Disclaimer: English is my third language, so I want to apologize in advance for there may be mistakes in the text below. If you find any, please let me know so that I can correct it. I'd really appreciate it. Thanks. You can read this review also in Spanish here.
Adrian Tchaikovsky is an english writer known for writing a great saga of ten books (yes, you read that right ...) of epic fantasy called Shadows of the Apt. I have read many complimentary things about this series and has often caught my attention and I have considered reading the first volume, but I recognize that, after reading Malaz at a stretch, it gives me a certain laziness initiate such a long and complex story. I will note that the first book was published in 2008, and the last in 2014, and since then the author has published a couple more of novels. We have another Sanderson among us, by the amount and variety, and, according to what little I've read, the quality.
His latest novel, Children of Time, is a very interesting science fiction story which plot focuses on two pillars: first the biological and technological evolution of a species in a terraformed planet and second the disadvantages of the time required for the human interstellar travel. In both cases the title of the novel is quite justified.
I do not like spoilers, but it's a bit difficult to comment on the novel without revealing some minor parts of the plot, so if you are one of those who do not like to know information of the novels that your are about to read I can only tell you that I strongly recommend reading this novel, I'm sure we'll hear about it this year, and hopefully some publisher will dare to translate it to spanish. Quite a discovery, a sprawl of imagination, and a new interesting author to follow. From here, some spoilers.
The story initially puts us in a timeline in which humanity has reached a technological level that allows easy travel among the stars, and the process of terraforming planets. At the time that one of these planets is about to be colonized a war causes the partial destruction of Earth and all its colonies in the solar system and other stars. Many years later, the last terrestrial survivors, no longer able to prevent climate and ecological changes caused by war, undertake a last desperate exodus to several of the terraformed planets looking for a new home for mankind. The story follows the journey of the Gilgamesh, one of the colony ships with the last human survivors, and the adventures and misadventures of his crew. When they arrive to the planet they find that there is someone else living there. Due to a virus designed to accelerate the evolutionary process, during the centuries that have passed some kind of spider has evolved to the point of creating a technical civilization.
The novel has two main stories, one which follows the evolutionary process of these spiders through the centuries (with a very clever use of the names used to empathize with such different organisms), and the other following the Gilgamesh trip. Tchaikovsky masterfully alternates both creating an almost perfect rhythm, with lots of variety and originality, except for certain passages in the central part of the novel that slow the narration. I liked the plot of the spiders, it touches very interesting biological and social issues, but sometimes is a bit repetitive. On the contrary, the part that tells the story of the ship has conquered me with each new chapter. Although hibernation for interstellar travel is a recurring theme in science fiction Tchaikovsky has managed to give it a very original and creative point.
I also want to emphasize that the end has surprised and pleased me both, which unfortunately rarely happens to me. And I'm glad that the story is open to possible sequels to which I will be very attentive.
If you are interested, the author is publishing small stories set in the universe of the novel on his website to help locate and complement the story.
In short: a very interesting and entertaining novel of science fiction which gives a new perspective to topics widely used in the genre, with a very attractive and entertaining style, full of imagination and with well built and very charismatic characters. I recommend it for sure.
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