Dan Schwent's Reviews > Children of Time

Children of Time by Adrian Tchaikovsky
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it was amazing
bookshelves: 2018, 2018-books

As humanity's fortunes fade, an engineered nanovirus, not finding the monkeys it expected, begins elevating the insects and spiders of an earth-like world. Will it be the humans aboard the space ark Gilgamesh or the spiders of the green planet inherit the universe as... The Children of Time?

One of the lunch talkers was gushing over this book a few days ago, the rare interruption of my reading I can tolerate. Fortunately, I already had this on my kindle despite no memory of buying it. Anyway, I dug in and was quickly ensnared in its web.

Childen of Time is told in two silky, sticky threads: the humans aboard the Gilgamesh, with Holsten Mason, a classicist, as the view point character, and generations of uplifted spiders on Kern's World. As such, we see the rise of the spiders, aided by a human-made nanovirus, across generations, as Holsten is awoken to find the Gilgamesh and its people in various states of decline.

The worldbuilding is exquisite. Adrian Tchaikovsky's spiders are alien yet somehow familiar, not just feeling like humans in different bodies. AT clearly put a lot of thought into his worldbuilding, extrapolating a lot from spider behavior, not just plopping giant spiders down on an earthlike world. The various Portias, Biancas, and Fabians over the generations showed a lot of development and nuances. The spider civilization unfolded in an organic way and I couldn't get enough of it, with its crazy gender politics and technology based around trained ants and genetically encoded information.

The humans coping aboard the Gilgamesh weren't quite as interesting to me, although some interesting avenues are explored. Life aboard an ark isn't easy, especially when you're repeatedly awakened to find things have gone pear-shaped. The Gilgamesh's crew and cargo undergo some interesting reversals of fortune, some expected, others not.

By the time the two narrative threads entangled, I knew which side I wanted to come out on top. Tchaikovsky kept me guessing, though, right up until the end.

Children of Time features lots of things I find compelling in science fiction: artificial intelligence, evolved bugs, and generation ships, albeit unintentional. For once, I'm glad someone interrupted my lunchtime reading. Five out of five stars.
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Reading Progress

January 19, 2017 – Shelved
January 19, 2017 – Shelved as: buy-this-for-me
January 21, 2018 – Shelved as: to-read
December 20, 2018 – Started Reading
December 22, 2018 –
December 22, 2018 –
December 22, 2018 –
December 28, 2018 –
December 28, 2018 –
December 28, 2018 –
December 29, 2018 –
December 29, 2018 –
December 29, 2018 –
December 29, 2018 – Shelved as: 2018
December 29, 2018 – Shelved as: 2018-books
December 29, 2018 – Finished Reading

Comments Showing 1-6 of 6 (6 new)

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message 1: by mark (new)

mark monday the parallel storylines and the spider aliens remind me of A Deepness in the Sky. have you read that one?

and Happy Holidays, Dan!

message 2: by Dan (new) - rated it 5 stars

Dan Schwent I'll have to check out A Deepness in the Sky if there are spider aliens.

Happy holidays to you too

Josh I will never look at spiders the same way again after reading this book.

message 4: by Trudi (new)

Trudi "Childen of Time is told in two silky, sticky threads"

Heh heh. Nice. Great review Dan. I'm going to hunt this one down. Happy New Year!

message 5: by Dan (new) - rated it 5 stars

Dan Schwent Thanks!

carol. Lunch talkers. Hrmph.

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