I bought this book on a whim from Amazon when buying something else (probably knitting related, because why not?). Something about it intrigued me from the moment I saw the advert for it. I have to say I wasn’t let down in any sense of the word – except in how long it took me to finish!
A race for survival among the stars… Humanity’s last survivors escaped earth’s ruins to find a new home. But when they find it, can their desperation overcome its dangers?
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?
There are so many post-apocalyptic space novels out there. Some are rather questionable, like The 100, and some are ingenious, like Planet of the Apes. Children of Time, for me, falls into the ‘ingenious’ side of things. The world building was immense – literally Space: the Final Frontier. Except there’s no-one else out there.
I think what makes this book stand out in many ways – aside from the story telling itself – is the use of ‘real’ science fiction. Space is harsh. Time is short. The ship is built to last, the human travellers stored in cryogenic sleep as ‘cargo’. One of the things that really stood out for me was the use of time, and how it felt like it was passing. The book is set of several hundred centuries, possibly even a millennia or two. [It was hard to keep up with it, if I’m honest] – but it was set out as though only a few weeks or even a month had passed.
Holsten, our main character is woken from his sleep several times throughout the journey, experiencing the weeks rather than the years. He is one of the few that studied the Old Empire – the Earth of nowadays that destroyed itself, and left Holsten’s people to inherit a poisoned Earth. In the few times that he is woken up, there’s some new problem to deal with – an Old Empire satellite that’s just a little bit deadly and doesn’t like to share, megalomaniac commanders that want to live forever in the computer, the creation of the ship wide Tribe, the constant threat of the failure and the loss of the human race. Love. His own child – except not really as she exists only as an embryo in stasis. The woman he comes to love grown old with command whilst he’s been in his own stasis.
In a concurrent storyline we’re introduced to the spiders. Exposed to a nano virus from the Old Empire they’ve become intelligent and formed a society. They’ve become scholars, hunters, fighters, scientists, leaders, biochemical engineers. They are a species that overcome their own evolutionary setbacks – eating the male after mating for instance – to become the dominant species, to rule the roost.
The spiders were probably my favourite part of the story, the way that they evolved from hunter to societal wonders. Although – don’t read about intelligent spiders before bed. They will invade your dreams! Portia, Bianca, Fabian they were definitely the highlights. We were treated with insights into their world, their development from conquering others – the ants – developing religion – the Messenger – developing an equal society – matriarchal society dominating for the longest of times – being a tolerant society – which is something that is key to the ending, and certainly something that I didn’t see coming.
That ending – it wasn’t what I expected, and very much in a good way. For a start I couldn’t pick a side to win the war – the spiders were my favourite part of the book, but I still had to root for the human races survival!
was such a good read. The only downside for me was that it took such a long time for me to get through it. [Life, job, knitting]. That – and I couldn’t quite figure how big the spiders were. I think they became quite big, but then the humans were referred to as giants, so who knows?
If you enjoy space travel novels, the post-apocalyptic survival, and science fiction at it’s best, then give this book a go. One of the best books that I’ve read in a while!
What are you reading at the moment?