I'm just joined this group. My WIP is a speculative fiction book as that's the sort of thing I like to read. However, the reason I wanted to recommend this book is because it is a fantastic book, in any genre and I'd hate for people to miss out on it purely because it gets shelved under 'Science Fiction' in the bookshops.
Dark Eden isn't really science-fiction, although it is set on an alien planet. It is about the descendants of the two survivors of a spaceship that crashed 162 years before. The planet has no sun, but is warmed instead by geothermal heat from the centre of the planet, rather like Iceland. Except that on this planet the only light and heat is from the alien trees, around which the 'Family' build their shelters and wait for rescue.
Chris Beckett lectures in social science at the University of East Anglia so what you get in 'Dark Eden' that you don't get in many science-fictions is believable, compelling characters, living in a society which is both very different to our own, and yet strangely plausible. Beckett has a very vivid style, beautiful use of language and a plot which is a real page turner.
Actually, reading it is a bit like being dumped on an alien planet yourself - you don't know where you are or which way is up, but gradually you become acclimatised until, by the end, you find yourself utterly believing everything you read.