(Author: Adrian Tchaikovsky) + (Year: 2015) + (Goodreads)
OK, here goes:
I didn’t like this book. Not because it’s not well written, not because it lacks an original idea and not because the plot is stupid or crazy. I didn’t like it because 20% in, I realized that it is simply not my cup of tea. I don’t have a great experience with science fiction, but most of the movies I’ve seen, I’ve liked. I haven’t read that many books in the genre and just recently I finished one which I didn’t like, but it was nonsensical and lacking any idea. I thought that on my second try I might find something better…
And I honestly think that in the hands of someone who truly loves the genre, this book would be a precious gem. I’m a fan of adventures, whereas this book is more scientific, or rather, it embodies the true meaning of science fiction. The author manages to build a very detailed and thought through world, he seems to have done a lot of research and his ideas are explained meticulously.
I didn’t manage to get interested by the scientific side of things, all of the technology talk really bored me and I was especially grossed out by the spiders. The idea that could be giant spiders roaming around somewhere is disgusting enough. The idea that they could be fully developed mentally and even plan an organized attack is the stuff of nightmares. I might actually have nightmares. And the idea that the spiders expect humans to accept them as normal is something that I’d like to not think about.
The side of this book which might have interested me is its philosophy. I’ve never been a science nerd, but humanities are my forte. (And before you say that acting nice to other creatures is humane, too, I need to tell you that as humane as I try to act, insects don’t deserve to live as far as I’m concerned… Except for bees maybe. But somewhere far away from me.) Therefore when I realized that the majority of the book is not going to be of an interest to me, I tried to focus on what might: the way Adrian Tchaikovsky embeds philosophy in his book. There turned out to be a couple of interesting things, such as the way the spiders’ society seemed to follow the way humans evolved once upon a time, and then suddenly the spiders gained understanding and knowledge we’re probably never going to; also, the fact that much like our ancient predecessors, they put the female on the top of the chain at the beginning, and then they had a revolt and I expected, much like in our society, males to gain dominance and start oppressing females the way we see it today, and yet that didn’t happen. There were other things too, which caught my attention…
But sadly, I couldn’t find anything groundbreaking in this book. It didn’t shock me with something to keep me thinking for a while, neither from the point of creativity, nor from its philosophical views, because there are books which offer much more ingenious ideas and are not set in outer space just to try to make a point.