Book Review: Walking to Aldebaran by Adrian Tchaikovsky

Anyone who has read Children of Time will know that Adrian Tchaikovsky can create marvellous science fiction.

This new short novel tells the story of a British astronaut who is part of an international team sent to investigate a mysterious anomaly at the fringes of the Solar System. The anomaly turns out to be an ancient alien ‘artefact’, which, due to its appearance is dubbed the ‘Frog God’.

I know! Mysterious ancient artefacts, what’s not to like?

The artefact is riddled with tunnels which humans can move through but which are inhospitable to technology. The astronauts call the labyrinthine interior of the artefact ‘the crypts’. Mostly the interior is barren and boring but sometimes they come across oddities and horrors. The ‘egg men’ are a particular delight, I would leave to read a book on their back-story and exploits.

The story is told from the point of view of Gary Rendell, who always wanted to be an astronaut but is having second thoughts on this mission. Like me, some of you may be looking at that name and thinking what it reminds you of. Perhaps if you view the name as G.Rendell it might help you to think of that legendary exiled creature of darkness who is the bane of mankind.

The story switches between the mission out to the artefact and Gary Rendell’s increasingly desperate and deranged wanderings around the interior, where time, space and gravity do not act in the way that they should.

Tchaikovsky even manages a reference to Ack Ack Macaque, simian creation of Gareth L Powell.

This is a great little book and will help Tchaikovsky fans in the period before the sequel to Children of Time is released.

Walking to Aldebaran is published by Solaris.

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