Anyone who has spent the odd moment or two glancing at my blog will know I’m a huge fan of Adrian Tchaikovsky – see my review of Children of Time here. So when I realised faaar too late that Himself had treated us to this novella, I immediately tucked into it…
After an unfortunate accident, Handry is forced to wander a world he doesn’t understand, searching for meaning. He soon discovers that the life he thought he knew is far stranger than he could even possibly imagine. Can an unlikely saviour provide the answers to the questions he barely comprehends?
This is another of Tchaikovsky’s interesting offerings where he provides us a rich, well-developed world through the eyes of Handry in an immersive first-person viewpoint. I really liked Handry – what happened to him was clearly very wrong and somehow the fact that it took a long time before the inevitable happened made it somehow worse… This is classic Tchaikovsky – what happens when an injustice occurs? How does this future colony cope with a victim of circumstance? For starters, you begin to see that Handry isn’t the only one on the raw end of a bad outcome – humanity is clearly struggling on a planet that was never designed for animals with our DNA. And over time, the increasingly beleaguered colony found a biological option to help humankind survive – hence the ghosts, a form of parasitic infestation that syncs the brain of the host with a skillset and knowledge that is no longer available to the average colonist.
And then he encounters Sharskin… I have read several reviews where the readers felt this was a predictable story. While I got a sense of exactly what we were looking at once they arrived at Sharkin’s settlement, I didn’t foresee what would happen next and the way in which Handry’s loyalty and sense of humanity would be tested. Because at the end of the day, this novella is all about one of Tchaikovsky’s major themes – a question he keeps coming back to in a variety of fascinating forms and forces his readers to ask – what does it mean to be human? What is the price you pay for your adherence to your code of behaviour? What happens when you turn your back on that code? What defines you, then?
I thoroughly enjoyed this clever, thought-provoking story and have found myself thinking about it quite a lot since I finished reading it, which surprised me rather. There’s something about Tchaikovsky’s writing that always gets into my inscape, leaving me pondering those questions he raises while telling a cracking story. Highly recommended for fans of colony adventures.
Thank you, Sassy – yes, I really enjoyed this one. But then – I generally do enjoy his writing…
I love the sound of this, and I’ve never read this author before. Maybe this would be a good place to start?
Oh yes – I think this would be an excellent place to access his writing, Tammy:)
I don’t usually read novellas but I could make an exception for this author and also for a story that delivers me a colony adventure.
It’s a good one, too…:)
I’m glad to hear this was another winning read from Tchaikovsky for you. I really love the cover, so many gorgeous details.
Which come from the depiction of the world Tchaikovsky describes… I do think he is one of our best SFF writers of his generation.
I love this author’s last name – what a promising name that is! Beautiful cover and wonderful review, Sarah. I’m definitely intrigued by this and want to learn more about colony adventures!
I believe he is actually related to the composer… And I have a real weakness for stories set on space colonies:))
Like you, I’m very fond of planet colonization stories, and this one sounds like it possesses something more besides the usual themes. Added to the “wanted” list – after Children of Time I’m ready for some more works from this author 🙂
Yes – there is always a great adventure story in his books, but the underlying themes always are what stay with me once I’ve walked away… Glad you enjoyed Children of Time so much:))
I read your review, Sarah, and I went and bought this book since it’s reasonably priced! I hate to admit I haven’t read anything by Adrian Tchaikovsky. Thanks for a good review
Oh that’s great! I really look forward to reading your reaction to the story:)).
Oooh. So glad you enjoy his work so highly. I think I have one of his books on my shelves. I really need to read him.
Do look him out if you get a moment – I’d love to hear what you think…
I was planning on getting to this one last year but it ended up slipping through the cracks! The first person PoV gives me hope that I’m going to connect with this a lot better than I did with Children of Time. 😀
I’d be very interested to hear what you think, Kathy. I can understand why Children of Time didn’t do it for you – the pov wasn’t necessarily that easy to get into.
I really need to try this author and series. Wonderful review and how delightful that Himself and you both enjoy the author.
Thank you, Kimberly:). Yes… Himself is a Keeper – we tend to enjoy a lot of the same books.
Sounds a lovely read to share with others!
Thank you, Jean – it’s certainly a gem for those who love colony adventures and exploring the nature of what makes humanity human.
Whenever I read your reviews, I tell myself, “I need to get back to Tchaikovsky,” but in the end, I never do for one reason or other. So thank you for those constant reminders in the form of your reviews. 🙂
Lol… it could also be looked at that I keep banging on about the same old authors:)). But I’m delighted that you find it helpful when I revisit new books by my posse of favourite writers!