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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)

Featured Article: 20 Best Sci-Fi Audiobooks for Exploring New Worlds

There is no genre that lends itself better to audio narrative than Science Fiction does. There is a magic that transports listeners to new worlds of wonder and mystery that is heightened by expert voice actors and narrators. A great writer can create an imaginative new world or dystopian civilisation, but it is up to the narrator to bring this world to life around you. We’ve gathered together 20 of the top science fiction audiobooks ranked not only for their stories but for the emotive and compelling narrative performances. Let these award winning tales and voices carry you away to worlds unknown.

What listeners say about Children of Time

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

SF masterwork in the style of Brin or Vinge

OK, wow. Occasionally a book comes along that makes me want to go back and downgrade all my previous 5-star reviews to 4-stars just so this one can be clearly ahead of all the rest. This is definitely that book. I picked it up fairly randomly on Audible and holy crap, this is an amazing masterwork. Apparently winner of the 2016 Arthur C. Clarke Award, and can we give it all the other awards too? If you enjoyed David Brin's Uplift Trilogy, if you enjoyed Diane Duane's spider scientist K't'lk, if you enjoyed Raising the Stones by Sherri Tepper .... then you will love this book, and love finding elements of all of these in it.

It starts with a clear nod to the Uplift Trilogy as the terraforming ship "Brin II" begins preparing a potential colony world for a long process of terraforming, ultimately with the hope of creating a new earthlike planet and "uplifting" monkeys using a custom nanovirus. Long story short - things don't go according to plan, either for the human race or the monkeys, nor for a charming and unusually intelligent species of jumping spider that turns out to be somewhat susceptible to the virus also.

The scope is literally epic, spanning millenia, and touching on humanity's self-destructive instincts, the end of the human race as we know it, space exploration, uplift, insane artificial intelligence, extremely sympathetic spider characters, and programming via ants (couldn't help wondering if this was a nod to Terry Pratchett also...) It is a LONG book, 16.5 hours in audio form and massive in scope, but beautifully written and I can't imagine any science fiction fan who enjoys authors like Brin and Vinge would not also enjoy this. But enough review writing, I must now go and read everything else by this author. #Audible1

19 people found this helpful

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Simply wonderful

I'm not sure if it's the wonderfully written semi hard SciFi, so deep her approachable, or the Rincewind in space feeling sub plot that really set this one apart, but it is smart and delightful and will make you think n giggle. try it

8 people found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Great expectations lost.

Interesting idea meets lost opportunity. So many windows on rich alien perspectives could have been opened but words were not enough. Combine an author's narrative style of mostly passive lecture with an unfortunate habit of recurrent nagging and no matter how well read the story I found my self day dreaming about my next book choice.

4 people found this helpful

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  • Ev
  • 2019-11-26

not enjoyable

Struggled to finish this book. It has a good, perhaps overly ambitious story line and kack character development, so I did not feel connected to any one of the characters, therefore not vested.

3 people found this helpful

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An original masterpiece!

incredibly well written and well performed story. one of the most original science fiction stories I've listened to in years. the narrator does an amazing job.

3 people found this helpful

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Overall, it was “okay”...?

So without giving anything away, this wasn’t a stand out book. The narration was decent. I think that the story didn’t afford the narrator the opportunity to shine.

Now, for the story itself... the human characters feel lacking. Very little depth to them. However the other characters in the story seem to have far more, and thus far more interesting.

It’s not a bad book, but it did have some elements that teasing that it could have been much better than it was.

3 people found this helpful

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Unique, fascinating and a bit confusing

The concept and time passage of this novel is ambitious and mostly successful. It’s an interesting thing, to read about the genesis of a sentient species so alien from our own. Star Trek fans would be impressed with that aspect of it. The cynicism about humanity though, I was not as much a fan of. The time jumps make following the story, at least listening to it, very difficult. I was often confused about time passage and by the time I caught up I felt like I’d missed important character beats. The spiders’ descendants were an interesting attempt to keep us engaged in characters with short lifespans, but because spiders are so alien, it really is difficult to empathize with them. That may be the point, but it also makes for difficult storytelling and I don’t think it’s always successful. The story on the Gilgamesh was a bit frustrating too, because for a human perspective it lacked humanity, or any kind of argument for humanities survival. As for the villain, Kern (unsure on the spelling), she doesn’t have much depth or much of an ending and her story is perhaps the most fascinating. Some really good ideas, a great reading from Hudson, but not much feeling. Hardcore science fiction fans looking for something unique might enjoy.

