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Edenborn Mass Market Paperback – April 1, 2008

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Sagan revisits the future world of his well-received debut, 2003's Idlewild. The narrator of that story, Halloween, is now a minor character; there's a new generation trying to survive after the "Microbial Apocalypse," when the Black Ep virus wiped out all but a handful of humans. Sagan focuses primarily on the younger set, upon whose shoulders the hope of a future rests, telling the story through numerous first-person narrators. An early chapter from the POV of Malachi, the "right-hand machine" of Halloween's contemporary Pandora, succinctly explains the setup and lists the players (readers may find themselves frequently returning to it). What's left of the population is divided into two rival colonies. In the north live a group of young "posthumans," biochemically engineered girls who are immune to Black Ep, and their guardians. The liveliest and fiercest of these adolescents is 15-year-old Penny. In the south, there's a religious colony of people drugged to the gills against the virus, one of whom is the philosophical naïf Haji, whose poetic narration makes a nice counterpoint to that of the increasingly angry Penny. Penny, Haji and Pandora provide distinct voices, but other narrators muddy the waters. A killing and the threat of a new plague bubble under the plot's surface but never take center-stage urgency. Sagan's sharp observations and rich imagination entertain, though, and lay a strong groundwork for volume three.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

In the gripping sequel to Idlewild [BKL Je 1 & 15 03], the Black Ep plague has wiped out humankind, with the exception of 10 genetically engineered "posthumans" reared in an Immersive Virtual Reality with computer programs seeing to their every need. Edenborn opens 37 years after the catastrophe. Six of the original 10 are still alive, but "only four remain committed to repopulating the Earth." Vashti and Champagne are in Germany with their nine "offspring" posthumans, biochemically and genetically optimized to defeat Black Ep. Isaac and his five creations, humans who ward off the plague they carry with constant medication, live in Egypt. Pandora, aided by the computer program Malachi, maintains the IVR and plays intermediary between the German and Egyptian camps. The story's heart lies in the complexity of the characters' psyches, motivations, and relationships, which propel the action and augment the overriding sense of desperation. It's complicated, but enthusiasts for Idlewild will be intrigued and look forward to another book, for where the overall plot is heading is anybody's guess. Sally Estes
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Roc (April 1, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0451462130
  • ISBN-13: 978-0451462138
  • Product Dimensions: 4.3 x 0.9 x 6.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #164,852 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

At age six, Nick Sagan's greeting, "Hello from the children of planet Earth," was recorded and placed aboard NASA's Voyager spacecraft. Launched with a selection of terrestrial greetings, sights, sounds and music, Voyager has since left the solar system; it is now the most distant human-made object in the universe.

The son of astronomer Carl Sagan and artist/writer Linda Salzman, Nick was born in Boston, but grew up in Ithaca and Los Angeles. Frustrated with his junior high and high school experience, he spent his teenage years operating The Freehold, an electronic bulletin board system dedicated to role-playing games. By the mid-eighties, The Freehold had become the largest game-related BBS in Los Angeles, though this success came at the expense of Nick's grades--the time he could have spent studying, he wrote online fantasy and science fiction instead. Inspired to become a filmmaker by Patrick McGoohan's subversive and surreal television series, "The Prisoner," Nick dropped out, took his high school proficiency exam, and enrolled in Santa Monica College. Finally able to study the subjects that interested him, his grades improved dramatically, allowing him to transfer to UCLA's school of Film and Television. Before graduating summa cum laude, Nick wrote a script that the screenwriting chairman, Richard Walter, liked enough to send on to an agent. Within days, a production company optioned that screenplay and hired Nick to adapt Orson Scott Card's classic science fiction novel, Ender's Game.

Since then Nick Sagan has been steadily writing for Hollywood, crafting screenplays, teleplays, animation episodes and computer games. He has worked for a variety of studios and production companies, including Paramount, Warner Brothers, New Line, Universal, Disney, actor/producer Tom Cruise, and directors David Fincher and Martin Scorsese. Nick co-wrote the award-winning computer adventure game, Zork Nemesis: The Forbidden Lands, a story of alchemy, obsession and revenge. His film credits include adaptations of Ursula K. LeGuin's A Wizard of Earthsea, Pierre Ouelette's The Deus Machine, and Charles Pellegrino's Dust. His television credits include two episodes of "Star Trek: The Next Generation" and five episodes of "Star Trek: Voyager," where he worked as a story editor in 1999. At the turn of the millennium, astronaut Sally Ride recruited him to work for SPACE.com as Executive Producer of Entertainment & Games. During his tenure there, the spark for Idlewild came to Nick--but unsure whether to write it as a screenplay, a television series or a computer game, he chose instead to write it as a novel, and sold it to Penguin Putnam in 2002.

Idlewild went on to win a starred review from Kirkus, endorsements from acclaimed writers Neil Gaiman and Stephen Baxter, a Book Sense 76 pick, and selection from both Borders and Barnes & Noble as one of the best science fiction/fantasy novels of the year. His second book, Edenborn, hailed by SFX Magazine as "one of the best post-apocalyptic novels you will ever read," is now available in stores. The third book in the series, Everfree, will hit stands on May 18th, 2006.

