CHILDREN OF RUIN / AUTHOR: ADRIAN TCHAIKOVSKY / PUBLISHER: ORBIT / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW
Adrian Tchaikovsky’s award-winning novel Children of Time took the sci-fi world by storm. The thrilling environmental tale of uplifted spiders, human greed and long forgotten wisdom made many readers aware of Adrian’s work, so much so that Lionsgate are developing the novel as a movie.
As such, the follow up novel Children of Ruin has a lot of expectations to live up to. Though the book carries on where the last one left off, it’s very much its own story and you could read it as a stand-alone if you wished. The premise sees Humanity and their many legged allies go on a mission to Nod, another victim of mankind’s previous planetary colonisation efforts. Humanity after all was able to do this before and now has a host of lovely intelligent spider friends. What could go wrong?
The tale is presented much in the same way as it’s predecessor – we get one story set in the past, with the failed colonisation efforts from an ancient and desperate Earth. This time though, a whole different set of things went wrong. Much like the first book we get uplifted animals and a strong conservation/environmental message, but also a healthy dose of body horror and weird fiction added for good measure. The galaxy it seems, is not just simply filled with humans and intelligent creatures from Earth. Stranger life thrives in distant places.
Tchaikovsky has created a sequel not by writing more of the same, but by picking the more interesting ideas from the previous novel and adding darker twists throughout. He also picks up on the consequences of Children of Time. It’s all very well than Humans and the super-intelligent jumping spiders get on, but communication and cultural exchanges are still a little tricky. This allows the story to dive straight into how hard cross-species communication would be, many pages before we encounter how Humanity deals with the inhabitants of Nod.
This layered style is means that we get a series of slow reveals. We keep reading for the cool science and the adorable interactions between the various creatures, all the while being shocked and awed by the weirder turns of this tale. It is a worthy successor to Children of Time, and we are curious to see if there is more to come.