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Reviews by Contributor: Tchaikovsky, Adrian (15)

Voices in My Head

Children of Ruin  (Children of Time, book 2)

By Adrian Tchaikovsky 

30 Jul, 2019

Space Opera That Doesn't Suck

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2019’s Children of Ruin is the second book in Adrian Tchaikovsky’s Children of Time series. 

Before it annihilated itself, Earth’s first great technological civilization dispatched starships to nearby star systems, there to terraform promising worlds. Millennia later, Earth’s second great technological civilization also dispatched starships. The purpose was not to reshape worlds according to humanity’s whim, but to escape the deadly trap Earth had become. 

Nobody expected to find a planet full of portiids, genetically engineered intelligent spiders, but humans were convinced… compelled, really, to come to terms with the unintended products of Avrana Kern’s bold uplifting efforts. The starship Voyager is the product of the unexpected partnership, crewed by humans, portiids, and an emulation of the long-dead Kern, dispatched to explore a neighbouring star system. Who knows what wonders await them? 


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To Fall Down At Your Door

Walking to Aldebaran

By Adrian Tchaikovsky 

3 Jun, 2019

Space Opera That Doesn't Suck

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Adrian Tchaikovsky’s Walking to Aldebaran is a standalone science fiction novella. 

Lucky Gary Rendell has realized his childhood dream of being an astronaut! Even better, what was thought to be Planet Nine has turned out to be an enigmatic alien artifact and Gary has been assigned to the joint mission dispatched to examine the massive structure. 

Marvels wait inside. 


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One, Two, Make It Fun

Spiderlight

By Adrian Tchaikovsky 

14 Dec, 2018

A Dozen by Tchaikovsky

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Adrian Tchaikovsky’s 2016 Spiderlight is a secondary-world fantasy. 

Dark Lord Darvezian’s legions of darkness threaten to overwhelm the forces of light. He is but the latest in a long line of Dark Lords. So far, each of them has been brought down thanks to instructions provided by confusingly worded prophecies of unknown provenance. 

Nth expected to spend his life with the rest of the brood serving the great spider Mother in a forest few dare to enter and fewer live to exit. Then one day, a party of ambitious murder hobos comes calling. 

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Whispers in the Dark

Seal of the Worm  (Shadows of the Apt, book 10)

By Adrian Tchaikovsky 

12 Oct, 2018

A Dozen by Tchaikovsky

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2014’s Seal of the Worm is the tenth and final volume in Adrian Tchaikovsky’s Shadow of the Apt series. 

Good news for Wasp Empress Seda: its old enemy Collegium has fallen and occupied by Wasp forces. Stenwold Maker has vanished and is presumed dead (at least by some). Seda’s mystic rival Cheerwell Maker has been consigned to the lightless realm of the Worm, which is as close to hell as this world offers. 

There are just a few minor hitches. The Wasp Empire’s alliance with the Spiderlands proved all too brief. Imperial forces need guard their flank from their former ally. What seemed an unstoppable advance has stalled. 

More importantly, when Seda tipped Cheerwell and her friends into the Worm’s realm, Seda released something terrible. 


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Masters of War

War Master’s Gate  (Shadows of the Apt, book 9)

By Adrian Tchaikovsky 

14 Sep, 2018

A Dozen by Tchaikovsky

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2013’s War Master’s Gate is the ninth and penultimate volume in the Shadows of the Apt decology. 

The Wasp Empire may be short on kindness, egalitarianism, and respect for human rights, but it compensates with warlike resolve and deep reserves. It has failed many times to crush Collegium, but, undaunted, its forces are marching into the Lowlands yet again. 

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A Little Wicked

The Air War  (Shadows of the Apt, book 8)

By Adrian Tchaikovsky 

10 Aug, 2018

A Dozen by Tchaikovsky

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2012’s The Air War is the eighth book in Adrian Tchaikovsky’s Shadows of the Apt series. 

The Treaty of Gold guarantees unending peace. Should the Wasp Empire attack the Alliance, Solarno, the Spiderlands, or any one of the Lowland cities, the others are treaty-bound to come to the victim’s defense. This measure has stood the test of time, defined as that short period in which the Empire was more interested in suppressing uprisings within the Empire than adding new territory.” 

Her empire is now secure. But the Empress suffered too many years under the thumb of her brother (the late Emperor) to tolerate potential threats, within or without the empire. Every kingdom, city-state, and commonwealth outside the empire might someday menace her rule. Therefore they must be conquered. QED

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All the rest are dead or in retreat/ Or with the enemy

Heirs of the Blade  (Shadows of the Apt, book 7)

By Adrian Tchaikovsky 

13 Jul, 2018

A Dozen by Tchaikovsky

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2011’s Heirs of the Blade is the seventh volume in Adrian Tchaikovsky’s Shadows of the Apt series. 

None of Tynisa’s closest friends have seen Tynisa since she fled after mortally wounding her foster-sister’s lover. She was not really responsible, as she was mesmerized by an enemy spellcaster at the time. Still, the guilt haunts her. So does the memory of Salma, Prince-Minor Salme Dien, whom she loved but lost to another and then to death on the battlefield. 

Tynisa ventures to Leose, princely seat of Salma’s family the Salmae. There she meets his aristocratic family. She meets also meets Salma’s brother Alain, who might almost be Salma’s twin. Small wonder if she allows herself to fall for the silver-tongued aristocrat. 

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Under the Sea

The Sea Watch  (Shadows of the Apt, book 6)

By Adrian Tchaikovsky 

8 Jun, 2018

A Dozen by Tchaikovsky

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2011’s The Sea Watch is the sixth volume in Adrian Tchaikovsky’s Shadows of the Apt.

In the midst of a contentious election, Stenwald Maker is alarmed to discover that his niece Cheerwell has chosen not to return to Collegium following the Khanaphes expedition. Worse yet, the ambassadors from the ant city-state of Vek see ill intent in the fact that Collegium has also received envoys from the ant city-state of Tsen. Of all possible enemies, ants feel the direst hate for other ants. 

With so much going on, Stenwald discounts Master Failwright’s complaints about his shipping losses. Mere alarmism, he thinks. He is making a big mistake… 

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The Happy Wanderer

The Scarab Path  (Shadows of the Apt, book 5)

By Adrian Tchaikovsky 

11 May, 2018

A Dozen by Tchaikovsky

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2010’s The Scarab Path is the fifth volume in Adrian Tchaikovsky’s Shadows of the Apt series.

To Collegium’s scholars, Khanaphes is a distant enigma. Like Collegium, Khanaphes is a Beetle city. Unlike Collegium and the other Beetle communities of the Lowlands, Khanaphes is oddly backward. It seems to be an ancient city immune to historical processes.

Cheerwell Che” Maker has a hypothesis. Perhaps Khanaphes’ Beetles are Inapts, magical adepts blind to machinery. Cheerwell knows from bitter experience that this is possible, because she is just such an Inapt Beetle. Opening her mind to dangerous dark forces came at a cost: her ability to comprehend even simple mechanical devices.

Still, a chance to improve her magical skills cannot be passed up. She decides to join Collegium’s expedition to Khanaphes.

Collegium’s second expedition, that is. 

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