Children of Memory by Adrian Tchaikovsky [8/10]

Adrian Tchaikovsky is a celebrated science fiction/fantasy author who had never ended up on my bedside table, until I read 2015’s Children of Time (stimulated by a Ezra Klein podcast), the first fat book in a trilogy of the same name. One could characterize Children of Time as “about super-intelligent spiders”, and the 2019 follow-up, Children of Ruin, as “about super-intelligent octopi,” and the finale, “Children of Memory,” as “about super-intelligent crows,” and one would not be completely askew. But there is far more in the overall storyline of humanity setting off, after apocalypse, in huge spaceship arks to geoengineer new human worlds, aided by AIs, far more even than that. The trilogy is a stunning plotting achievement and Children of Memory is a fitting pinnacle, involving multiple intelligences of different types, plus virtual worlds, plus a classic dystopian tale of hardship. The author is not only a superb plotter, surprising the reader again and again, but the characters compel and the grand settings are deftly and strikingly depicted. The entire trilogy is a genre masterpiece, and Children of Memory is its highlight.

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