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Restored Eden Science Fiction
What is Restored Eden Science Fiction?
Taking place on Earth in a near or far future, Restored Eden Science Fiction depicts an Earth where most of humanity has moved on and the Earth has healed to become a paradise. Humans may have left the planet for the stars, they may have died off because of a disease or because of their own doing, or they may linger beneath the surface. Regardless, a significant portion of the human population no longer resides on Earth and nature finds a way to recuperate.
Other Features of Restored Eden Science Fiction
- Level of Real Science
Low. Most of the time, science isn't an important part of world-building in Restored Eden stories. In fact, science and technology are often depicted as part of the problem, part of what ravaged the Earth.
- Level of Grand Ideas/Social Implications
High. The near-destruction, or perceived destruction, of Earth pushes humanity to make challenging decisions that affect civilization itself—so there are plenty of scientific, philosophical, theological, and ecological ideas to contemplate in a sub-genre that shows the restoration of a damaged home. The fallacy of humanity is a common theme as well as the cost of technological dependence and humanity's relationship with nature.
- Level of Characterization
Variable. There is an opportunity to see well-known characters like Adam, Eve, the Anti-Christ, the professor, the curious explorer, usually reinvented in some way in a story about paradise. There is also the potential to discover new characters—when a character is confronted with something new, when a character experiences life in a new way readers get to know that character in a whole new way, because that character is also rediscovering him or herself.
- Level of Plot Complexity
Moderate. There is adventure in these stories—rediscovering Earth is a challenge and an eye-opening experience that will make for an enjoyable story. However, Restored Eden stories are not fast-paced thrillers, rather they are contemplative.
- Level of Violence
Low. In a strict Restored Eden story there won't be very much violence—it is about paradise on Earth after all.
Related Science Fiction subgenres
Post-Apocalyptic Science Fiction. Restored Eden stories take place after Earth has been made a paradise—but something had to happen to the Earth in order for it to be restored—perhaps the apocalypse?
Cozy Catastrophe Science Fiction. Paradise on Earth, where only a small fraction of humans remain definitely has the potential to be a Cozy Catastrophe story, where the remaining humans create a new civilization.
Religious Science Fiction. A new paradise on Earth, a garden of Eden, definitely has religious ties.
Ecological Science Fiction. There is almost always an environmental lesson to be learned in a Restored Eden story.
Restored Eden Science Fiction isn't for you if...
If you want an action-packed story full of futuristic weapons and scientific exploration. Restored Eden stories offer an interesting look at humanity's relationship with its planet and are far more meditative than thrilling.
- 1 Against the Fall of Night
By Arthur C. Clarke. The Earth is ravaged, but there is an oasis that humans make their home. Two distinct civilizations find each other.
- 2 City
By Clifford Simak. Humans have abandoned the cities, in fear of nuclear holocaust, only to discover they prefer the pastoral life of the countryside.
- 3 Planet of the Apes
By Pierre Boulle. Although this story doesn't take place on Earth, there is a restoration aspect to it. Ape slaves overthrew their human oppressors by killing or evicting them—humans became animalistic and the apes built their own civilization.
- 4 The Books of Ember
By Jeanne DuPrau. The ultimate destination for the main characters, who have been living in an underground city, is a kind of restored eden.
- 5 Outside
By Andre Norton. In this novella humanity has sealed itself inside domed cities after Earth became inhospitable due to pollution. In the absence of people, the Earth recovers.
- 6 The Other Eden
By Ben Elton. Humanity believes an ecological disaster is imminent and has designed self-contained domes in which to survive. After a false warning humans retreat to their domes and their absence allows the Earth to recover.
- 7 Surreal 3000/The City Underground
By Suzanne Martel In this post-apocalypse novel people are living underneath Montreal. The real adventure begins when characters make the journey to the surface.
- 8 The Stand
By Stephen King. In this lengthy novel the characters see the country reclaimed by nature in the near-absence of humans. Many things have changed since much of the population was wiped out—perhaps for the better?
- 9 The History of the Galaxy
By Andrey Livandy. In this series Earth is overpopulated and suffers from ecological catastrophes, which results in wars and the offloading of the population. Thousands of years later the jungles have retaken the Earth—though the oceans have dried up.
- 10 Earth Abides
By George R. Stewart. A virus has wipe out most of the population. The story focuses on one man who experiences the strange new world without humanity.