Blog Tour | The Eden Paradox #GuestPost #review #giveaway

Lots of exciting things for you today I have a guest post on aliens and music, my review of The Eden Paradox and a giveaway too, you are well and truly spoiled.

Eden Paradox cover

A murder… a new planet mankind desperately needs… a thousand-year old conspiracy… What really awaits us on Eden? In a world beset by political turmoil, environmental collapse, and a predatory new religion, a recently discovered planet, Eden, is our last hope. But two missions have failed to return. Blake Alexander and his crew lead the final attempt to bring back good news. Meanwhile back on Earth, Micah Sanderson evades assassins, and tries to work out who he can trust as he struggles in a race against time to unravel the Eden Paradox.

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What would aliens think of our music?

It’s not such a banal question. Voyager, one of the first deep space probes sent out to contact other sentient life, contained (amongst other things) classical and popular music, to show what our culture is like.

Music is endemic to humanity. All cultures and sub-cultures have music. If we were to discover an unknown tribe in the Amazon rainforest tomorrow who had never had contact with the rest of the world, without doubt they would have language, painting of some sort, weapons, and music.

Music is also a form of mathematical expression, as much as it is a way of conveying emotion. It is a language of sorts, trying to communicate joy, sorrow, or just “get up off your ass and dance!” Think of whalesong or birdsong – it is not just there for our pleasure, it may mean “follow me”, or “keep out of my territory”, or “anyone fancy mating?”

All music follows a mathematical form (scales), some more complex than others (e.g. Indian classical music works on a different scale – if you’re not used to it, you don’t hear the nuances). Jazz follows rules as does classical music, but is more flexible, allowing musicians to ‘bend’ those rules more. Because it is mathematical, it is a sign of intelligence, and alien species might be impressed by it (or not), and might even find it culturally more ‘telling’ about humanity’s nature and social desirability on a galactic scale than scientific logic or technological capability.

One drawback is that our music is confined to a fairly narrow band on the electromagnetic spectrum; even dogs can hear more than we can. We live in air of a particular density, whereas other alien life might live in water, gas, or communicate by light more than sound (David Brin’s classic Sundiver science fiction series had intelligent plant-life-forms that preferred communication by light).

Would aliens like our music, or understand it? Most science fiction ignores this part of our heritage, saving it for compelling film anthems or TV SF soap theme tunes (Star Wars, Star Trek), or for incidental ‘tekky’ musical scores (e.g. Vangelis’ fab score for Blade Runner – including my all-time favourite SF track, the haunting Memories of green). Occasionally SF deals with music, but it usually portrays it as very different and cacophonous to our ears and tastes (a good example being the futuristic choral piece in the original film Return from the planet of the apes – although not alien as such). In contrast, Luc Besson’s cult film Fifth Element contained a piece of ‘space opera’, a multi-limbed alien singing a rather compelling operatic number.

One optimistic example is provided in an episode of Star Trek Voyager, wherein an alien culture finds Earth-music fascinating, though only for a while. Nevertheless, this is the outlook I chose in the second book in the series, Edens Trial), in a glancing reference that if humans need to trade, they should consider music, because it is valued in the galaxy, being so varied and creative. I can attest to this, having recently been lucky enough to see Pink Floyd’s (Roger Waters) The Wall, two outstanding classical/jazz guitarists (John Williams and John Etheridge) and Prokofiev’s Romeo and Juliet. Not to mention U2 and Coldplay.


Having read and loved books written under his pen name I was more than happy to pick up The Eden Paradox even though it is a completely different genre. I’m not even sure where to begin with this review because this book was kind of mind-blowing.

The storyline is so amazingly complex, every time I thought I had a hang of where things were heading, something would come up that would completely throw me for a loop. I have to salute Mr Kirwan for managing to keep all the plates spinning on this one, there were so many threads to this story that I felt sure that something would be forgotten but everything that needed to be resolved was, it is the first book in a series so there needs to be something to continue the story after all.

The worldbuilding is intense, a future apocalyptic earth searching for another planet to ensure the survival of the species, with all sorts of futuristic tech, and of course a few different fanatic factions. I felt like I could slot easily into this version of the world, the descriptions were vivid and managed to give such a clear picture without feeling like it was being constantly dumped on you. I did struggle to get my mind around some of the more scientific stuff but I still found the basic concepts easy to follow from the way it is written.

The was a big range of characters in this and at first, I will admit to getting a little confused about who was who and where they were, but I managed to get past that fairly quickly. I also thought that I wouldn’t feel as connected to them as there were so many to take in but each of the characters even the secondary ones had a lot of depth to them.

There were a lot of characters that got under my skin but the ones I enjoyed the most were the crew of the Ulysses, their situation was so interesting to read about, four very different people in close quarters who share this unforgettable experience and having to adapt to situations they couldn’t have imagined. It made for thrilling reading.

If you are a science fiction fan then you will be very easily sucked into this one but I think there will be a lot of people that would really enjoy this book just for its amazing story.


Now I’m sure that lots of you will be interested in this giveaway, just think of all the books you could buy with…

a £20 or $25 Amazon gift card

Barry (J F) Kirwan is a split personality. He writes science fiction under the name Barry Kirwan, and thrillers under his pen name J F Kirwan. In his day job, he travels worldwide, working on aviation safety. He lives in Paris, where he first joined a fiction class – and became hooked! This led to an acclaimed four-book series called the Eden Paradox. But when a back injury stopped him scuba diving for two years, he wrote a thriller about a young Russian woman, Nadia, where a lot of the action occurred in dangerously deep waters. He’s working on a new science fiction novel called ‘When the children come.’

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Reviews for other Barry Kirwan books

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