2 people found this helpful

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good beginning

the beginning is nice enough. but their is to much techno-magic going on with the spiders. it killed my suspension of disbelief. I skipped a full chapter toward the end, it was just useless tension building for a punch not quite that punchy.

2 people found this helpful

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One of the most boring adventures. Also SPIDERS

I am a major SciFi fan and this is the worst one I've listened to in year.
The timeline is a mess no idea what was going on really. The only concrete timeframe I got in the book was that the human were on a ship for 2500+ year

I have no idea how the author was able to fit in so many near spices ending events into one book and still make it boring. My thoughts became "I wonder how they are going to almost die this chapter"

It was also one of the most anti climactic and dumb endings. The only reason I got that far was because I don't like leaving a story unfinished. And a spoiler no big death event happens yet again

1 person found this helpful

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A sci-fi masterpiece

It's very creative, inventive and masterfully executed. The author can intertwine 2 tales at once.

1 person found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • HannahBeth
  • 2019-08-09

Couldn't finish what should have been an amazing read

This book has an amazing story, and It starts out with all guns blazing. The premise was astoundingly brilliant and I was hooked.
But-halfway through-I had to abandon the book. Simply because I can. A well-written book would not allow me to do that! The story is cold. I honestly think some warmth and affection could redeem it. A character or two who hooks you and therefore guides you through the cold, empty, and lonely story spaces. But then again considering the storyline-it's a bit paradoxical, if the story is going for accuracy-then cold and lonely is accurately depicted.
I feel no connection to the characters. More annoyance than anything for their lack of development, and lack of development with each other. I think the author tries with Holsten and Lane, but it was not enough. I felt slightly affectionate for the spiders as they evolve and self-actualize-absolutely brilliant and a mirror to humanity-but I could not feel any real connection to them, and whenever it was their story's turn, I endured a cold, creepy feeling all throughout while imagining them.
But such technically intelligent concepts about space, technology, AI, evolution, and science. I can't help but be totally impressed by the author's knowledge and imagination. But-like the observation of so many other readers, the story needed better execution to pull it along and see it through.

116 people found this helpful

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  • Joshua
  • 2020-09-02

Easily one of the best sci-fi books EVER.

I've been a sci-fi fan for 30+ years. I've read all the classics, and every new sci-fi book that gets decent reviews. I'm also an extremely unforgiving critic. So when I tell you that this book is genius, understand that I am NOT just throwing that word around.

This book has it all: characters that you can care about, a captivating plot, and oh. my. god.... maybe the most clever and thoughtful exploration of an alien concept that I've ever encountered. I mean "alien" here in the sense of foreignness--beyond and outside the scope of our world.

I rushed to write this review the instant I'd finished the book, because I just had to sing its praises.

It was a fascinating story from the start. I was guardedly impressed by the novelty of the plot. At MANY places along the way, I was just blown away by the brilliance of the story; just knocked out by how insightful the author was in building a world that was so completely different from anything I'd ever read or imagined, and how masterfully and logically and rationally that world was expanded.

And normally when an author is great at world building, it's at the expense of other aspects of the novel--- but not here! Here we have realistic and sympathetic characters. Here we good dialog. Here we beautiful prose. Here we have divergence from expected tropes. Here we have fantastic pacing. Here we have a compelling narrative. Here we have a fantastic plot arc.

I cannot understate how fantastic this book is. What a delight. What an absolute surprise. FIVE STARS IS NOT NEARLY ENOUGH.

30 people found this helpful

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  • Debera
  • 2018-12-20

Interesting Plot

Intersting story with a couple twists that keeps the listener engaged till the end. Unfortunately the narrator is a little flat when it comes to story telling. She was spot on with the character "Lane," but a limited repertoire when it came to differentiating the others.

42 people found this helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
  • Sean Vikoren
  • 2020-07-30

Don't Bother

Science Fiction requires science. And that reqires study. A step that was clearly skipped .

