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Walking to Aldebaran

3.74  ·  Rating details ·  1,779 ratings  ·  355 reviews

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 exploring the Oort Cloud found a strange alien rock and an international team of scienti
Kindle Edition, 105 pages
Published May 28th 2019 by Solaris
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Apr 11, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Apr 18, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
2020: Well, that was some well-done mindf*ck.

I read it, got to the end, sat there open-mouthed for a bit, then promptly went to the beginning and read it again, this time with the clarity of hindsight picking up on all those clues scattered around like a delicious trail of breadcrumbs. Well - “If they didn’t want to be eaten, they shouldn’t be so delicious.”
“Most of the Crypts are dark as midnight, a horror of endless cold corridors cut in the stone where every step could see you into a trap
Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽
May 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing
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 en
Emily (Books with Emily Fox)
(3.5) Well shit this was a stranger short novella with a nice twist to it!
Apr 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2019-shelf, sci-fi, horror
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 dista
Ɗẳɳ  2.☊
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 o ...more
May 13, 2019 rated it really liked it
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 o
Mar 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley, reviewed
“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 fr ...more
Jan 28, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fans of deadpan humor & sci-fi horror of the existential dread variety
Recommended to jade by: Nataliya & carol
“they are roads through the great dark without, just as there are roads through the lesser dark within. they let us walk to all the other stars.”

meet gary rendell.

gary is a british astronaut. he’s very polite, and not picky about what he eats. he likes talking to people who aren’t there so he won’t lose his mind, and gets entertainingly snarky about that. gotta stay positive, right? and sometimes, he gets annoyed by things that trip him up.

he’s also thoroughly, utterly fucked.

Apr 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing

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 squabb
Still reeling from the impact of the last page.

(view spoiler)

OK, so maybe I don't want to go to the Oort Cloud anymore.

* * * * *

Update: May 2020

After an impassioned defense of this novella in an impromptu Q & A session with a GR friend who didn't feel the same way, I should get back to completing t
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.
Apr 12, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.

The writin
May 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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 lec
Apr 16, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Melindam by: carol.
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!

Sci-Fi is not really the cup of tea that I usually take, but I am really glad I drank this ... or rather gobbled it up pretty quickly despite its being hot and spicy and very unusual. There are also some slight effects of disorientation and dizzyness... also, bewilderment, but in rather a good way.

This book is gripping, atmos
Dannii Elle
This is the third Tchaikovsky novella I have listened to, over the course of the day, and each has impressed me with both its original concept and the skilful execution of it. All three have been unique, inventive, and with a fully-fleshed story-line not often found in every story I have read, of a similar truncated length as these novellas.

Despite appreciating all three, I think I immediately bonded with this story quicker as it had its roots in the recognisable sci-fi landscape of space. I hav
Mar 06, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a fun novella, a mishmash of "weird," SF, horror, and comedy. I tend to think of myself as squeamish, but am coming to wonder if that's really true, since I chuckled much more than I cringed during this story's rather gruesome second half. ...more
I never really know what to expect with this author anymore. His books all seem to be absolutely wild and crazy inventive works of imagination. All I know is that they’ll always be interesting. At the least.

Walking to Aldebaran is the story of an astronaut who's been stranded in an alien cavern somewhere near Neptune. I’ve seen it described as The Martian meets Annihilation and I can totally see that, although I did find it a bit more surprising and astonishing than just that. From its synopsis
Oct 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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 casually sophisticated repartee, which at no point let the momentum drop.

This instantly reminded me of a certain o
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 worlds ...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
Allison Hurd
A really fun, clever twist on old tropes. I liked the exploration, and I thought the shift from exploration to horror was a different direction than I saw coming. My only teeny tiny nitpick is that the reveal felt a bit hidden away for me. I had to listen several times to the first goblin scene to make sure I was hearing what I was hearing.

4.5 stars rounded up because the audio narration by the author himself was also very well done.

CONTENT WARNING (view spoiler)
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 experi
Aug 06, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2019-read, novella
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 g
May 29, 2019 marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
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.
A horror story. It was well written and fascinating. For a while I thought the main character was going insane. Actually, he might have been but the details of the story make it an open question...

4+ Stars

Read on kindle
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 wor
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 18, 2019 rated it really liked it
Wonderfully creepy, gruesome, and hilarious. Recommended for fans of the Cube movies.
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 alt
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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.

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