Nick is married to his high school sweetheart, and spends most of his time in upstate New York.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

14 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Harriet Klausner #1 HALL OF FAME on August 20, 2004
Format: Hardcover
Humanity and the other primates are on the verge of extinction. The bioengineered weapon Black EP caused the deaths of all the humans on Earth but all was not lost. The scientists of Gedaechthis genetically engineered humans with unbelievable immune systems and since nobody was left alive to care for them they were raised in Immersiveve Virtual Reality. Six of these children survived all carriers of Black EP and all committed to repopulating the earth via clones and artificial wombs.

The next generation of post-humans is getting ready to take their place in society to carry on the work of their parents and try to find a cure for Black Ep. Most of the people alive spend as much time as they can in virtual reality because it is a much better place than the decimated earth. However, some unknown person is tinkering with the VR and letting secrets out that cause divisiveness and leads to that person going on a killing spree aimed at the last of the humans. A new form of Black Ep has surfaced and if a cure is not found, the end of the human race is at hand.

Although Edenborn takes place in an unspecified future, the technology that the book is based on exists today in a more primitive form. One has to admire these people who refuse to let mankind become extinct even though at times they want to give up because they don't see any progress made. Nick Sagan has written a compelling work that will appeal to fans of speculative fiction and apocalyptic thrillers.

Harriet Klausner
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Michael Bond on September 16, 2006
Format: Hardcover
In Idlewild, the first of this 3-part story, we meet the protagonist, Hal, a teen who battles first the computer host of the Matrix-like virtual school he attends and then one of his fellow students who has become homicidal.

Now, 18 years have passed and we meet a second generation of teens, human and post-human clones. While the 1st genners are working to cure the plague, their children seem content to bicker and fight all the time, spoiled no doubt by being the only children on the planet. The story is told from (too) many points of view, with Penny, an angry teen offering the most input. Half way through the book, Hal gets more involverd. I quickly got tired of the bickering among the teenagers.

We see that in this ideal community, this Eden, a place of material plenty and no threats from outsiders, human nature is the serpent, the source of conflict. Anger and violance, jealousy and revenge exact a terrible toll on the group. Is it possible for humankind to survive itself? We're not sure.

Plot issues: The ability to keep things running after so long is never really addressed. Where does power come from? Utilities? Look, I know it is a work of fiction, but these people are making trans-Atlantic flights in jets and helicopters (?) that have sat idle for two decades. I suppose it could be worse. The record for old-equipment-reuse goes to L. Ron Hubbard who have uneducated humans flying jets that had set idle nearly 1000 years. The book never explains that, or how they keep eating from food stores. Other than Spam and Twinkies, what else lasts that long? I suppose that if you can re-animate a frozen person, you can thaw out some broccoli.

I feel like some reviewers are rating these books high because of their admiration for the late father of the author. But these books must stand by themselves. Like the first of this set, Idlewild, I like the idea but the execution could be better.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Bridget A. Whelan on December 3, 2004
Format: Hardcover
Basically, if you liked Sagan's debut novel, Idlewild, you'll love Edenborn, its sequel. The only minor quibble I have about the story is that Halloween plays a much smaller part than he did in the first novel. However, it's clear that Sagan maybe wanted to experiment with the voices of some of the other characters, and it really does work out brilliantly, especially for Pandora, whom I easily identified with (what girl hasn't tried to play it tough and cool on the outside, while all the while she's pining for some guy all her friends tell her isn't worth his weight in pebbles?)

As opposed to the slightly hacked theme of reality vs. illusion (e.g. the Matrix) we saw in Idlewilde, Edenborn deals more with ethics, and whether these people really do have a right to combat Mother Nature and try to repopulate the earth with their genetically engineered "children." But beneath all the philosophical stuff (which isn't heavy-handed; I'm not a sci-fi reader in general) is some really great writing, along with some really identifiable characters.

Definitely recommended.
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Format: Hardcover
To those with an interest in astronomy matters, Nick Sagan has been famous since he was a child; it is his voice, after all, that any alien civilization coming across the Voyager spacecraft in the depths of interstellar space will hear bidding them "Hello from the children of planet Earth." In 2003, Nick emerged fully from the shadow of his illustrious father Carl Sagan (the absolute hero of my youth) with the publication of his first novel. Idlewild consisted of a fascinating story surrounding a group of gifted young people at a very special school. Their education took place in a virtual reality setting, as did their leisure hours during the school year. They could visit any time or place, and instead of dorm rooms they had their own elaborate domains built to suit their tastes. As they neared their eighteenth birthdays, however, the fabric of their virtual reality school began to fray. One student came up missing, and another one, Halloween, lost his memory as a result of an attempt on his own life. As things went from bad to worse, Halloween's desperation to escape led to a revelation that would change him and his fellow students forever. Their entire lives, not just their time at Idlewild, had been lived in virtual reality - in the real world, the Black Ep virus had wiped humanity off the face of the planet, and these special, genetically engineered children represented the last ditch effort of scientists to keep the human race alive. Upon maturity, when the youngsters would learn the truth, it would be up to them to hopefully find a cure for the virus and begin repopulating the earth.

The Idlewild students entered real life prematurely - and reduced in number. Edenborn takes up their story some eighteen years later.
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