Nicholas (nwhyte) wrote,

Children of Time, by Adrian Tchaikovsky

Second paragraph of third chapter:
Eliza mode! she managed to instruct, feeling queasy, bloated, constipated and overstimulated all at once as the machinery of the coffin laboured to bring her back to something resembling active life.
I thought this was a tremendous book. It combines loads of different SF themes - the starship whose population are mostly in hibernation, and whose society degenerates; a very non-human civilisation; a couple of AIs who find themselves adapting to a new situation (I hate anthropomorphic robots, but these AIs go in a very different direction). On top of that, the plot is intricate and well thought out; and although I did see the ending coming, I wasn't at all sure I had guessed right until the last coupleof chapters. I will look out for the others in the series. You can get this one here.

This won the Arthur C. Clarke Award in 2016, the year after I was a judge. The other shortlisted novels were Arcadia, by Iain Pears; The Book of Phoenix, by Nnedi Okorafor; Europe at Midnight, by Dave Hutchinson; The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet, by Becky Chambers; and Way Down Dark, by J. P. Smythe. I've read two of those and loved them both, but I think if I had been a judge in 2016 as well, I'd probably have chosen Children of Time ahead of either. I am surprised to note that it got no other nominations.

Of the awards that I particularly track, the other winning novels of that year were The Fifth Season, by N. K. Jemisin (Hugo), Uprooted, by Naomi Novik (Nebula); The House of Shattered Wings, by Aliette de Bodard (BSFA) and Lizard Radio, by Pat Schmatz (Tiptree). I have not read the last of these, but preferred Children of Time to the other four.

This was my top unread book acquired in 2017. Next on that pile is The Last Days of New Paris, by China Miéville.
Tags: bookblog 2019, sf: clarke award

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