Children of Time by Aidan Tchaikovsky
Genre: Science Fiction
It is a perfect time to read this and that’s why I am posting my 2015 review of this now. Because the other day I heard that there will be a big-screen adaption of Children of Time by Lionsgate.
If you ever wanted to see zoology turned into science fiction and are not afraid of spiders, read this book. I am absolutely Team Spider 😉
This was a fascinating read. It starts out in a future where humans are reaching out into space, traveling, and starting to colonize other solar systems. They have only just begun a huge terraforming process on several worlds, when war breaks out and destroys Earth along with all it’s colonies.
The reader is then treated to a somewhat strange experience of the viewpoint of a spider. Because one terraforming project survived. The “Brin” project – an obvious reference to David Brin’s Uplift series which I have yet to read – where a scientist want to populate a planet with monkeys and a nano-virus supposed to uplift them, by hastening their evolution towards intelligence. The monkeys however never made it to the surface of the planet. The virus did. What it found were spiders. Don’t let the strangeness stop you.
The author then takes the reader on a ride through the evolution of spider-kind and their development into a technological society including their discovery of religion, and agriculture, their war with the ants and their politics. This rather alien viewpoint reads weird at first but gets more and more fascinating as the story grows and continues. A bit confusing might be that the spiders have the same few names throughout the generations, but it helps with continuity and develops Portia and Fabian and the others into characters despite their short appearances in the story.
About 2.000 years after Earth was destroyed the human protagonist of the other half of the story is introduced. Holsten Mason is a historian. Mankind had managed to survive the war, rebuilt some of their civilization during the Nuclear winter only to discover that Earth was doomed once the ice age ended and released the poisons under the ice. Holsten is aboard the Gilgamesh, one of a few so-called generation ships sent out in a last desperate bid for mankind’s survival. Everyone aboard is frozen in cryo tanks only waken for short intervals when human intervention is needed.
The human storyline starts when the Gilgamesh enters the system with the spider planet. It doesn’t go peacefully and the Gilgamesh has to resume his galactic travels in search for a different target. But in the far future of course spiders and humans will meet again, and so Holsten travels into the future being thawed for short episodes of adventure.
This was an incredible read and getting into the spider-mindset was fascinating – even if it started out a bit slow. I definitely recommend this to science fiction fans.