Children of Ruin by Adrian Tchaikovsky
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I admit that I was afraid that this might not have turned out as good ... as brilliant ... as the Children of Time, but now that I've read it, I'm happy to say that I'm very happy indeed.
We left our spider/human crew off to explore new worlds and peoples and guess what they found?
A new world and multiple alien species. :) We have all the goodness of Dr. Kern, her ants, the Portias, and the human crew stumbling face first into a free-for-all (or close enough), reacting very badly to the news that HUMANS had come.
*facepalm* Of course. Fortunately, it only gets better from here. We have two timelines and several generations to catch up with, beginning with human terraformers making mistakes, playing with making new life, AGAIN, or I should say, AS USUAL, and never quite making the required leap between keeping control on their projects and throwing caution to the wind. This sequence was fascinating as hell to me. If you love squiddies, you're going to love this novel. I did. :)
When we get to the linguistics and math and just trying to salvage a real clusterpluck of several first-contact scenarios with what SHOULD have been a great starting point with what we already accomplished with intelligent spiders and humans, I really got the feeling like this was shaping up to be a full-on horror novel. I kept thinking about Greg Bear's Blood Music. With all the cool bits intact. And my goodness, I fell head-over-heels. The squiddies are like what a civilization would be like if all you had was the squabbling vibrancy of the best and worst features of our internet turned into a full-on species. Crank it up, make them intelligent but too passionate and flighty for their own good, and you might get a pretty neat idea about what we're dealing with. :)
I love it. :)
This is one of the more original SF novels to come out in a long time along with the Children of Time. In a long line of novels that all seem to be riffing on mostly the self-same themes, these two books break so many molds and fly so very high above the rest. :)
Tchaikovsky put heart and soul into these and for that, I salute him. :) FANTASTIC IDEAS RUN RAMPANT! :) :) :)
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