends on a balance between continuity and change. Although societies have to adapt and grow, they shouldn't change every time the wind does.

The pitfalls of leadership and Angela's warning against charismatic power-hungry men 'who think the story is about them' is still at the heart of this series. That warning always seemed sexist to me. Women can be power-hungry too, and we see some of that in Starlight. Like John, she's impatient, arrogant and visionary. But, like John, once she sees the damage power can do, she gives it up. (Sort of, temporarily. Like John, she can't stop being who she is.) Starlight is a more sympathetic protagonist, though. John was motivated by a thirst for progress: she's motivated by compassion. She feels for the small people, batfaces, cutbats. Growing up on Knee Tree gave her an innate sense of fairness. I like to think of that as Jeff's legacy – quiet, thoughtful Jeff, the patient observer who saw all of Eden's creatures clearly.

As Julie says towards the end of the book, Eden needs both kinds of people, restless leaders and quiet watchers. Perhaps through Starlight, Jeff (and Tina) will have as big an impact on Eden as John has. I hope so.
( )
  Jackdoor | Sep 22, 2018 |
4.5 stars for the sequel to Dark Eden.
The Origins Of The Family..... set to a Sci-Fi beat. ( )
  P1g5purt | Mar 21, 2018 |
This is book two of a trilogy, so you'll really want to start with Dark Eden. What I say applies to both books. It's set on a planet a few generations after people first landed. No technology has survived and so they are living a primitive life, adapting to the strange flora and fauna. It's told from several points of view, which is unusual, but it gives a wide view of the story. There are differing points of view between the conservative and adventurous people, but no sense at all that one side is really good and bad. This book is set a few generations after the last one and the single society has fractured into different communities who are now spread out on the planet. I'm looking forward to reading the third book soon. Chris Beckett is a lecturer in social work, and so I wonder how much of his professional experience has fed into the characters in this book. ( )
  paulmorriss | Dec 23, 2016 |
Esta crítica foi escrita no âmbito dos Primeiros Críticos do LibraryThing.
I received this from LibraryThing as a free advanced copy from the Crown Publishing.

Little did I know that this was the second story in the Eden series, the first of which is called [b:Dark Eden|18166988|Dark Eden|Chris Beckett|https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1379954042s/18166988.jpg|18027968], should someone be so inclined to pick it up. I was lucky, however, in that you really don't miss too much, as far as I can tell, by not reading Dark Eden first, although [a:Chris Beckett|541994|Chris Beckett|https://d.gr-assets.com/authors/1364887263p2/541994.jpg] did win the Arthur C. Clarke Award for it, so I would imagine it's a pretty good read.

That aside, despite not really being a huge fan of science fiction, I rather enjoyed this novel. It took me a few chapters to realize that they weren't chapter names, but character names & the chapter was being written in said character's voice. Having not read any of Beckett's books before, it was something I wasn't expecting, but you pick up on it rather quickly and it was actually quite refreshing to get different perspectives through out the story instead of a general one or even a supreme narrator sort of idea.

As I said previously, you don't really need to read the first in the series to understand what's going on. Something happened to Earth many "hundredwake" ago and a small band escaped and ended up on New Earth, as they call it. There was fighting, people split up and created separate factions that either still hate each other, or have secluded themselves so they don't have to be a part of the fighting.

Well, one of these factions has remained small; Kneetree Grounds is basically a tribe of boat makers. Some of them travel to "Main Ground" to sell their boats at the persuasion of Starlight. She wants a little adventure in her life. The tribe finally decides that it couldn't be all that bad, so a few brave souls join Starlight and her Uncle Dixon. Starlight ends up getting more adventure than she bargained for and leaves with the heir to the leadership role of one of the other factions (known as Johnfolk). She's thrust into this new land and her own sort of leadership role. There's a lot of tension because of it and trouble brews.

I'll leave the rest for y'all to read about. Regardless, the characters are interesting, if a little thick headed and give you a lot to absorb. I would definitely recommend this to non-sci-fy readers who were interested in exploring the genera, but weren't sure where to start ESPECIALLY if you were forced to read [b:Brave New World|5129|Brave New World|Aldous Huxley|https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1327865608s/5129.jpg|3204877] and didn't care for it. This will ease you back into science fiction in a much more palatable way. ( )
  cebellol | May 3, 2016 |
http://nwhyte.livejournal.com/2621178.html

Beckett's setting is the lost tribes of humans on a far distant planet, descendants of a long ago crashed spaceship (whose own bitter story becomes fairly obvious to the reader, though not to the characters). They are in conflict over natural resources, the indigenous aliens, their own history, and the roles of women and men. The details of the plot, on reflection, are actually standard pulp themes; but the way Beckett chooses to tell the story through the voices of the young generation (mostly women) and his undercurrent of revolution (both class and gender) are very subversive of those tropes. The ending is bitter yet hopeful. I really liked this, as I enjoyed its predecessor, and will be agonising over my BSFA vote over the next three weeks. And needless to say, it's in contention for my Hugo nominations as well. ( )
  nwhyte | Apr 17, 2016 |
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A tale set 150 years after the events of Dark Eden finds the world of John Redlantern and the Family transformed by a thriving civilization that hides underlying evils realized by young Starlight Brooking when she lands at the center of a power struggle. "Civilization has come to the alien, sunless planet its inhabitants call Eden. Just a generation ago, the planet's five hundred inhabitants huddled together in the light and warmth of the forest's lanterntrees, afraid to venture out into the cold darkness around them. Now, humanity has spread across Eden and two kingdoms have emerged. Both are sustained by violence and dominated by men- and both claim to be the favored children of Gela, the woman who came to Eden long ago on a boat that could cross the stars and became the mother of them all. When young Starlight Brooking meets a handsome and powerful man from across Worldpool, she believes he will offer an outlet for her ambition and energy. But she has no inkling that she will become a stand-in for Gela herself and wear Gela's fabled ring on her own finger- or that in this role, powerful and powerless all at once, she will try to change the course of Eden's history."-- back cover

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