Review: Children of Time by Adrian Tchaikovsky

Vertigo

Mad Mountain Man
Supporter
Joined
Jun 29, 2010
Messages
7,042
Location
Scottish Highlands
#1
children-of-time-adrian-tchaikovsky.jpg


Humanity has reached levels of technology that are verging on godlike and now, having found no other life in the galaxy, they are using those abilities to really play god; attempting to raise Terran monkeys to full sentience on a terraformed planet far from Sol. Meanwhile back at the solar system humanity’s continuous bickerings really do look like they might put an end to the human race this time. Leaving only a few humans on Earth reduced to savages clawing their way back to technology and escaping the poisoned Earth that they have inherited. They head for the only other terraformed planet they know of. Only the great experiment there went a little wrong and instead of sentient monkeys we have sentient spiders. Not recommended for suffers of arachnophobia!

Tchaikovsky has created a brilliant piece of hard science fiction that explores all that’s best and worst in humanity contrasting it with the evolving arachnid civilisation; the story alternating between the human refugees’ point of view and that of the spiders. The refugees’ single ark ship is old and failing and the only habitable planet around is already occupied. All the science and lack of it is completely plausible and all the actions and motivations of both the humans and spiders is equally plausible. I had to do little or no suspension of disbelief whilst reading Children of Time which is exactly how I like my science fiction and it’s particularly surprising coming from an author all of whose prior output has been fantasy.

The writing is fluid, the characters, both human and alien, interesting and well filled out and, whilst the final denouement was moderately inevitable, the route to it was filled with twists and turns that definitely weren’t predictable. I am only a little surprised (and disappointed) that despite leaving everything open for a sequel there appears to be no intent to produce one. He has, however, written some further SF since Children of Time so I will certainly be taking a look at that.

4/5 stars
 
Last edited by a moderator:

Brian G Turner

Fantasist & Futurist
Staff member
Supporter
Joined
Nov 23, 2002
Messages
21,314
Location
Highlands
#2
This kept coming up for 99p on Amazon, but I've repeatedly passed on the fear that I wouldn't like it.

Your review has persuaded me that next time it's on offer I'll make sure to try it. :)
 

dannymcg

Well-Known Member
Joined
Sep 9, 2016
Messages
2,241
Location
Cumbria UK
#5
I didn't enjoy it all that much, I only finished reading it cos I was like three quarters through it when I got jaded with it. It didn't pull me into the story :(
 

unbusy thing

Active Member
Joined
Apr 22, 2018
Messages
33
#7
And webs in space! And webby space elevators!! :eek: Thoroughly enjoyed this. Funnily enough have started, but not been pulled in by, his Shadows of the Apt series.
 

williamjm

Well-Known Member
Joined
Apr 28, 2006
Messages
601
#9
I am only a little surprised (and disappointed) that despite leaving everything open for a sequel there appears to be no intent to produce one.
Tchaikovsky recently said he's delivered a sequel Children of Ruin to his publishers and it should probably be out next year sometime - see Books to the future! : Shadows of the Apt

I'm not quite sure what I expect from the sequel, I wonder if the story will be returning to Earth?
 

Parson

This world is not my home
Supporter
Joined
Oct 11, 2006
Messages
7,214
Location
Iowa
#10
Tchaikovsky's "Children of Time" is quite brilliant in my estimation. Both the human and arachnid protagonists were completely believable in their abilities and in their flaws. I concur with @Vertigo that is really fine Hard S.F. Shouldn't be missed by anyone who is a fan.
 

Vertigo

Mad Mountain Man
Supporter
Joined
Jun 29, 2010
Messages
7,042
Location
Scottish Highlands
#11
Tchaikovsky recently said he's delivered a sequel Children of Ruin to his publishers and it should probably be out next year sometime - see Books to the future! : Shadows of the Apt

I'm not quite sure what I expect from the sequel, I wonder if the story will be returning to Earth?
Well he left them with the joint human/arachnid ship off chasing that mysterious signal. Another terraforming project? Or maybe the other ark ship. Wasn't there another one sent out from Earth but they'd never heard anything more from it and assumed it had failed?
 
Last edited by a moderator:

Similar threads

Top