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Chris Beckett

Chris Beckett was born in Oxford, England in 1955, and now lives in Cambridge, England. He has published three novels – Dark Eden, The Holy Machine and Marcher – and two short story collections: The Turing Test and The Peacock Cloak. He has been publishing short stories in the UK and the US, since 1990. The Turing Test, won the Edge Hill Short Fiction Award in 2009, the UK’s only national prize for single-author short-story collections. Dark Eden won the Arthur C. Clarke award in 2013. More information about his writing can be found at www.chris-beckett.com. Chris Beckett’s background is in social work and he has also written several text books on social work.
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Dark Eden: Lord of the Flies in Space

Dark Eden by Chris Beckett

Chris Beckett’s Dark Eden has a backstory to rival the book of Genesis. Several generations ago, two humans, Tommy and Gela, survived a crash-landing on a planet without a sun. The planet was not devoid of life or light, though; glowing plants and animals survived by feeding off of the planet’s thermal energy. On this new planet, which they called Eden, Tommy and Gela have children, becoming the Adam and Eve of a new race of humans.

Now, generations later, their progeny, several dozen people, many of whom are afflicted with birth defects and called “batfaces” or “clawfeet,” live huddled together in a relatively safe area of Eden, frightened to explore beyond the snowy mountains or deep waters that border their land. A young man, John Redlantern, wants to change that. Defying the orders of the clan’s leader, David, the charismatic John gathers a group of dissenters... Read More

Mother of Eden: Birth pangs of a new human civilization

Mother of Eden by Chris Beckett

Mother of Eden, Chris Beckett’s sequel to Dark Eden, was thoughtful, complicated, and engrossing. Starlight Brooking lives with her people, the almost monastic Kneefolk, on Knee Tree Ground, a secluded island on Eden, a planet dominated by water. The Kneefolk make their living by trading bark boats with a few of the settlements nearby and staying out of the way of either Johnsfolk or Davidfolk, the two dominant, antagonistic human civilizations on Eden (the story of which schism is told in the first book). Kneefolk are peaceful, democratic, and content — all except for Starlight, who is unhappy with the secluded nature of her life. Like many young protagonists at the beginning of their story, she itches for something bigger, feeling as though she is destined for more important things than just endless harvesting of bark and daily meditation o... Read More

Marcher: Possesses bite and purpose

Marcher by Chris Beckett

In 2008, Chris Beckett published the novel Marcher to little acclaim. A later release, Dark Eden (2012) met a much better response (it was nominated for the BSFA and won the Arthur C. Clarke Award), and Beckett decided to thoroughly revise his earlier novel and re-release it. Using his five additional years of experience, he honed in on the story he had wanted to tell and republished Marcher in 2014. With the original version checking in at roughly 300 pages and the revised version 200 pages, it would seem Beckett did more paring-down than anything. Marcher is a dense but brisk read with its finger on the pulse of subject matter rarely seen in SFF.

Social work is perhaps far... Read More