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Children of Time Audiobook

Children of Time

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Publisher's Summary

Adrian Tchaikovksy's critically acclaimed stand-alone novel Children of Time is the epic story of humanity's battle for survival on a terraformed planet.

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?

©2016 Adrian Tchaikovsky (P)2017 Audible Ltd

What the Critics Say

"Children of Time is a joy from start to finish. Entertaining, smart, surprising and unexpectedly human." (Patrick Ness)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.5 (2793 )
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4.5 (2608 )
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  •  
    Simon Auckland, New Zealand 06-17-17
    Simon Auckland, New Zealand 06-17-17 Member Since 2017
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    "A very pleasant surprise"

    What a pleasant surprise. I had never heard of this author and have become very hesitant to download books by authors new to me. In a time where the traditional barriers to publishing have crumbled, I tend to start with listening to the narrator in the sample on the premise that a talentless self publisher probably cannot afford a professional.

    This is a well written and expertly narrated book. The premise interesting and the science believable. The characters are engaging and the storyline moves along at a nice pace.

    Sorry for not giving away any of the storyline. Let's just say it's a story of humanity, survival, and some really intelligent mistakes. I enjoyed it and hope ypu will too.

    60 of 67 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jarno Helsinki, Finland 05-16-17
    Jarno Helsinki, Finland 05-16-17 Member Since 2012
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    "A unique take on the alien"

    This was a very nice surprise. I read a lot of science fiction, and it's rare to come across a take on an alien society that is unique, and as well fleshed out as the author has achieved here.

    The story concept is great, and the execution does not disappoint.

    The start of the book didn't leave me expecting much - I found the main character in that early part pretty... cliche. Very glad to say that quickly got better though, much better.

    22 of 26 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jim "The Impatient" 07-07-17 Member Since 2016
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    Story
    "THE HUMANS ARE COMING"

    THE PROCESS BY WHICH NEW UNDERSTANDING WAS NOT LAID DOWN WAS NOT UNDERSTOOD
    This is an excellent book, but is not for everyone. I would call this semi-hard science fiction. A lot of it involves biology and many are not fans. Imagine playing Sid Meir's Civilization with insects. There are shades of many well know writers in this eons long epic. I thought of David Brin's UPLIFT trilogy, Harry Harrison's WEST OF EDEN trilogy, Kim Stanley Robinson's RED MARS, BLUE MARS, GREEN MARS, Stephen Baxter's ARK and EVOLUTION, Isaac Asimov's FOUNDATION, with hints of Alastair Reynolds, Greg Bear, Gregory Benford and Neal Stephenson, with a character created similar to the Bob's in Dennis E. Taylor's BOBIVERSE. Don't get too excited, there are no talking beer cans, no levity, just old fashioned science. I enjoy both types and I enjoy anything to do with biology.

    GIRLS WILL BE GIRLS
    I especially like the way Adrian handled the uplift of spiders. He made them more intelligent, but he did not turn them into humans. They maintained their spiderness throughout the book. A world of civilized spiders that were dominated by females, had to be especially challenging.

    Howard Zinn
    Some reviewers have a problem in the negative view of the human race. I don't want to spoil the ending, but I agreed with it. If you have read Howard Zinn's History book, than you know where I am coming from.

    THAT'S THE PROBLEM WITH IGNORANCE, YOU CAN NEVER KNOW TO WHAT EXTENT YOU ARE IGNORANT ABOUT
    As a whole, I loved this book, but I had a few tiny grievances. Races are not mentioned, matter of fact few people are described physically at all, which is good. I hate when I am reading a book, picturing a character in my mind and than the author says they have blond hair are some other physical attribute which makes me alter the character well set in my mind. What the author did do through the naming of characters and the English used (and the narrator agrees) was make them all British. The last 500,000 humans are all British. The uplifted spiders are British. The deranged scientist is British. I don't believe England even has a space program and besides, as things stand today, the future space adventurers will be Chinese or even Japanese. I also did find the book to be a slight too long. Towards the end my mind did do some wondering. I loved the ending, but leading to that I slept listened for a while.

    Narrator
    I have to mention Mel Hudson. Her work is fantastic. I was very impressed and will be seeking her out in the future.

