Unraveling the Epic Saga: Children of Time Explained

children of time

If you’re a fan of science fiction and epic sagas, then you’re likely familiar with the critically acclaimed novel “Children of Time.” This complex and thought-provoking book has captivated readers with its intricate narrative and themes, leaving many wondering about its origins and significance. So, let’s dive into the world of “Children of Time” and unravel this epic saga, explaining why it has become a must-read for science fiction enthusiasts.

At its core, “Children of Time” is a story about evolution and civilization, exploring the idea of humanity’s place in the universe. The novel is a masterful work of science fiction, delving into complex moral and ethical questions that challenge the reader’s perspective of what it means to be human. Its popularity stems not only from its thought-provoking themes but also from its well-crafted plot and characters.

In this article, we’ll explore the origins of “Children of Time,” its plot and themes, the diverse cast of characters, and the role of time and space in the narrative. By the end of this read, you’ll have a better understanding of why “Children of Time” is considered a modern science fiction classic and why it continues to captivate readers. Let’s begin the unraveling of this epic saga!

The Origins of “Children of Time”

The epic saga “Children of Time” was written by British author Adrian Tchaikovsky and was first published in 2015. The novel tells a complex story of humanity’s attempt to terraform a new planet, only to have their plans disrupted by a virus that triggers a rapid evolution in the planet’s spider population.

Tchaikovsky is a prolific writer, having published over twenty novels and numerous novellas and short stories. He is known for his skillful blending of science fiction and fantasy elements, as well as his intricate world-building and character development.

The Writing Process and Inspirations

In interviews, Tchaikovsky has stated that the idea for “Children of Time” came from his interest in evolutionary biology and the concept of terraforming. He was inspired by the idea of humanity trying to control and shape a new world, only to have it evolve beyond their expectations.

While writing the novel, Tchaikovsky drew on various sources of inspiration, including science fiction classics like Frank Herbert’s “Dune” and Larry Niven’s “Ringworld,” as well as works of evolutionary biology such as Richard Dawkins’ “The Selfish Gene.”

Becoming a Bestseller

Upon its release, “Children of Time” received critical acclaim and has since become a bestseller in the science fiction genre. It won the 2016 Arthur C. Clarke Award for best science fiction novel and was shortlisted for the 2016 British Science Fiction Association Award for best novel.

The novel’s popularity has led to its sequel, “Children of Ruin,” which was published in 2019 and continues the story of the spider-terraformed planet. Tchaikovsky has also announced a third book in the series, titled “The Doors of Eden,” which is set to be released in 2020.

The Plot and Themes

“Children of Time” is a novel that explores a complex and intricate narrative, weaving together themes of evolution, civilization, morality, and the nature of humanity. The story follows the last remnants of humanity as they struggle to survive in a universe that has grown increasingly hostile.

The plot of “Children of Time” is multi-layered, centered around two parallel storylines that eventually converge. In one, a human scientist named Avrana Kern creates a group of artificially intelligent spiders and sends them to a terraformed planet to start anew. In the other, a group of humans flee a dying Earth and search for a new home. As the spiders evolve over thousands of years, they become the dominant species on the planet, while the humans encounter numerous obstacles and challenges in their quest for survival.

The themes explored in “Children of Time” are universal and thought-provoking. The novel challenges readers to think deeply about evolution, morality, and the fleeting nature of human existence. It examines how different civilizations might develop given vastly different environments, and how the decisions of one generation can impact future generations in ways they could never imagine.

The Spider-Civilization

The spiders in “Children of Time” are one of the most fascinating aspects of the novel. As they evolve and develop their own civilization, they grapple with issues similar to those faced by human societies. They explore ideas such as leadership and governance, social hierarchies, and the legacy of their ancestors. The spiders also develop a religion centered around their ancestors, which mirrors human religious traditions. Through the spiders, Tchaikovsky raises questions about the nature of intelligence and consciousness, and whether they are unique to humans.

The Legacy of Humankind

“Children of Time” also explores the legacy of humankind, and the impact that humans have on the universe around them. As the last remnants of humanity struggle to survive, they realize the consequences of their actions. They discover that their decisions have led to unintended consequences, and that the legacy they leave behind may not be what they had hoped for. Through this exploration, Tchaikovsky raises questions about the nature of morality and the responsibility we have to future generations.

