Later … Lee would explore the literary tradition where ‘monster’ was a metaphor: the monstrosity inside us all along … that wasn’t the kind of monster she and Mal had encountered. They met the other kind, with terrible claws and savage teeth. And how many other cryptid-hunters had experienced that moment … realizing that the true joy was in the quest. The actual finding holds only terror and loss.

The Doors of Eden by Adrian Tchaikovsky

Far out dude, I’m sitting here jealous that I did not write this, and also jealous that I don’t live in the alternative universe where me and my school mates did grow up to be ufologists and cryptid-hunters … which would have been shit, of course, but I won’t let that get in the way of my jealousy.

I bought “Children of Time” years ago and started to read it. I noted the reference to David Brin in the first line, which turned out to be completely appropriate in a book that was all about uplift, including an unexpected and in retrospect millenia overdue uplift at the end. However, it felt dumb. While I am not particularly impressed by prizes, after it won the Arthur C Clarke award, I picked it up again, thinking, maybe I was wrong, maybe I missed something. Boy I am glad that I did. What felt dumb was simply rushed, and for good reason. It was a dramatic start, clearing the decks (sort of literally) and setting up the world of spiders, which I had not got to before giving up the first time. Bad David.

“Children of Time” was a lot of fun – yes, unrealistic, unlikely, but deliberately designed to give free reign to its premise, and to consider what it would be like to be a thinking spider. I enjoyed it so much that I have been buying all of the Tchaikovsky’s ever since. I read “Dogs of War”, a book which literally deserves the title more than Frederick Forsyth’s effort of the same name, because it actually has dogs, and bees, and other critters of war. The tragic canine reminded me of the half man in Paolo Bacigalupi’s “The Drowned Cities”. This was even more fun for me, as it includes a trial scene set in the International Criminal Court, and I was reading it after I had just finished working at said court for two years. The joyous happenstance continued. I read “Children of Ruin” with its truly alien molluscs, after reading the remarkable “Other Minds” by Peter Godfrey-Smith, and wasn’t that fortuitous. I read “Cage of Souls”, a sort of cross between Papillon and Gene Wolfe’s Severian novels.

And now I am reading and am very bloody jealous of “The Doors of Eden”. Hmmph. Fun. Hmmph.

(OK, what I really, really hate are bios like this: “For reasons unclear even to himself, (Adrian) subsequently ended up in law … and now writes full time”. I am exploding with hate. And still reading The Doors of Eden.)


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