    157 of 189 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Michael G Kurilla ROCKVILLE, MD, United States 06-24-17
    Michael G Kurilla ROCKVILLE, MD, United States 06-24-17 Member Since 2017
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    "All we need is enough time"

    Adrian Tchaikovsky's Children of Time presents an interesting take on intelligence development among insect species (mainly spiders) due to unintended human intervention. After an experiment designed to observe evolution at an accelerated pace in primates goes awry and Earth implodes itself, a colony ship is all that remains of humanity. While the terraformed world is lush and inviting, a psychotic human / AI chimera refuses to allow the last remnants of the human race to settle and forces them to wander, all the while slowly devolving, while the rapidly developing insect world is progressing through the stages of creating a sustainable civilization. With nowhere else to turn, humanity must make a play for the planet to survive.

    The sci-fi elements are mainly centered around evolutionary biology and the development of intelligence and civilization. Intriguingly, spiders come to dominate with females being the dominant gender evolving as a mirror image of humanity. Rather than a random or artificial rationale for this development, the author identifies size (females being larger as a consequence of reproductive necessity) and the lack of need for child rearing duties as the basis for this development which provides a sharp juxtaposition and contrast relative to humanity. The devolution of humanity on the colony was less well handled and the final denouement was tending towards the preachy, but overall the tale is a fresh take on the evolution of intelligent life in a somewhat alien species without simply "aping" human developmental lines.

    The narration was excellent overall with a solid range of voices of both genders. In addition, the insectoid vocals were handled nicely without resorting to nasal or flat affect renditions and rapid transitions between the human / AI chimera were skillfully relayed. This is a thought provoking tale that starkly portrays evolution as an unfeeling taskmaster without the concept of right or wrong, but rather only consequences.

    34 of 37 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Glenn 05-11-17
    Glenn 05-11-17 Member Since 2014
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    "Yep that was pretty Good"

    Finally an mature sci fi. No flag waving boots on the ground. Just very smart.

    21 of 26 people found this review helpful
  •  
    The Zombie Specialist Secret Fortress 07-09-17
    The Zombie Specialist Secret Fortress 07-09-17 Member Since 2016
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    "I want more!"

    Crazy people – deep space travel – artificial intelligence – search for life – human attempts to interfere in the process of evolution – end of the world… all within the first chapter! What more could you ask for?

    Zombies! That would have been awesome!

    But alas… even without zombies I loved this one. Because at the heart of this amazing story is the basic human desire for security, self-worth and significance. In all of the far-fetched extremes of the story is something all of us can relate to. I forgot to mention there is also a love story, and mutant spiders!

    In regards to the narrator. I can report that there is nothing to say other than the usual ‘I turned it up to 1.25x speed’. But that wasn’t a drama because the length of this one is over 16 hours. Giving the listener great dollar per hour value! I would have no hesitation with purchasing a title narrated by Mel Hudson.

    Adrian Tchaikovsky is an awesome story writer. The imagination needed to come up with this one is incredible. Things did speed up dramatically towards the end. Which honestly I felt was a shame, because it could have easily been fleshed out more and made into two parts. I liked it that much I would be willing to pay more for an extended version. That is saying a lot because I am the cheapest person you could ever meet. I am so cheap I let my hair fall out to save on haircuts.

    This very cheap fatman is giving this one two BIG thumbs up and a loud and long ‘Heeeeeeeeeeey’

    27 of 34 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Laura A Despres 06-07-17 Member Since 2012
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    "Brilliant"

    Really well thought out very different and unique. The start may come off as slow but its worth it once things get going.

    12 of 14 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Brock Miron 06-16-17
    Brock Miron 06-16-17 Member Since 2017
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    "Absolutely spellbinding!"

    Had zero expectations, heard it was a good read. Blew me away. Incredible writing, engaging story, world building is amazing. 6 out of 5

    7 of 9 people found this review helpful
  •  
    logicwins 06-04-17
    logicwins 06-04-17 Member Since 2015
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    "Absolutely fantastic book"

    This book is so well written and intelligent. For me, this was the perfect book. Fantastic characters, amazing plot. Great performance. I'd say more but I wouldn't want to spoil anything. One of the best books I have read in a long time, I needed a smart, thoughtful, and believable story like this.

    12 of 15 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer Birmingham, Alabama United States 05-18-17
    Amazon Customer Birmingham, Alabama United States 05-18-17 Member Since 2010
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    "Great Narrator and a good if flawed story"
    What made the experience of listening to Children of Time the most enjoyable?

