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Review of Children of Time

I just finished Children of Time by Adrian Tchaikovsky. This is a science fiction novel my dad gave to me a couple years ago. I’ve said no to most of his offerings over the years but this book was first published in 2015 and it won some awards so due to its recent publication and accolades I thought I’d give it a shot. I’m glad I did.

The story takes place in the far future where humanity's inability to get along with itself ultimately led to its demise except for a poor few souls left on a starship travelling around the universe looking for a new home based on the science and exploration of the generations before them. That is half of the story. The other half of the story focuses on the evolution of a semi-alien species on a planet as they jump from generation to generation advancing their culture and technology along the way. This is obviously heading towards the eventual encounter of these two groups.

My favorite aspect of the book was the way it jumps through time. It was a feature reminiscent of the Forever War which I read years ago and loved. This story takes place over the course of thousands of years but due to some tricks the author has up his sleeve for both races it feels like relatively little time passes for the reader.

I loved the pacing of the book. Incredibly readable and but it was a little too long. The paperback version I read came in at 600 pages and I think this could have been cut by one to two hundred pages because right around page 400 I lost some interest and my reading slowed noticeably.

I don’t generally take away morals from stories but here I did as there seemed to be parallels to what our world looks like in the USA in 2020. Again, this story was published in 2015. First humanity will find a way to segment itself and fight itself to the detriment of each other and the planet over and over and over again. We can’t help ourselves. Second a virus plays a major role in the evolution of one society throughout the book. Then a virus which creates empathy is the only thing which can save the human race at the end of the book. Again, interesting stuff at a time where we’re all trying to figure out what the Covid-19 virus means for us our real world going forward.

Bottom line. Thumbs up.

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