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Walking to Aldebaran

3.77  ·  Rating details ·  600 ratings  ·  175 reviews
Chilling story of a lost astronaut on an alien artefact from Arthur C. Clarke award-winning Adrian Tchaikovsky

My name is Gary Rendell. I’m an astronaut. When they asked me as a kid what I wanted to be when I grew up, I said, “astronaut, please!” I dreamed astronaut, I worked astronaut, I studied astronaut.

I got lucky; when a probe sent out to explore the Oort Cloud found a
Hardcover, 140 pages
Published May 28th 2019 by Solaris
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Average rating 3.77  · 
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 ·  600 ratings  ·  175 reviews

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Apr 11, 2019 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: sci-fi fans
'Aldebaran' is a red star whose name comes from the Arabic word for 'follower,' because it seems to follow the Pleides. Interesting choice, although like others, my reading eye slurred it to 'Alderaan,' Princess Leia's world, and I had to wonder if Tchaikovsky is playing with us, just a little. In this novella, scientists have discovered an unusual object and sent a team to explore. It contains some of the best of sci-fi: astronauts, exploration, discovery. Oh, and some of the worst of what can ...more
Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽
You know how some books get less impressive as you get some distance from finishing them and think about them some more? You realize the plot had serious holes, or the characters were flat, or whatever. But a few books take a while to seep into your brain, and gradually get more impressive. Walking to Aldebaran is one of those, and I'm bumping it to all 5 well-deserved stars. Final review, first posted on Fantasy Literature:

I never know what to expect from Adrian Tchaikovsky, but he’s always
Emily (Books with Emily Fox)
(3.5) Well shit this was a stranger short novella with a nice twist to it!
Ɗẳɳ  2.☊
May 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Scientists were baffled when the Kaveney probe, sent to investigate a new planet in the Kuiper belt, turned up nothing. The math checked out. There was definitely something out there yanking gravity’s chain, and the prime candidate was one of those elusive far-out planets, yet the probe’s instruments showed nothing, nada, zilch. A project years in the making for nothing more than a little comet dust and a cosmic whiff of disappointment. But then the probe began to send back pictures all on its ...more
Apr 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: horror, sci-fi, 2019-shelf
You know those times when you are reading Harlan Ellison and you say to yourself, "Where are all the newer writers doing DARK FREAKING TWISTS in their SF, full of humor, horror, and anxiety?"

Ah, good news, ya'll! This one fits the bill. :) In fact, I think I should make a little bookshelf named "MUAHAHAHAHAHA".

Yep. Expect a first-contact scenario playing out in flashback, wry and disturbing humor as we catch up with our poor pedestrian walking through the halls of the Frog God, and explore
May 13, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is dark and quirky scifi noir as astronaut Garry Rendell finds himself lost in an alien labyrinth. Part of a combined nations space mission to explore an artifact discovered in the Oort cloud beyond Pluto, Rendell, separated from the rest of the exploration team, recounts his wanderings through the never-ending tunnels, and his encounters with fellow wanderers. Although he has maintained his sense of humour, the experience has clearly transformed him.

Original and imaginative with a twist
Apr 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

Do you happen to know the movie The Cube (and/or maybe it's sequel)? What started out as a relatively straightforward space adventure turns into quite similar mindfuckery.

Gary is one of a number of astronauts from all kinds of countries on Earth that are sent to a mysterious Artifact that looks a bit like a frog face. It's huge and somehow not entirely abiding by the laws of physics and we've discovered it behind Pluto.
As these things go, once we finally get over our usual
May 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 5000-2019
I had read a couple of this author's books already so I was expecting good things when I took up this one and I was not disappointed. Not by a long shot! It was exceptionally good.

I loved the main character, Gary Rendell from Stevenage, with his snarky, sarcastic comments, his self deprecation and his spoiler alerts. The concept of the tunnels leading to other universes was just brilliant and I enjoyed all the aliens including the Egg people and the Pyramid people. (Gary failed to attend the
Apr 12, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 7k-challenge, sci-fi
I absolutely loved this novella from the moment I picked it up to the moment I put it down. It starts out very light. The protagonist is a funny guy. He's lost on an alien artifact humans have been calling "the Crypts."

The story is told in two timelines, present and past. The past timeline outlines how he came to be lost in the Crypts and tells us a little about the state of the world before he left earth. In the present, he's wandering the Crypts encountering all manner of alien life.

Milda Page Runner
Brilliant! As hilarious as it is terrifying.

Somehow it reminded me watching Happy! - you end up hysterically laughing in the most inappropriate gruesome moments.

Recommend to everyone who likes sci-fi, horror and dark humour.
Mar 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: reviewed, netgalley
“It had a dozen many-jointed legs, and I snapped them off and piled them up, a campfire just like my old scoutmaster taught me, and I used one of my shonky little jury-rigged pieces of nonsense to spark it into flames.” That is astronaut Gary Rendell in survival mode. He is part of the international crew of the Quixote. A probe was sent to look for other planets, but it found the Crypts instead. Rendell is now lost in the Crypts (a/k/a the Frog God a/k/a the artifact) after becoming separated ...more
One of the bright new lights in today’s science fiction offers us a harrowing glimpse of space exploration and madness. With echoes of Space Odyssey, an artifact appears out by Pluto. It’s large. It’s ancient. It has openings that beckon for exploration. And,it is riddled with passages, chambers, and all manner of space aliens from other planets and other dimensions. No one ever imagined this was how the first contact with intelligent life would play out. And, one man, Gary Randell, has survived ...more
Apr 16, 2019 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Melindam by: carol.
ARC by Netgalley in exchange for an honest reviw

WOooh-hoooo! What a ride ... walk!! Creepy & intriguing with self-mockery I appreciate.

This has been my first book by author Adrian Tchaikovsky, and certainly not my last!

It is hard to ride a proper review without being spoilerish, but I will try eventually.

More detialed review to come after some digestion.
May 29, 2019 marked it as to-read
This is one of 1000 copies of the limited edition version of this book and is signed by Adrian Tchaikovsky in a square box on the front end paper.

It surprised me to find the publisher used such poor quality paper to print the book in this price range, it's little better than news print.
Adrian Tchaikovsky is a chameleon when it comes to writing. I read three books of his already: Children of Time, Guns of the Dawn and now this one. All of which have completely different tone.I guess that's a laudable trait for a writer.

This was recommended to me by Sarah after our disastrous BR on The Luminous Dead. The premise was kind of similar, a solo journey into the unknown. I enjoyed the comedic tone of the main character, a less-sciency British Mark Watney, when he described his
Mogsy (MMOGC)
4.5 of 5 stars at The BiblioSanctum

I confess, I haven’t always had much luck with novellas, even when it comes to those by favorite authors, but I ended up really enjoying this one. For me, it was simply the right mix of humor and horror. Take the witty, smart-alecky narrative style of The Martian and combine it creepy, dread-inducing atmosphere of Alien, and you’d probably end up with something like Walking to Aldebaran. One wouldn’t think that would
Oct 18, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Wonderfully creepy, gruesome, and hilarious. Recommended for fans of the Cube movies.
An alien artifact is discovered within reasonable space travel distance from Earth. Our first person narrator Gary is the only survivor of an investigating crew whose mission has identifies the apparent planetoid is some kind of space wormhole gateway accessible by many other alien civilizations. He and diverse alien species, so imaginatively rendered by the author, must leave their spaceships behind to explore labyrinthine pathways (often in the dark) in the hope of gaining access to new ...more
Jul 24, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A really well done short-story. Good writing and great idea about a space exploration gone bad. And an unexpected twist towards the end. I liked the book, and the slow but inevitable creeping towards madness had been done really, really good. The only minus and the reason I cannot give a 5* rating, is that this storyline is not linear, it jumps between different timelines. And I generally don't like it, or should I say, I like linear stories more.

Still, a solid 4* rating and quite a nice "first
Aug 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-2019
A bit odd, a spacefaring novelette and starting it by stumbling through a cave system.

The backstory is well told and the slow reveal of how Gary got to the present point is well done. Fun scenes, interesting aliens, growing creepiness factor... loved the aliens! So imaginative! Loved the humour, the general screwiness, the Britishness. Devious. I would like to spend more time on... never mind. Anything else I want to mention here would be a spoiler. I think the less you know, the more fun this
Aug 06, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: novella, 2019-read
I'm a huge fan of Adrian Tchaikovsky, and I usually love his amazing creativity and literate writing style, but this one was just not for me.

The story here was not particularly original or even a fresh take on a familiar one. I also didn't much care for the blackly humorous tone adopted by the protagonist. The whole combination was just a miss for me.

