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Summary

Adrian Tchaikovksy's critically acclaimed stand-alone novel Children of Time is the epic story of humanity's battle for survival on a terraformed planet.

Who will inherit this new Earth?

The last remnants of the human race left a dying Earth, desperate to find a new home among the stars. Following in the footsteps of their ancestors, they discover the greatest treasure of the past age - a world terraformed and prepared for human life.

But all is not right in this new Eden. In the long years since the planet was abandoned, the work of its architects has borne disastrous fruit. The planet is not waiting for them pristine and unoccupied. New masters have turned it from a refuge into mankind's worst nightmare.

Now two civilizations are on a collision course, both testing the boundaries of what they will do to survive. As the fate of humanity hangs in the balance, who are the true heirs of this new Earth?

©2016 Adrian Tchaikovsky (P)2017 Audible Ltd

Critic reviews

" Children of Time is a joy from start to finish. Entertaining, smart, surprising and unexpectedly human." (Patrick Ness)

What listeners say about Children of Time

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    2 out of 5 stars
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Felt cheated

Personally I think the synopsis is misleading which says that the book is about Humans colonizing a planet. Humans dont arrive on the planet until about a third of the way through the audiobook and even then most of the book is about spiders. Also I think Amazon should have a warning in the description as there is a fair amount of swearing in the book - not suitable for children IMO.

52 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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Average at best

To be totally honest, I don't know why this book has been given such high ratings, It's not that great really! Granted It has its moments where it starts to pick up but then loses its momentum. I listen to a lot of Sci-fi Audio books and I can say there is many better audio books to listen to than this.

I guess if Ray Porter read it then it might have been better.

Disappointing.

28 people found this helpful

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  • MR
  • 10-10-17

Unexpected gem

Awesome, wasn’t sure where it was headed but gripping from the beginning and literally weaves a clever story.

9 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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Gobsmacking scope

This was a new and intriguing story which is well worth a listen... it might even change the way you think. The reason I personally didn't give it 5 stars was that, given the story, there is a lot of description and passive voice. Add to this the very measured tone of the narrator I found myself drifting off many times. It took 5 goes to listen to the last couple of chapters. So, all in all, worth a listen but it won't keep you on the edge of your seat despite end if humanity type peril.

8 people found this helpful

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Brilliant

I enjoyed the originality of this book. It is told in such a way that I found myself rooting for both sides, and I felt the development of an 'alien' intelligence that is derived from something not alien at all was particularly interesting. The means by which the author deals with untold generations of spiders cohesively is also very clever.

My thanks to Adrian Tchaikovsky, and to Mel Hudson for bringing me on such an exciting, unpredictable journey. I highly recommend this book and will be looking out for more work from this author.

63 people found this helpful

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Another stunning piece from Tchaikovsky

This is the second book by Adrian Tchaikovsky that I have reviewed (the first in audio format) and, all I can say is … I’m not sure he’s capable of writing anything that isn’t wonderful.

Children of Time focuses on the remnants of Earth, fleeing for the survival of their very species due to the disastrous aftermath of a civil war. The fleeing humans traverse (quite literally) time and space as they transport large numbers of the population in cold-storage, destined to be woken up when a new home world can be found.

Not only does Children of Time revolve around the struggles of mankind, it also focuses on the struggles of the alien species that mankind are to cross paths with. The book shows us the growth of their civilisation just as it shows us the struggles and pitfalls of mankind. It focuses on both in such a way that you can’t help but become emotionally attached to both … and I never thought I’d become emotionally attached to a race of intelligent, thinking, evolved spiders.

The novel deals with big themes such as science, religion, Artificial Intelligences and how such things impact the societies as they continue to grow. My only slight negative was that I felt the narrator’s range of voices wasn’t as wide as I would have liked. Other than that, it was a thoroughly interesting and engaging book from start to finish.

If I had to pick a favourite part, it would most certainly be the start. It really hooked me like no book has for quite a while. The author really manages to engage the reader extremely quick and kept me hooked from there on out. There is also the fact that you get to essentially watch as one civilisation is built from the ground up and another does it’s best to rebuild after being torn asunder.

Another bonus is that Children of Time is a standalone novel. In this era of huge epic fantasy series spanning twenty books, or epic space operas with has high a book count, I just find it refreshing to see there are still authors out there capable of telling a complete story in one book. I also read a rumour on the internet that this may end up being made into a film at some point in the future. Hopefully that rumour is correct!

6 people found this helpful

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Tchaikovsky is still writing Symphonies!

