Children of Time by Adrian Tchaikovsky won the Arthur C Clarke award last year and deservedly so. It’s bloody great and the kind of ideas-based science fiction that Clarke used to write.
The story is essentially two strands – one human and one spider (really smart spider). Here is the basic premise:
A planet is terraformed and there is a virus that ‘uplifts’ the life on it. Then things go wrong and spiders start to become the dominant form of life and are able to pass on knowledge and genetics. Meanwhile, humans arrive and then have a bit of a journey and then…
It is quite hard to tell the synopsis without giving much away. Needless to say, the story is set over thousands of years yet has two main protagonists throughout – a human who is frequently frozen and woken, and a spider who passes memories and genetic traits down to offspring and is basically the same character.
Both strands are basically a struggle for a survival until they inevitably meet.
I know the story sounds a bit strange but I loved this book and have no hesitation in recommending it highly. Children of Time is epic scifi that tackles big themes of deities and existence while still being pretty cool and fun. Give it a go, it is really cheap on kindle at time of writing. Recommended.