16 people found this helpful

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  • Kurt Schwoppe
  • 2017-07-30

Fascinating Premise Within an Excellent Story

This is everything you expect from good Science Fiction. I love it when an author can take a potentially hokey storyline and turn it into a stunning work of believable fiction. A work of this type takes detailed knowledge and superior writing ability. Mostly this is a book about the known characteristics and behavior of a certain species, and how that species would hyper evolve with the right catalyst. But it also has some awesome hard science fiction involving terraforming, long distance space travel, and an number of other more common sci-fi themes. The science was logical throughout while the story remained unpredictable - a great combination. Sometimes female narrators struggle with male voices, but Mel Hudson does an excellent job. This book is at the top of my list so far for 2017, so it gets 5 stars across the board.

393 people found this helpful

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  • Jarno
  • 2017-05-16

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.

328 people found this helpful

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  • Simon
  • 2017-06-17

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.

463 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Michael G Kurilla
  • 2017-06-24

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.

213 people found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Kindle customer
  • 2019-08-14

Predictable

Predictable humans bad, God is not real, couple of good humans are good because they are superior in thier progressive thoughts. I expect this in most Sci Fi books but it was over the top bad in this book. Probably would not have finished except it was going when I was working on a project and let play out hoping for improvement, never came. I will not listen to second one.

14 people found this helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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  • Ross
  • 2019-12-27

Spiders in space!

What started out as a promising Sci-fi adventure evolved into biological space nonsense. Pass.

6 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Alexandre GUETAT
  • 2021-08-12

To boldly go

I will boldly go start the next book in the series ! It was a great pleasure to listen to this story.

For anyone suffering from arachnophobia, a fair warning is in order, but for everyone else, just listen or read it, it is a magnificent piece of modern science fiction.

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  • Brian Katz
  • 2021-08-07

superb world building

Very well thought out concepts of non-human and human life. Engaging from start to finish.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 2021-01-27

Un classique contemporain

L'histoire se déroule de façon très satisfaisante, alternant entre les deux "espèces" et leur évolution. Cette évolution est justement ce qui fait le sel de ce roman et Tchaikovsky réussi à faire passer ses concepts de façon admirable. Les thèmes abordés sont passionnants : l'émergence de l'intelligence, le poid du temps passé, le besoin génétique de survie et de reproduction de la vie...
Comme souvent dans les romans SF avec un accent mis sur les concepts, les personnages sont un peu sous développés et l'action est plutôt rare mais ce n'est pas vraiment un problème. C'est plutôt dans la ligné Arthur C. Clarke si ça peut donner une idée du style de SF.
La narratrice est plutôt bonne sans faire partie des meilleures, les intonations de voix sont là et le rythme plaisant mais ça manque un peu de "mise en scène" peut être. je préfère des narrateurs un peu plus théâtraux mais c'est un goût personnel. L'enregistrement est quand à lui un peu bancal par moment, souvent j'ai eu besoin de monter le volume pour ensuite devoir le redescendre quelques minutes plus tard, mais cela reste un défaut mineur.
Dans l'ensemble je conseil vivement, je pense que ce roman va vite devenir un classique moderne !!

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  • Anonymous User
  • 2020-02-22

Loved it!

True syfy. I loved the details and the totaly different view of the world, humanity and evolution.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • dimitri sonier
  • 2019-11-17

Un pur chef d’oeuvre de la SF

L’histoire elle-même et la qualité de l’écriture emporteront à n’en pas douter tous les amateurs de SF.
La narratrice est excellente.
Pour ceux qui comme moi ne sont pas bilingues en anglais, je conseille de ralentir la narration.

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Mr Vincent SONG
  • 2019-03-18

prenant, visionnaire, mais aussi décevant ...

difficile d'expliquer sans spoilers... bref pas déçu de l'aventure, mais déçu par l'histoire :) j'ai bien aimé la lecture, par contre la fin semble bâclée et trop simpliste

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  • Rentomi
  • 2018-01-25

Une autre vision d'humanité

J'ai adoré. Une redéfinition de l'humanité. Une histoire raconté sur deux perspectives dont l'une a des milles de toute personification.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Dan A
  • 2017-08-09

Captivating and imaginative.

The amount of time which passes during this story is fantastic and kept me hooked to the tale. Listening at every opportunity to ideas and concepts which are unique and inspirational. Great listen, highly recommend.