    The narrator is excellent. I really enjoyed listening. The story is at times excellent but at other times it is very flawed where its motivations and portrayals of HUman nature are concerned.


    Any additional comments?

    The story is an excellent and compelling idea with one huge flaw that appears right at the beginning. The author seems to have a very black, almost cliche view of what motivates humanity, its response to the strange and unknown and does not even allow them the ability to understand blindingly obvious observations. The lead character of the book is timid, essentially contributes nothing aside from internal dialogue and in the end is unable to even suggest what he has already figured out as a result of a combination of cowardice and insecurity.

    It was frustrating to have listened to 14 hours only to have the book end with the humans still unable to comprehend the most basic of things. They are supposed to have lifted themselves up from tragedy yet do not in any way reflect the necessary growth in perspective nor driving curiosity that had to be present for them to have restored so much of their lost civilization. The reasons and methods of humanity's initial collapse are very thin. To the point of contrivance.

    I can see why so many consider this a great book. It smacks of the kind of great sci-fi you would find in the 60's and 70's. The problem is that where other great authors recognized the breath of Human emotion, experience and capacity with in their characters, or at least had a counter-balance, this book from beginning to end seems to exist on the premise that all humans do is attack what they do not know and will always destroy vs investigate or explore other possibilities.

    It seems not to far a leep to think the author views HUmanity in a very narrow way and does not recognize our ability to deduct or take seriously any potential reaction than to attack all that is strange before ever trying to understand it. At the very least I find it unlikely in the extreme that people who lifted themselves out of near extinction as a result of a turning on each other, would so easily always turn to violence to solve problems. I really think that if the author had shown more balance in the scope of human emotion, motivations and capacity for curiosity this book would truly shine. Instead, almost as if the author simply thinks Mankind is nothing but a bunch of monkey destroyers, Humans have to be genetically modified to accept the strange and unusual.

    If you do not mind having a lot of essentially, "Human bad all else good" you will like this book to the end. As for others, if they are honest with themselves, they will see how almost from the beginning every human is frankly a violent idiot. It is largely because of the last two hours that I found the story to be broken where motivation.

    I don't know how to present this book to others. One is the dystopian view of humanity, One is the uplifting view but everything seems to come down to problems with the very poor dialogue and a poor understanding of the breath of HUman potential. It is almost written as if the author lives a very sheltered existence and thus does not any potential potential for Humans.

    Be prepared to dislike the last two hours after spending 14+ hours listening to the book.

    37 of 53 people found this review helpful
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  • Damo
    5/31/17
    Overall
    Performance
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    "Brilliant"

    I enjoyed the originality of this book. It is told in such a way that I found myself rooting for both sides, and I felt the development of an 'alien' intelligence that is derived from something not alien at all was particularly interesting. The means by which the author deals with untold generations of spiders cohesively is also very clever.

    My thanks to Adrian Tchaikovsky, and to Mel Hudson for bringing me on such an exciting, unpredictable journey. I highly recommend this book and will be looking out for more work from this author.

    7 of 7 people found this review helpful
  • Vickster
    6/14/17
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    "A beautiful take on evolution and hope"

    Loved this. Was a deeply satisfying story of humanity and something else... Wonderfully thought out intricacies of the evolution to sentience from an entirely different point of view and cleverly written to encompass great swathes of time with continuity. Who knew you could feel such empathy for spiders. And empathy is the fundamental message for us all if we are to not only survive, but also thrive.

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • Simon
    Somewhere between a pair of headphones.
    5/11/17
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Tchaikovsky is still writing Symphonies!"

    This is genuine high-quality science fiction, in terms of pacing it's probably closer to Heinlein than Scalzi or Star Wars but it's innovative, well thought-out and fairly challenging. It's definitely at the thinking reader's end of sci-fi.

    It has to be a clever book that gets you rooting for spiders and sympathising with them. This book covers issues of morality, decency, survival and has probably one of the most unique treatments of the age-old battle of the sexes I have ever read.

    The treatment of time and lifespan is equally clever. There are almost three distinct timelines here. The relatively short-lived spiders together with the humans being able to engage in various uses of suspended animation could have resulted in a real mess with dozens and dozens of varied characters. I thought this was particularly well-covered with the implementation of a logical mechanism to provide consistency of character among the arachnids and longevity with key humans.