This is genuine high-quality science fiction, in terms of pacing it's probably closer to Heinlein than Scalzi or Star Wars but it's innovative, well thought-out and fairly challenging. It's definitely at the thinking reader's end of sci-fi.

It has to be a clever book that gets you rooting for spiders and sympathising with them. This book covers issues of morality, decency, survival and has probably one of the most unique treatments of the age-old battle of the sexes I have ever read.

The treatment of time and lifespan is equally clever. There are almost three distinct timelines here. The relatively short-lived spiders together with the humans being able to engage in various uses of suspended animation could have resulted in a real mess with dozens and dozens of varied characters. I thought this was particularly well-covered with the implementation of a logical mechanism to provide consistency of character among the arachnids and longevity with key humans.

Mel Hudson does a fine job of the narration, no easy task this one making this in all a very high quality entry to the genre and I would echo Carl's thought's that we need more of this author on Audible. It seems Tchaikovsky is still writing Symphonies!

73 people found this helpful

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A beautiful take on evolution and hope

Loved this. Was a deeply satisfying story of humanity and something else... Wonderfully thought out intricacies of the evolution to sentience from an entirely different point of view and cleverly written to encompass great swathes of time with continuity. Who knew you could feel such empathy for spiders. And empathy is the fundamental message for us all if we are to not only survive, but also thrive.

33 people found this helpful

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Not great and fairly predictable.

The story seemed to have a good, if not original premise. The problem is that the two initially separate story arch's simply blunder along at a slow pace to one of two inevitable conclusions. At no point do you really think that outcome will be anything other than one of the two. I will say that the performance is very lack luster, and that is not likely to have helped in caring for any of the stories protagonists. Where in some books you can really feel the performer bring the parts to life (and as actual separate characters), this is not the case here. From the very outset her portrayal of most of the humans characters is exactly the same, and on the few occasions she deviates from this....she just comes across as uncomfortable. Is it worth a listen......not really

3 people found this helpful

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A Web of delight.

An interesting concept, very well carried off. A story that's engaging populated by interesting characters. I know more about spiders than ever before, but in a good way!
Superbly narrated by Mel Hudson.


15 people found this helpful

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  • HannahBeth
  • 09-08-19

Couldn't finish what should have been an amazing read

This book has an amazing story, and It starts out with all guns blazing. The premise was astoundingly brilliant and I was hooked.
But-halfway through-I had to abandon the book. Simply because I can. A well-written book would not allow me to do that! The story is cold. I honestly think some warmth and affection could redeem it. A character or two who hooks you and therefore guides you through the cold, empty, and lonely story spaces. But then again considering the storyline-it's a bit paradoxical, if the story is going for accuracy-then cold and lonely is accurately depicted.
I feel no connection to the characters. More annoyance than anything for their lack of development, and lack of development with each other. I think the author tries with Holsten and Lane, but it was not enough. I felt slightly affectionate for the spiders as they evolve and self-actualize-absolutely brilliant and a mirror to humanity-but I could not feel any real connection to them, and whenever it was their story's turn, I endured a cold, creepy feeling all throughout while imagining them.
But such technically intelligent concepts about space, technology, AI, evolution, and science. I can't help but be totally impressed by the author's knowledge and imagination. But-like the observation of so many other readers, the story needed better execution to pull it along and see it through.

119 people found this helpful

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  • Joshua
  • 02-09-20

Easily one of the best sci-fi books EVER.

I've been a sci-fi fan for 30+ years. I've read all the classics, and every new sci-fi book that gets decent reviews. I'm also an extremely unforgiving critic. So when I tell you that this book is genius, understand that I am NOT just throwing that word around.

This book has it all: characters that you can care about, a captivating plot, and oh. my. god.... maybe the most clever and thoughtful exploration of an alien concept that I've ever encountered. I mean "alien" here in the sense of foreignness--beyond and outside the scope of our world.

I rushed to write this review the instant I'd finished the book, because I just had to sing its praises.

It was a fascinating story from the start. I was guardedly impressed by the novelty of the plot. At MANY places along the way, I was just blown away by the brilliance of the story; just knocked out by how insightful the author was in building a world that was so completely different from anything I'd ever read or imagined, and how masterfully and logically and rationally that world was expanded.

And normally when an author is great at world building, it's at the expense of other aspects of the novel--- but not here! Here we have realistic and sympathetic characters. Here we good dialog. Here we beautiful prose. Here we have divergence from expected tropes. Here we have fantastic pacing. Here we have a compelling narrative. Here we have a fantastic plot arc.

