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Children of Time Hardcover – June 1, 2015
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i have been an avid reader of science fiction my entire life. a gift my father passed on down to me. it is exceedingly rare for me to come across a book that is so unique in both the subject matter and how it portrays the 'big picture.' anyone who enjoys smart thought provoking science fiction will absolutely be thrilled by this book.
In fact, it was Kern's vision that was the proximate cause of the civil war that destroyed the empire. She had set out for the newly green planet with thousands of monkeys, intending to release them on the surface to build a new, untainted civilization made possible by a nanovirus that will speed up their evolution into thinking beings. Through accelerated evolution, Kern is convinced they will achieve what had eluded the human race: civilization without war. Aided by "the virus that would accelerate the monkeys along their way—they would stride, in a mere century or two, across physical and mental distances that had taken humanity millions of long and hostile years." Kern is, of course, quite mad. Her plan had triggered massive opposition and ultimately civil war within the Empire. And the scheme goes awry no sooner has her ship arrived in orbit around the green planet. Accelerated evolution will take root on the surface, because the nanovirus has been released, but not among the monkeys. The monkeys are all dead. The beneficiaries are the invertebrates introduced through terraforming and already living in large numbers on the planet: spiders, ants, shrimp, beetles.
Tchaikovsky skillfully advances the threads of his tale through short, alternating chapters set on the planet's surface among the evolving spider population and on board the lifeboat bearing the remnants of humanity. A clash is inevitable. What remains to be seen is which species will dominate the others, and with what consequences.
Adrian Tchaikovsky (or Czajkowski) is a Polish-British fantasy writer best known for the 10-book Shadows of the Apt series. Children of Time is his sole science fiction work in novel form.
What I loved about this book, is how the author understands both the human mind, and the mind of the species left to seed the new world. The ending is so surprising, and so satisfying that I will happily read more of his books. His intelligence must be off the chart to be able to write this particuliar novel considering how he got into the head of a totally different species.