    Mel Hudson does a fine job of the narration, no easy task this one making this in all a very high quality entry to the genre and I would echo Carl's thought's that we need more of this author on Audible. It seems Tchaikovsky is still writing Symphonies!

    12 of 15 people found this review helpful
  • C
    7/7/17
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    Performance
    Story
    "Very clever!"

    Imaginative and thought provoking. Loved it! Science fiction with a new take! Really could believe in characters and scenarios even when very alien.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Max
    Bristol, United Kingdom
    7/6/17
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Cool concept but average execution"
    Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

    I think I would use it in conversation because it raised some great discussion points, but no i would not recommend it to a friend. The narrator is really bland, and the writing, which showed promise in the first few chapters with the introduction of the first spider hunting in the terraformed world, it sloped off massively and never really recovered.


    Would you be willing to try another book from Adrian Tchaikovsky? Why or why not?

    Adrian Tchaikovsky would probably write good films. The book has a good cinematic feel to it and I really can see this book being adapted to the big screen, web cities, space battles with sentient spiders, hypersleep, ant colony supercomputers etc. But his skills as a writer leave much to be desired. I didn't care about any of the characters with the exception of the early hunting spiders in the jungle and Fabian, the male spider fighting for emancipation. The characterisation of even the human characters was sluggish and frustrating, and at the conclusion I found myself really ambivalent to who ended up on top. So thanks but no thanks.


    Would you be willing to try another one of Mel Hudson’s performances?

    Hell no. She's boring after the first chapter, her accents are laughable, and her dramatic monologue performances were really embarrassing.


    Was Children of Time worth the listening time?

    It was worth half the listening time. Some really cool concepts in it, I really liked the stuff about ants and the early hunting scenes, also charting the rise of a civilisation under different circumstances. But sadly no I think I would take back about 8 of those hours.


    7 of 9 people found this review helpful
  • Andreas Molgaard
    6/12/17
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    Performance
    Story
    "outstanding storytelling"

    I haven't yet finished but am deeply impressed with the narratives, the books vision, attention to detail and excellent dramatisation I've read A LOT of good sci fi but this one is among the best ones.

    4 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • Gary Sereno
    9/25/17
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Good book, but at times forced."

    I do like the concept behind this story and for much of the book it works well. However it at times also feels forced and some of the characters do not seem to fit roles that were meant to have been psychometrically assessed (as is explained behind the selection for one of the characters).
    While towards the end it feels expected, partly due to it's forced nature, it also was not wholly predictable, which was nice.
    Narration was decent, again not great, but certainly above average, which seems to just fit in with this book.

    If you're after an exceptional story, I personally would recommend you give this one a miss, however if you want a decent book, which is slightly different, then this could be a tale for you.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Fiona
    7/7/17
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Fabulous!"

    This was a really fabulous book. A well thought out story, beautifully read, and nothing at all predictable about it. I have a strong feeling that this is one of the few books I'll come back to many times, and find something new each time I do.

    We follow effectively three different stories that are all woven together and come to a brilliant climax at the end.
    Earth has been abandoned so humans have set off into space looking for a new home. We follow two distinct groups of humans - from completely different cultures, who left at very different times - and then the third element is a completely different civilisation that grows up on an alien world.

    The three strands are woven together and over the time span of the book they are very cleverly brought together to create a really compelling tale - following the achievements and set-backs of each of the three groups, and we watch as their civilisations evolve.

    Ultimately they all come together, and we're taken through what happens when the alien races and civilisations meet. Adrian Tchaikovsky tells the story with great compassion for each of the three groups, and I don't suppose it's possible to not feel empathy for all of them. The narration is perfect for the book, a very nice match.

    Highly recommended.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • D. Menashy
    Bushey, London United Kingdom
    7/2/17
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "A Web of delight."

    An interesting concept, very well carried off. A story that's engaging populated by interesting characters. I know more about spiders than ever before, but in a good way!
    Superbly narrated by Mel Hudson.


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • carl
    5/6/17
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Loved this book right must read for all scifi fas"

    I really enjoyed the description of the evolving alien spider race, I loved how different this was to other scifi books and the way the author tries to describe and bring to life in a believable way..

    Id highly recommended this book to any scifi fans.

    Again I'm frustrated this author has no more books avaliable on audible!

    9 of 13 people found this review helpful

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