Interview with Adrian Tchaikovsky

Adrian Tchaikovsky was born in Wodhall, Lincolnshire and discovered his fascination for "crawling thing" as he descibes it in that interview in his childhood. Maybe that was one major reason why he desided to studie zoology. And obviously that wasn't enough for him - he also studied psychology. 
Although it took 15 years to find a label that was willing to publish his work, he never gave up. 2008 "empire of black and gold" was relased by TOR book in the UK.

With "children of time" Adrian Tchaikovsky left the fantasy genre and created an epochal - in the truest sense of the word - SF novel that fascinates in many ways. A civilisation of spiders over generations is descibed: from the begining als little crawling animals to a well social structed society. Don't worry, arachnophobics: you will soon forget any reservations.

 

 

 

 

 

creepy creatures reviews:

why spiders? Why not dolphins, apes or ravens?

 

 

Adrian Tchaikovsky:

Spiders, insects and all sorts of crawling things have always been appealing to me, since I was very young. I tended to identify with an animal inversely to how much it was generally regarded as pleasant and attractive by most people. Hence I didn’t have much time for birds or mammals (except bats) but I liked reptiles and all sorts of invertebrates, especially insects and spiders. And it’s not just spiders – Dogs of War, for example, has cyborg dogs and bears, and my Echoes of the Fall series deals with people who can turn into tigers, wolves and other animals, but spiders and their kin will always be my first love. There is a challenge in bringing spiders to people in a sympathetic way, expanding people’s horizons by showing them that something they usually see as a monster or enemy can be the hero.

 

 

creepy creatures reviews:

How much did your experiences as zoologist and psychologist influenced you while writing but also in the finding process of the book theme?Since university I’ve retained a keen amateur interest in the animal world. In fact that led to Children of Time getting written in the first place. I cam across behavioural research on the Portia labiata species of spider, that showed what an

 

incredible cognitive ability it has, and that set me thinking about what it might evolve into, given the chance. The whole book is built on a collision of zoology and psychology, therefore. Unlike my fantasy writing, I had to do a lot of research to make the book work. I spent a lot of time talking things over with the entomology department of the Natural History Museum in London to help me get the spiders right, and I also had to go outside my own academic areas to work on the physics of spaceflight.

 

 

creepy creatures reviews:

you chose a hopeful ending for "children of time", are your feelings - when you think about the future - expectantly, frightful or something in between?

 

 

Adrian Tchaikovsky:

I am a terrible pessimist, especially about human nature. It seems very likely that we will be the cause of our own downfall, with our reckless over-use of resources and our failure to adopt any realistic long-term planning. However, whilst it would have been very easy to have the book end in tragedy and ruin, I felt that the more interesting story to tell about a clash between humans and spiders would be one where something positive was actually being built at the end, rather than the expected massacre. I honestly think this is one major reason why the book has been so popular. We’re living in dark times at the moment and a message of hope – of empathy, diversity and peace – is a much-needed thing.

 

 

 

creepy creatures reviews:

it takes you almost 700 pages (in the German version, more than 80 pages more than you original script) to tell your story - are there readers who told you that this was to much for them?

 

 

Adrian Tchaikovsky:

In the past I’ve actually had more complaints about short books than long ones. I know English into German always adds a lot of works – I’m surprised it’s only another 80 pages to be honest, but I think that SF readers are used to that kind of length. It’s certainly nowhere near my longest book!

 

 

creepy creatures reviews:

what might our next step in evolution might look like?

 

 

Adrian Tchaikovsky:

Natural evolution isn’t currently exerting much influence on us, I think, and perhaps that’s for the best given the sort of harsh conditions that you need for it. I feel that our own evolution will be technologically assisted – the expansion of our definition of “human” and the extension of human intelligence into other vehicles than human bodies. However, for that to work we need to actually stabilise our society rather than fragment and fall apart like the humans do in Children of Time.

 

 

 


thank you very much, Adrian Tchaikovsky!

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