“Children of Time” had been on my backlog for two years but a couple of weeks ago I stumbled upon another one of Adrian Tchaikovsky’s books, “Dogs of war”. When adding it to my to-read list I noticed that Ulrich had read “Children of Time” already. He didn’t like it all that much but I simply couldn’t just skip it. Now I’m really glad that I didn’t.
In the far future, the human race basically destroyed itself and started a new ice age on Earth. Prior to the civil war that eventually led to that catastrophe broke out, though, humankind’s scientific achievements had reached a level where terraforming other planets was possible. This allowed for multiple science teams to try just that.
Thousands of years later, the survivors of the war and the following ice age built themselves a new civilization. The damage to Earth from the previous one was just too severe, though, and so they launched ark ships to find a new home.
The story now follows the crew of one such ark ship AND the events taking place on a terraformed planet. Let’s say it this way: Things didn’t go as planned and the monkeys that (according to the original plan) should have taken over the world … didn’t make it 🙃
While the story started off reminding me a bit of “Planet of Apes”, the rest luckily didn’t. It takes place over hundreds of years with parallel storylines on the ship and the planet. Especially later I loved some of the bio-engineering aspects. In general, I really enjoyed the level of detail with which the universe was crafted. From slingshots to near-light speed, from cryostasis to weaponized ant. There’s even a big space battle and the exploration of a derelict station, so pretty much every SciFi topic with the exception of time travel is covered.
The author also deals with the different life-spans of the humans on the ark and the beings on the planet in a way that is not confusing, not requiring dozens of characters. One could argue, that more characters would have added to the universe but IMO that just made the story that more believable. It basically enhanced a feeling of loneliness which fits the idea of an ark ship in space. In some areas I would have enjoyed a little more treasure hunting for artifacts from the “Old Empire”, but that’s about it.
It was just an awesome read with lots of depth and politics. And not a single instance throughout those 600 pages when things got boring 😍