The Doors of Eden by Adrian Tchaikovsky
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I just read one of my new favorites not just for this year... but perhaps for this entire decade.
Or rather, let's just scratch that and say it's one of my favorites.
Adrian Tchaikovsky himself said, about this book, "I have quite the trip in store for readers," and he wasn't joking around. The opening seems rather scientific and dry, and perhaps some people will appreciate the little primer on evolutionary science through deep time, the first building blocks of life through Earth's current cycle.
Hell, I was personally wondering what the hell it had to do with anything. Of course, with a little patience, it turns out to have EVERYTHING to do with EVERYTHING.
Adrian Tchaikovsky has repeatedly brought OTHER intelligent life to us in so many different forms and thought patterns. Just look at Children of Time (intelligent spiders butting heads with humans) or Children of Ruin (that includes intelligent squid) in a full space opera. Or let's look at his fantasy series with tons of animals (and insects) with their own societies in an epic fantasy! He has a thing for biology. And he takes it further in Doors of Eden than he's taken it anywhere else.
This book is simultaneously MORE accessible, more down-to-earth Modern Earth, than any other book (not including novellas) that he's ever written. But it is ALSO one of the hardest SF novels he's ever written.
Yeah. That tickles me to death, too. How can it be light and heavy at the same time? Because he pulls in real science, truly fantastically creative speculation on how Earth's own species could arise to intelligence if luck had JUST been on their side, and he wraps it all up with excellent modern technothriller sensibilities.
I can't even begin to count how many tropes Tchaikovsky brings in to stand on their head, change forms, and then come back out like a cyborg of its original form.
Or, I COULD, but then I'd be simply listing all the fantastic ideas and how he made them even more fantastic and how the novel kept growing and growing and growing in scope until I felt like it had forever ruined the best aspects of Sliders for me while also sticking a fork in the best First Contact novels I've ever read. :)
To sum up... this book should win all the awards. It's not only accessible, but it does all the Hard-SF ideas justice.
View all my reviews