The Struggle for Survival

Throughout the novel, characters are forced to confront difficult and life-threatening challenges. From dangerous asteroid fields to hostile alien environments, the struggle for survival is constant and unrelenting. Through these challenges, Tchaikovsky explores the resiliency of the human spirit, and the lengths to which people will go to protect their loved ones and ensure the survival of the species.

The Characters

“Children of Time” features a diverse range of characters that play pivotal roles in the narrative. The novel’s main protagonists are Dr. Avrana Kern, a brilliant scientist who develops the virus intended to uplift monkeys to higher intelligence, and Holsten Mason, a historian and survivor of the doomed human race who becomes the companion of a spider named Portia.

Dr. Kern is a complex and morally questionable character who believes in the superiority of her race and will stop at nothing to achieve her goals. Her relationships with the monkeys and the spiders she uplifts reveal her character’s flaws and the consequences of her actions.

On the other hand, Holsten is a sympathetic character who becomes emotionally attached to Portia and the other spiders. He struggles with the guilt of the human race’s past mistakes and finds redemption in his connection with the evolved spiders.

The spiders themselves are fascinating characters, displaying a range of personalities and abilities. Portia, in particular, is a standout character, embodying the intelligence and cunningness of her species.

The novel’s antagonists, the remnants of the human race, are portrayed as aggressive and destructive, seeking to reclaim their dominance over the planet. Their actions create tension and conflict, driving the narrative forward.

Overall, the characters in “Children of Time” are well-crafted and add depth to the novel’s themes of evolution, morality, and the nature of humanity.

Time and Space in “Children of Time”

“Children of Time” takes readers on a journey that spans both time and space, diving deep into the complexities of evolution, civilization, and the nature of humanity. The novel not only explores the idea of time travel but also delves into the vastness of space and the setting that shapes the narrative.

The Role of Time

Time is a central theme of “Children of Time,” and it is explored from various angles throughout the book. The novel looks at how time shapes evolution and how it influences the development of civilizations, both in the past and the future.

The narrative is structured around two parallel stories, one set in the past and one in the future. The story set in the past shows us how humans attempted to terraform a planet to make it habitable for themselves, while the story set in the future follows the evolution of spiders that have been genetically modified to become intelligent.

The novel also examines how time affects relationships between characters, both human and non-human. As the narrative progresses, time becomes an increasingly important factor, shaping the outcome of events and driving the story forward.

The Role of Space

The vastness of space is a key element of “Children of Time.” The novel takes place on a terraformed planet and aboard a spaceship, allowing readers to experience the expanse of a new world while also exploring the boundaries of the universe.

The setting of “Children of Time” is intricately crafted, and the worldbuilding is both creative and detailed. The novel explores various habitats on the planet, each with its own unique environment and ecosystem. The spaceship, in turn, introduces readers to different technologies and futuristic concepts.

The Intersection of Time and Space

“Children of Time” seamlessly blends the concepts of time and space, weaving them together to create a complex and intricate narrative. The novel explores the interconnectedness of events, both across time and space, and demonstrates how even seemingly small actions can have far-reaching consequences.

The intersection of time and space in “Children of Time” is used to explore themes such as morality, evolution, and civilization. The novel is not only a thrilling science fiction adventure but also a philosophical examination of what it means to be human.

Overall, “Children of Time” is a masterful novel that seamlessly blends together the concepts of time and space to create a thrilling and thought-provoking narrative. Whether you are a science fiction fan or simply someone who enjoys a well-crafted story, “Children of Time” is not to be missed.


In conclusion, “Children of Time” is an epic saga that explores complex themes such as evolution, civilization, morality, and the nature of humanity. Adrian Tchaikovsky has crafted an intriguing plot that keeps readers on the edge of their seats, with twists and turns that surprise at every turn. The characters are diverse and well-defined, with motivations and growth that add depth to the narrative.

The role of time and space in the novel cannot be overstated, with these elements shaping the narrative in unique ways. From time travel to alternate realities, “Children of Time” embodies a world-building experience that is enthralling and memorable.

Overall, “Children of Time” has a lasting legacy and continues to captivate readers with its epic narrative. We encourage any reader who has not yet experienced this wonderful novel to embark on this journey and discover for themselves why “Children of Time” is hailed as a modern classic.

Similar Posts