I didn't DNF it early on as it was a novella and I wanted to finish it before making my final call. The last 20% was the best part for me, so I'm
Empress Reece (Hooked on Books)
3.5 stars...

This was a bizarre little novella but highly, highly captivating. Tchaikovsky pulls you right into the Crypts and you feel like you're walking right along side Gary. It's the type of story that I feel like I need to read more then once to pick up all of the things that I missed the first time around. I never expected this to be my first Tchaikovsky piece, but it was a nice introduction and definitely won't be my last.

*I received this ARC from Netgalley and Solaris in exchange for an
Oct 17, 2019 rated it really liked it
Another wonderful example of Tchaikovsky's prolific writing.

Here he manages to lead the reader through the story via the highly unreliable conscience of the main character. Funny, irritating and slowly revealing of a terrifying truth within a changing reality.
The prose underlines the atmosphere and those readers who are not so dumb as I am (^^') will find hints and portents of the bigger picture.

Hands down, Adrian Tchaikovsky is the only author where I gladly pay the rather steep price for a
Aug 22, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: science-fiction
An excellent novella that has an astronaut lost and alone in the dark in an endless alien-built labyrinth in space. The story unfolds in parallel timelines with Gary lost in the tunnels in one and the process by which he got there in the other. More would be spoilery and this definitely has its twists.

I'm somewhat dismayed; I've really enjoyed everything else I've read by Adrian Tchaikovsky. Not this time. This novella was a slog to get through. I appreciated the black humour, but this story never gelled for me. And yes, the twist in the story was clever, but, by that time, I'd mostly checked out.
2.5-3 stars.
I don't think anyone who might read this review will be surprised that I'd never heard of Adrian Tchaikovsky until earlier this year. Despite him being published for over a decade. I'm just really bad at keeping up with what all the cool kids are reading, OK? I admit it. So, obviously this was my first Tchaikovsky book, but likely it won't be my last.

I really enjoyed this. It hooked me from the first line, and intrigued me, and I had to know what happened, and what WOULD happen. I liked the
May 14, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: sci-fi
Walking to Aldebaran was an entirely odd reading experience, equal parts exciting and exasperating, but I suspect that is exactly what Adrian Tchaikovsky was going for. This is the story of a stranded astronaut, lost and alone in an alien landscape, who is certainly struggling . . . and who may even be going crazy.

The thing is, we feel for Gary. We share his horror, his frustration, his helplessness, and his sense of desperate awe. Normally I would be bothered by the lack of wonder and awe in a
May 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Walking to Aldebaran is a short, snappy novella of barely 100 pages which manages to really pack a punch and be all-powerful in such a small space of time. Once again Tchaikovsky shows his masterful storytelling prowess and of course writing an engaging short story is very different from penning full-length speculative fiction. Frequently shorts are severely lacking in characterisation but not here; Tchaikovsky knows exactly how to construct and craft a cast of three-dimensional, interesting ...more
Oct 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing
What a densely packed mental thrill ride, narrated by the casual witticism and keen observational skills of an every-guy astronaut, Gary Rendell.

Cleverly composed and perfectly paced mix of fantastical planetary exploration, psychological horror, alien creature studies, and survival. All colored splendid by the driving force of the story: our narrator's ceaseless snarky optimism and sophisticated repartee, which at no point lets the momentum drop.

This instantly reminded me of a book I read
Apr 01, 2019 rated it really liked it
This is my second time reading Tchaikovsky and I gotta say that I’m impressed. I was blown away a year ago after reading Children of Time and he’s done it again to me with Walking to Aldebaran.

Aside from the fact that both stories take place in space, they are nothing alike. WTA is about us finding an alien artefact in the furthest reaches of our solar system and then sending out an expedition to explore it. The artefact is known as the Crypt and it is huge. After doing some research in close
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ADRIAN TCHAIKOVSKY was born in Lincolnshire and studied zoology and psychology at Reading, before practising law in Leeds. He is a keen live role-player and occasional amateur actor and is trained in stage-fighting. His literary influences include Gene Wolfe, Mervyn Peake, China Miéville, Mary Gently, Steven Erikson, Naomi Novak, Scott Lynch and Alan Campbell.
“Captain Kirk would have thought of something by now, I’m sure, but I have no red-shirted confederates to feed to it.” 1 likes
“I don’t understand them. They don’t understand me. At the same time, we both understand each other.” 1 likes
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