Doctor Avrana Kern just wanted to save the human race.
A space station orbits a terraformed planet, destinied to be humanity’s new home. Aboard are some of the greatest scientific minds, including polymath Avrana Kern, whose life has been leading up to this moment, where a group of monkeys is to be delivered to the planet below along with a nanovirus designed to speed their evolution. And just as the moment is upon her, a saboteur destroys the space station and seemingly all hef life’s work.
But Kern manages to have the cargo delivered and gets herself into an escape pod just as the station explodes, killing everyone else. Thousands of years later, the last humans arrive in an arc ship to the planet but Kern, driven mad by all the years of cryo-stasis and solitude, bans them from making the new planet their home. Further, the monkeys all died and Kern’s World is now inhabited by super-intelligent spiders.
And that’s just the first few pages.
Children of Time is a fantastic page-turner of a multi-generational science fiction novel, exciting to the very last paragraph. Tchaikovsky has created something amazing here, with chapters about spider politics (as odd as that sounds) that are just as exciting as chapters about the world’s last humans attacking a roving satellite holding a mad human/AI hybrid with superior firepower. While the theme is our dismal treatment of the planet we live on, to the point that we may be destroying it, and our inability to stop killing each other, he leaves it in the background, choosing story over the underlying message of pacifism and environmentalism that would be easy to draw out in a book of this scope. But no. Tchaikovsky gives a stunning and intelligent page turner with a focus on story