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There's a fascinating sadness about Nick Sagan's EDENBORN.

It builds, page-by-page, into a gut level conviction that all the
hope and potential combined in his futuristic characters will not
be enough to overcome the relentless extinction of humanity. In
fact, we readers may well be traveling the last journey with our
not-so-distant descendants.

Sagan builds on some speculative premises already familiar to
science fiction fans of all periods and persuasions: worldwide
plague wipes out all but a few dozen humans; super-sophisticated
technology allows remaining humans to isolate themselves from
infection; technology combined with old-fashioned human vices
proves an even greater threat to their survival. Will there be
another generation? Will the deadly disease strike again without

Sagan provides much information but deliberately few direct
answers. So if the ending is a drop-kick into almost certain
biological oblivion and the means are well-worn genre cliches, is
there a point to it all? I'm glad to assert there is --- and it's
expressed with a riveting poignancy far beyond most writers of such
recent emergence.

Drawing on the imaginative energy of young minds caught in a
psychological web between real time and virtual existence, Sagan
unfolds EDENBORN as a series of interwoven personal narratives by a
cast of chemically constructed new humans. Nurtured in a utopian
virtual reality "womb" by infertile adults desperate to preserve
the human genome, their children must face the challenge of being
weaned into a devastated planet where humans no longer

Yet each member of Sagan's eccentric, winsome, and fatally flawed
family is drawn with an eloquent devotion and care that raises
EDENBORN far above the usual plague-tale formula. The outcome is a
bittersweet mixture of tragedy and self-discovery that will
resonate with readers of all ages, and leave us all asking better
questions about the future we are making now.

Reviewed by Pauline Finch ( on January 21, 2011

by Nick Sagan

  • Publication Date: August 19, 2004
  • Genres: Fiction, Science Fiction
  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Putnam Adult
  • ISBN-10: 0399151869
  • ISBN-13: 9780399151866