Walking to Aldebaran by Adrian Tchaikovsky (Book Review)
Adrian Tchaikovsky is one of my favourite authors working today so I jumped at the chance to review this novella. If you’ve read much of this author’s work, then you’ll know that you can never be quite sure what to expect other than being safe in the knowledge that it will be well-written.
Gary Rendell is lucky. As a child, he wanted nothing more than to be an astronaut, and he achieved his dream. When scientists discovered The Artefact/the Crypts/the Frog God in the Oort cloud, they (eventually) assembled a multinational team of astronauts to go and check it out. Gary was selected to be on that team – lucky again. And later, when his team are attacked and scattered throughout the Artefact, Gary somehow survives. So lucky.
But now, he’s wandering, lost and alone, through an alien structure that does not obey the laws of physics as we understand them. And he’s pretty sure there’s a monster in there.
Gary is funny, sarcastic and self-deprecating, telling the story in two timelines – one in the now, while he wanders around the artefact, looking for some way home, and the other in the past, explaining what happened to get them all there.
During his explorations, he comes across various travellers from other universes. The egg people, the pyramid people, the intestine creature … Gary missed the class on naming alien races.
The story is in turns humorous and horrific, the scope of imagination on display is wonderful and I really didn’t want to put this down. If you like your SF with a dash of horror and a twist of humour then this is the novella for you.