Dark Eden by Chris Beckett

From Goodreads:

“On the alien, sunless planet they call Eden, the 532 members of the Family shelter beneath the light and warmth of the Forest’s lantern trees. Beyond the Forest lie the mountains of the Snowy Dark and a cold so bitter and a night so profound that no man has ever crossed it.

The Oldest among the Family recount legends of a world where light came from the sky, where men and women made boats that could cross the stars. These ships brought us here, the Oldest say—and the Family must only wait for the travelers to return.

But young John Redlantern will break the laws of Eden, shatter the Family and change history. He will abandon the old ways, venture into the Dark…and discover the truth about their world.”

I’ve really been getting into SF lately and this just furthered my enjoyment. Humans on an alien plant. Fascinating. The way they have evolved is almost backwards. No technology whatsoever and they only have the basic skills to survive. They re-tell stories each year so they don’t forget and yet it’s almost like playing telephone – originals parts get lost or changed. Language is the same way. They repeat some words, like big big, and the names of things get changed as well, Any Virsy = Anniversary. What really went through my mind more than once was Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome. I kept hearing “Walker” in their singsong voices.

Overall, I really liked the story and would recommend it to anyone who is also into SF.

The Martian by Andy Weir

From goodreads:

“Apollo 13 meets Cast Away in this grippingly detailed, brilliantly ingenious man-vs-nature survival thriller, set on the surface of Mars.

Six days ago, astronaut Mark Watney became one of the first men to walk on the surface of Mars. Now, he’s sure he’ll be the first man to die there.

It started with the dust storm that holed his suit and nearly killed him, and that forced his crew to leave him behind, sure he was already dead. Now he’s stranded millions of miles from the nearest human being, with no way to even signal Earth that he’s alive–and even if he could get word out, his food would be gone years before a rescue mission could arrive. Chances are, though, he won’t have time to starve to death. The damaged machinery, unforgiving environment, or plain-old “human error” are much more likely to get him first.

But Mark isn’t ready to give up yet. Drawing on his ingenuity, his engineering skills–and a relentless, dogged refusal to quit–he steadfastly confronts one seemingly insurmountable obstacle after the next. But will his resourcefulness be enough to overcome the impossible odds against him?”

I loved this book so much. It was wonderfully written. Where it could have become very technical, the author made the science and space in general very easy to understand. I could not put this novel down and finished it in record time. By far, my favorite novel of 2014 and I highly recommend it!