The Doors of Eden by Adrian Tchaikovsky

Vertigo

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Tchaikovsky’s mind-boggling inventiveness never ceases to astound me!

There are a number of parallel Earth timelines, not all that many and certainly not an infinity of them, and there are places where the boundary between them is fragile and now there seem to be more of these doorways opening. And, sometimes, there are monsters on the other side. These happenings bring together an exceedingly diverse cast of characters; some cooperating and some in opposition and sometimes it is none too easy to tell who falls into which camp.

I was ready to be disappointed by this one but was willing to give it a go as Tchaikovsky has yet to actually manage to disappoint me. The title, the cover and the blurb all suggested to me a typical fantasy universe of stepping through portals into fantasy worlds. But there’s much more to this universe than that. Portals? Sort of; rifts anyway. But fantasy worlds? Not a bit of it; these are all equally real worlds that diverged from ours in the distant past, many of them evolving sentient and sometimes technological civilisations. And Tchaikovsky’s background in Zoology gives him the perfect platform to explore which palaeontological (and later) creatures might have evolved intelligence and what sort of societies they might have developed given the opportunities.

Within this setting Tchaikovsky has woven a great technological thriller peopled with characters easy to empathise with and for the ‘woke’ amongst you there is a lesbian couple and a trans scientist, though neither are thrust in the reader’s face as I so often seem to find in modern books that all too frequently are presented as dependent on such aspects in most unconvincing ways. Here it’s just how they are and not a big deal, which strikes me as the best way to move forward.

So, a great premise supported by the author’s usual flair for world building. A truly diverse and interesting cast of characters and an intriguing techno-thriller plot. It seems like a winning formula and certainly was for me. Possibly my favourite book from Tchaikovsky so far but I seem to have found myself saying that quite a few times of late!

5/5 stars
 
Another great review, Vertigo and another one to add to want pile. Tchaikovsky has proved time and again to be an immensely enjoyable author.
 
I'm a bit of a natural history nerd, so it almost felt like Tchaikovsky had written this book just for me! I'm pleased that despite the rather thriller-ish plot, he allowed himself plenty of space to explore all these bizarre non-human civilisations. I also appreciated the non-clunky approach to diversity- Dr. Khan was particularly well-written.
 

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