Chris Beckett's science fiction novel Dark Eden can be described as an exercise in speculative anthropology.
On a dark planet, warmed only by geothermal energy, the descendants of a pair of stranded human astronauts must reinvent civilization from scratch, guided only by garbled memories of Earth passed down for generations from the original pair of settlers. Recounting a "fall" from a seeming state of nature into a more historical sort of social arrangement through a series of traumatic incidents, the novel echoes a number of foundational Western texts about the origins of human society and civilization – ranging from the Book of Genesis up to Nietzsche's Zur Genealogie der Moral. Steven Shaviro discusses how Beckett "rewrites" these texts, by placing them in a new, fictional context, where everything has to be reinvented.
Moderation: Melanie Sehgal (in English)