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Along with this planet's earlier tales of its history with alien habitation--that'd be Dark Eden of 2012--these are simple stories, told in simple prose slathered with made-up words indiginous to its populations. But do not be decieved: just because we're dealing with elementals here, don't conclude these works are unsubstantial. You are in an author's mind that was educated in Oxford and Cambridge; lectures there now, in fact, plus 10 years of social work under his flack jacket. He's likely influenced by works such as The Odyssey, Beowulf, The Aeneid, Ovid's Metamorphose. You will also likely be reminded of other works with similar constructs, such as Leiber's A Pail of Air, Niven's The Integral Trees, or Vance's Last Castle or Dragon Masters. Notionally, you might combine Auel's Cave Bear Clan with GRR Martin's Thrones as if written by Riddley Walker. When you read the two Eden novels back to back as I suggest, think of the word resonance.

I never reviewed Dark Eden because it fell into my category of amazing-wonderful-and-an-absolute-joy-to-read. I have trouble when it comes to masterpieces. So, this review is not going to be revealing in any way and I'm combining backstories from both novels.

The first thing you need to know about Eden is that it does not orbit a sun, therefore the sky is a "starry swirl"(p.398) on an ink-black background. Certain trees and vegatation gather light through a photo-thermal process from root systems utilizing the molten core of the planet which is quite close to the surface. Water is abundant, along with ice and snow. The Pool is like Earth's oceans except with unusual currents and underflow. An animal population is rarely mentioned except for companion species like six-legged riding beasts called "bucks" and extra-large bats that are quasi-sentient, and, when their wings are removed, are used as dray stock, sledging rock, low-tier slaves. Civilization is at Medieval level, and metal--which is mined from "greenstone" by a settlement called New Earth--is the gold of this loose string of self-maintained villages.

 

 

 

 

 

http://www.locusmag.com/Reviews/2013/07/paul-di-filippo-reviews-chris-beckett/

http://www.locusmag.com/Reviews/2015/05/paul-di-filippo-reviews-chris-beckett-2/

 

 

text only © copyright 08/15/2015 by Larry Crawford

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