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Children of Time

Narrated by: Mel Hudson
Series: Children of Time Series, Book 1
Length: 16 hrs and 31 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (4,031 ratings)

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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)

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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.

37 of 44 people found this review 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!

48 of 58 people found this review 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.

3 of 3 people found this review 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.

29 of 36 people found this review helpful

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  • D. Menashy
  • Bushey, London United Kingdom
  • 02-07-17

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.


10 of 13 people found this review helpful

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takes a while to get into the story line

once you do it's a great story and I love the character development and biological background

7 of 9 people found this review helpful

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imaginative

different from most scifi and in a good way. A familiar storyline but with a different treatment bringing alive something that could be abhorrent and making it real and acceptable. Engaging, riveting and enjoyable!

9 of 12 people found this review helpful

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A remarkable book

This is an excellent book, which I couldn’t stop listening to. Well conceived and expertly written, it is a real gem.

If you have a little arachnophobia probably not wise to listen at bed time!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Different but very solid sci-fi

This one had been in my list for a while, I’d meant to read the book years ago, but never did so I gave it a try with a credit.

It’s not your usual sci-fi romp of wars and aliens, and it’s not a ripping yarn that’ll keep you on edge with excitement, but it IS a very solid, intelligent take on how human lives would be impacted when stretched over thousands of years, and how an alternative evolutionary pathway might play out.

I personally enjoyed it and found it very enjoyable. But it’s not going to play out like Star Wars ;)

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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great novel fascinating idea

i found the pace was good enough to keep me entertained and the idea a good one. there was a twist at the end when game theory was turned on its head. i recommend as something not too heavy but good company as you drive around.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

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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.

305 of 328 people found this review helpful

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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.

406 of 446 people found this review helpful

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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.

267 of 295 people found this review helpful

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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.

162 of 182 people found this review helpful

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  • Anna gold
  • 25-02-18

Beyond inspiring

As a huge fan of science fiction I have read countless works by countless authors, non have ever touched me as this book. An understanding of life, in my opinion, has never been expressed so eloquently and so broad at the same time. This story is possibly a gateway to a new and improved perspective of humanity and of life itself. Amazing fantasy yet hopeful potential to be so much more. What we can achieve if only we can identify ourselves and the commonality between us and any other sentient being in the vast cosmos. A small, simple unique something that can bridge all the differences, that can connect to others and express one simple thought “This is us, we are like you”. This book deeply touches on all aspects of known and unknown qualities that make up our human intellectual capacity as well as those of other life forms. Then the question of “what can be achieved” is explored from a very unique alien yet familiar perspective. I cannot get enough of this book, and I pray that Adrien Tchaikovsky has planned more books along the same idea : “this is us” and what can we not reach together if we can break barriers of division. Beyond great, this book is a start in understanding more in every direction possible.

37 of 42 people found this review helpful

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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.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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  • Kirk
  • 07-12-17

Thought provoking, timely and optimistic

Adrian Tchaikovsky is a busy author. Children of Time is the first book of his I have read and visits a familiar landscape in contemporary sci-fi: the Earth is becoming unlivable and great ships are being built to send stores of humans to far off worlds to begin new, terraformed colonies.  In this story there are some fascinating wrinkles.

The story opens with a ceremony marking the beginning of a terraforming project on one such far off world. The point of view is the narcissistic designer of this world drearily waiting through the formalities of her grand plan being put into effect. At the penultimate moment the pilot of the lead ship reveals himself to be a saboteur, a man whose personal convictions are that humans should not be imposing their view of the Universe on unsuspecting worlds. His efforts result in the grand plan mostly failing and the designer escaping death by placing herself in a hibernation chamber.

The plan for this project centered on a proto-virus that was introduced into the planetary ecosystem. The intent was for it to act as a catalyst and accelerator for evolutionary development of monkeys who were also to be introduced. The idea was to inoculate the planet with these elements, wait a few thousand years then descend a world pre-populated with humans at an early technological age and live as gods.

The monkeys did not make it and though the proto-virus had constraints to keep it from affecting every species, because only the monkeys were supposed to be affected, it turns out the native spider and ant populations were affected.

Meanwhile, time passes for the Earth. A lot of time. Time enough for the fall of the technological greatness allowing such project, an ice age, and a rebirth of technology eventually allowing for a new series of colony ships to be built and sent out.

Time is everywhere in this story. We watch the spiders evolve on their planet. The humans traveling in their colony ship have a stasis like sleep which can last for hundreds of years. They are periodically woken by the ship when their input or expertise is required to deal with issues and return to sleep. It's a fascinating plot device that allows for characters to age at different rates and wake to completely different realities within the confines of the same ship they start in.

The inevitable meeting of the two species, humans and spiders, in space is entertaining and exciting. I've written before about an author's ability to tell a story without breaking my suspension of disbelief and Tchaikovsky manages it well with his telling of the battle that ensues.

There is a fair amount of what I consider contemporary commentary of issues of the day like power, fairness, equality and the effects of technology on life.

59 of 68 people found this review helpful

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  • B. Appel
  • 11-11-18

Bold and Different, but Slow & Unsatisfying

Credit to the author for using some familiar themes to craft an original storyline, but the pace moves at the speed of glacial ice. This could have easily even about 6 hours shorter. The ending was not what I expected, but also not very satisfying either.

10 of 11 people found this review helpful

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  • perezdev
  • 13-01-19

A bit rough in the beginning, but well worth the read.

It might just be me, but it was a little hard to follow along at the beginning of the book. But it picked up fast and ended up being a wonderful read.

What I really enjoyed about the book was my inability to predict what was going going to happen. The author had me on my toes the entire novel because of this. Every big twist and guess was just so far out from what I had in my mind. Really incredible novel.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 15-02-18

great premise, great narrator, lackluster writing

title. the narrator was frankly amazing.

The premise and ideas behind the story in this book were very interesting. the problem is the execution of the story left me wanting more. the universe and its details were not rich enough for me to feel like this story has actually taken place.

that being said, the ideas presented in this book make up for the lack of stellar writing. would recommend.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful