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Literature / Edenborn

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Eighteen years after the students were released from Idlewild Academy, the six survivors have become adults and put down roots in the depopulated world. Three settlements separated by philosophies cooperate to survive the elements and raise the next generation, with Black Ep's resurgence always a possibility. In Europe, Vashti and Champagne raise metahuman children to fight the plague and rekindle Renaissance civilization. In Africa, Isaac focuses on preserving the spirit of humanity and the ancient world. Halloween keeps his own company in North America.

Nick Sagan's Edenborn is the 2004 sequel to Idlewild. It was followed by Everfree. As with the first volume in the series, spoilers abound below.

This work provides examples of:

  • Abduction Is Love: Deuce to Penny. Lucky for him she's absolutely into it, partly because he's been leaving gifts for her in IVR.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Halloween ends his hermitage and there is hope for a cure for Black Ep, which would mean the return of civilization. On the other hand, Pandora is crippled, five of the next generation are dead, and two more are on ice.
  • Body Surf: Dr. Hyoguchi's recorded memories request that he be cloned, then overridden on the clone's brain so he could live again. He wasn't the only one to suggest this.
  • Clones Are People, Too: Deuce. He demonstrates that even when exposed to the exact same childhood experiences, he still reacts differently. The original is surprised but eventually accepts this.
  • Comically Missing the Point: When he travels to Europe to meet his cousins, Deuce is warned to mind fire safety since he's a Pyromaniac. Once Deuce starts slinging explosives through the facility, he takes time to stamp out fires.
  • Crapsack World: After Black Ep and twenty years of neglect, the world ain't pretty. Apes as a family have been wiped out and nature is reclaiming civilization.
  • Cyberspace: Immersive Virtual Reality is still up and running, albeit only in Germany and with a heavy hand from Vashti. It's heavily monetized as an incentive for good behavior from her children.
  • Deadly Prank: Hessa's death, as it turns out, was a result of someone switching her lifesaving medication with a laxative as petty vengeance.
  • Designer Babies: The Waterbabies were genetically designed, like their parents, to resist Black Ep. It's implied that Champagne and Vashti are still pulling from various ethnic backgrounds just like the Ten.
  • False Soulmate: Deuce's eventual realization; after he's dedicated a great deal of time to romancing his soulmate, the idea that she is actually a toxic person is shattering.
  • Grand Romantic Gesture: Abused to hell and back by Deuce with IVR gifts and a dramatic swashbuckling rescue. Given his age and background, this was probably his only understanding of romance.
  • The Hermit: Halloween, who has had the entire continent of North America to himself for the past couple decades with occasional visits from Pandora.
  • Hidden Eyes: Deuce, hiding under his mop of hair during his confinement at Vashti's.
  • Hiding Behind Religion: Isaac, practitioner of the Path of Inspiration below.
  • Last Request: Penny to Deuce, but the worst possible one: wouldn't it be romantic if we were the last two people alive because you murdered everyone else?
  • Logical Weakness: The Ten seem to have overcome their allergies from the first book, but the women have determined that pregnancy is impossible due to their antiviral defenses.
  • Medication Tampering: Penny swaps Hessa's meds as a prank with lethal consequences.
  • Mondegreen Gag: Penny claims her name was from a Lung Butter lyric "play Penelope", actually "play the melody." It's unclear whether she reached this on her own or if Champagne misinformed her.
  • Parents as People: Most of the parents are too distracted with their own issues to be the caregivers the children probably need.
    • Vashti and Champagne see maintaining humanity as their highest goal. Thus they raise many children but don't spend too much energy on any one of them, which leads to tensions between Penny and her siblings. Vashti spends most of her time researching; Champagne spends hers on studying and composing artwork.
    • Isaac sees the spirituality of humanity as a key component of its revival and does not accept rebellion against his fundamentalist principles. This drives a wedge between him and his teenage son, as well as between his fundamentalist oldest child and the younger siblings.
    • Halloween teaches his son all the skills that Halloween needed to survive. He does not adapt to the circumstances around them, nor does he train Deuce to address novel situations.
  • Path of Inspiration: Isaac is raising his children as religious fundamentalists not because he thinks it's best, but because religious belief is helpful in overwriting their minds with the brain scans of dead scientists.
  • Pride: Penny's defining trait.
  • Pyromaniac: Deuce, but not a malicious one.
  • Rule of Romantic
    • Deuce wooing Penny long-distance.
    • Later, Penny manipulating Deuce.
  • Self-Induced Allergic Reaction: Penny persuades Deuce that she's dying by using strawberry jam to fake an attack of Black Ep.
  • Sliding Scale of Parent-Shaming in Fiction:
    • Type II: Halloween. He gave Deuce too much freedom and not enough judgment or socialization, resulting in two deaths and almost a third.
    • Type III: Champagne and Vashti. Champagne withdraws from childrearing whenever it becomes difficult, and Vashti is amoral and manipulative to further her goals.
  • Spy Satellites: Pandora and Malachi against Halloween, to extend her already-meager contact with the man she loves.
  • Sterility Plague: The antiviral defenses that preserve the women against Black Ep also prevent them from conceiving.
  • Switching P.O.V.: Characters get signature styles in their back-and-forth chapters.
    • Penny's chapters appear as titled journal entries.
    • Haji's chapters are introspective and contain no quotations, instead documenting his reception of dialogue.
    • Deuce's chapters are scattered and frenetic.
  • Token Religious Teammate: Devout Sufi Muslim Isaac, to the Ten.
  • Unreliable Narrator: chapter-specific due to Switching P.O.V..
    • Penny's take on the world is quite slanted toward her own ego.
    • Even Deuce isn't capable of tracking and understanding his own actions.
  • Uterine Replicator: Given the effects of Black Ep defenses, artificial wombs are the only effective method of reproduction.
  • Youth Is Wasted on the Dumb: Deuce and Penny again, who have all the power and potential of teenagers and use it to joyride in advanced military technology.