I cannot understate how fantastic this book is. What a delight. What an absolute surprise. FIVE STARS IS NOT NEARLY ENOUGH.

32 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Debera
  • 20-12-18

Interesting Plot

Intersting story with a couple twists that keeps the listener engaged till the end. Unfortunately the narrator is a little flat when it comes to story telling. She was spot on with the character "Lane," but a limited repertoire when it came to differentiating the others.

42 people found this helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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  • Sean Vikoren
  • 30-07-20

Don't Bother

Science Fiction requires science. And that reqires study. A step that was clearly skipped .

16 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Kurt Schwoppe
  • 30-07-17

Fascinating Premise Within an Excellent Story

This is everything you expect from good Science Fiction. I love it when an author can take a potentially hokey storyline and turn it into a stunning work of believable fiction. A work of this type takes detailed knowledge and superior writing ability. Mostly this is a book about the known characteristics and behavior of a certain species, and how that species would hyper evolve with the right catalyst. But it also has some awesome hard science fiction involving terraforming, long distance space travel, and an number of other more common sci-fi themes. The science was logical throughout while the story remained unpredictable - a great combination. Sometimes female narrators struggle with male voices, but Mel Hudson does an excellent job. This book is at the top of my list so far for 2017, so it gets 5 stars across the board.

393 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Jarno
  • 16-05-17

A unique take on the alien

This was a very nice surprise. I read a lot of science fiction, and it's rare to come across a take on an alien society that is unique, and as well fleshed out as the author has achieved here.

The story concept is great, and the execution does not disappoint.

The start of the book didn't leave me expecting much - I found the main character in that early part pretty... cliche. Very glad to say that quickly got better though, much better.

328 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Simon
  • 17-06-17

A very pleasant surprise

What a pleasant surprise. I had never heard of this author and have become very hesitant to download books by authors new to me. In a time where the traditional barriers to publishing have crumbled, I tend to start with listening to the narrator in the sample on the premise that a talentless self publisher probably cannot afford a professional.

This is a well written and expertly narrated book. The premise interesting and the science believable. The characters are engaging and the storyline moves along at a nice pace.

Sorry for not giving away any of the storyline. Let's just say it's a story of humanity, survival, and some really intelligent mistakes. I enjoyed it and hope ypu will too.

463 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Michael G Kurilla
  • 24-06-17

All we need is enough time

Adrian Tchaikovsky's Children of Time presents an interesting take on intelligence development among insect species (mainly spiders) due to unintended human intervention. After an experiment designed to observe evolution at an accelerated pace in primates goes awry and Earth implodes itself, a colony ship is all that remains of humanity. While the terraformed world is lush and inviting, a psychotic human / AI chimera refuses to allow the last remnants of the human race to settle and forces them to wander, all the while slowly devolving, while the rapidly developing insect world is progressing through the stages of creating a sustainable civilization. With nowhere else to turn, humanity must make a play for the planet to survive.

The sci-fi elements are mainly centered around evolutionary biology and the development of intelligence and civilization. Intriguingly, spiders come to dominate with females being the dominant gender evolving as a mirror image of humanity. Rather than a random or artificial rationale for this development, the author identifies size (females being larger as a consequence of reproductive necessity) and the lack of need for child rearing duties as the basis for this development which provides a sharp juxtaposition and contrast relative to humanity. The devolution of humanity on the colony was less well handled and the final denouement was tending towards the preachy, but overall the tale is a fresh take on the evolution of intelligent life in a somewhat alien species without simply "aping" human developmental lines.

The narration was excellent overall with a solid range of voices of both genders. In addition, the insectoid vocals were handled nicely without resorting to nasal or flat affect renditions and rapid transitions between the human / AI chimera were skillfully relayed. This is a thought provoking tale that starkly portrays evolution as an unfeeling taskmaster without the concept of right or wrong, but rather only consequences.

213 people found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Kindle customer
  • 14-08-19

Predictable

Predictable humans bad, God is not real, couple of good humans are good because they are superior in thier progressive thoughts. I expect this in most Sci Fi books but it was over the top bad in this book. Probably would not have finished except it was going when I was working on a project and let play out hoping for improvement, never came. I will not listen to second one.

14 people found this helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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  • Ross
  • 27-12-19

Spiders in space!

What started out as a promising Sci-fi adventure evolved into biological space nonsense. Pass.

6 people found this helpful