Book – Walking to Aldebaran by Adrian Tchaikovsky
“Seen things you people wouldn’t believe, boldy gone, sought out strange new worlds, galaxy far, far away, trying to find a way home.”
Brief disclaimer: I received a copy of this on Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
Well back reading something else by Adrian so given my love of everything else I have read by him it did seem quite likely that I would enjoy this too and I was certainly not disappointed.
It’s a novella but what it lacks in length it easily makes up in tone and character. Not only does it manage strong worldbuilding for the situation that you find yourself reading about, but the voice of the character is incredible and you cannot help but be gripped by his circumstances and what is going on around him.
The story follows Gary Rendell, an astronaut sent on a mission to investigate a strange alien artefact discovered out on the edges of our solar system. He is separated from the rest of his group and must try and survive on his own as he tries to find them in an environment which changes quite often.
“I don’t understand them. They don’t understand me. At the same time, we both understand each other.”
It’s a thrilling read and you get caught up in his trials and tribulations as you slowly work out more about what is going on and how he got to this point. With an unreliable narrator whose mental health has likely taken a beating due to what is happening it means that the story twists and turns, leaving you with a lot of build up and suspense before a wonderfully done ending.
Honestly this was refreshingly original science-fiction, not that I generally expect much less from Adrian and well worth a read. I hope to see it up for some award nominations in the future.
Spoiler part of the review below:
So I did see the twist coming a little before it hit me, but I also think that you are supposed to. The slow, dawning realisation of exactly what he is and what he has done is absolutely fantastic.
I also loved the twisted maze he is going through. It’s like Adrian took a D&D type dungeon and worked out how to turn it into something that fits into a sci-fi setting and does is superbly. I mean Adrian is a roleplayer so this wouldn’t entirely surprise me if he did take inspiration from that but what he does with it is masterful.
Excellent read, highly recommend it to anyone who loved sci-fi or weird stories in general, whether you know anything about D&D or not.