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Tchaikovsky, Adrian

Entry updated 15 July 2024. Tagged: Author.

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Working name of UK author Adrian Czajkowski (1972-    ) who until recently has been best known for his long fantasy series, the Shadows of the Apt sequence beginning with Empire in Black and Gold (2008). The epic fantasy appearance of the series is modified, though not entirely transformed, by the fact that all the races in the long unfolding tale are insectile, or have at the very least insect-like characteristics, which intuitively befits the Steampunk aura of some of the worldbuilding.

Tchaikovsky became of notable sf interest for the Children of Time sequence beginning with = Children of Time (2015), set in a Far Future universe where the home planet Earth = after essentially self=-destructing through War and Ecological disaster and imposing a Long Night of interregnum on its far-flung progeny – is groping its way back into a semblance of civilization. The story traces a colonizing expedition by Generation Starship to neighbouring systems, at least one of which provides a too-convenient pre-Terraformed planet, apparently available for the taking. Space Opera action, and hints of a devious Forerunner civilization, fuel the remainder of the tale, in which it is discovered that a human-initiated Uplift experiment has gone awry, with spiders (rather than monkeys as intended) having been uplifted to sentience and Intelligence. Children of Time won the Arthur C Clarke Award. There are two loose sequels. Children of Ruin (2019) is set in another solar system whose two habitable worlds respectively house a similarly uplifted octopus-descended civilization and enigmatic Alien life; this won a BSFA Award as best novel. The third volume, Children of Memory (2022), a Planetary Romance set on the planet Imir (long before partially Terraformed for humans), complicatedly unfolds a narrative involving the AI Secret Master behind the entire series and her Avatars in an evolving interaction with humans, Posthumans and non-human-species. As a whole the sequence fully demonstrates Tchaikovsky's amiable but very thorough knowledge of the SF Megatext as it properly applies to Space Opera of the scope and intensity of his large-scale work. Children of Time won a 2023 Hugo as best series, though Tchaikovsky repudiated this win owing to the tampering with that year's Hugo votes (see again Hugo).

The Dogs of War sequence beginning with Dogs of War (2017), set primarily on Near Future Mars, unpacks dramas of class war and power politics, of a sort not unfamiliar to this sf venue; the series features Genetically Engineered animals, and at least one sympathetic Cyborg. Also of direct sf interest is Ironclads (2017), an example of class-conscious Military SF; in an impoverished Near Future UK, a soldier must attempt to rescue an elite officer, who has been accustomed to ride within his apparently invulnerable Mecha – not available to the lower orders – and to be able to think of War as a game played in the shambles of post-Brexit Britain. The Doors of Eden (2020), also sf, ambitiously enfilades a Technothriller surface plots with a web of interlocking tales set in various Parallel Worlds where Evolution has taken different courses; it won a Sidewise Award, given for works of Alternate History. Elder Race (2021) neatly incorporates a fantasyland Planetary Romance world into a remote but comprehensive sf frame, an Equipoisal strategy sometimes employed by an author like C J Cherryh to coordinate far-ranging swathes of story. In this case, a spoiled princess nags back to wakefulness a sorcerer in deep sleep, who turns out to be a stranded anthropologist who had long before entered Suspended Animation to await rescue from the interstellar civilization he serves. A similar strategy shapes City of Last Chances (2022), where a fantasy-hued City, deeply immersed in its own oppressed and oppressive history, is sited next to a forest which serves as a complex portal to the vast Multiverse beyond [for Into the Woods and Portals see The Encyclopedia of Fantasy under links below]; this book won a BSFA Award as best novel. It opens the Tyrant Philosophers series, whose second volume is House of Open Wounds (2023).

The sf Shards of Earth (2021), opening the new series Final Architecture, is a full-on space opera in which Earth has long fallen victim to the Architects – gigantic, uncaring Berserker-like intelligences which reshape planets into bizarre works of art – and the factions of surviving humanity are deeply divided; this first instalment won a BSFA Award as best novel. The tale continues in Eyes of the Void (2022). And Put Away Childish Things (2023) won a BSFA Award as best shorter fiction. Alien Clay (2024), a singleton with sufficient complexity to generate a series, locates a drama of ancient Ecology and lost civilizations whose analyzable components derive honourably from the SF Megatext; the tale is set on what is essentially a Prison planet with a rich mysterious dead past (see Time Abyss), and its protagonist, a Xenobiologist, may plumb the mysteries of Kiln. [JC]

see also: The Afterblight Chronicles; Eastercon.

Adrian James Jan Czajkowski

born Woodhall Spa, Lincolnshire: 1972



Shadows of the Apt

  • Empire in Black and Gold (London: Tor Macmillan, 2008) [Shadows of the Apt: pb/Dominic Harman]
  • Dragonfly Falling (London: Tor Macmillan, 2009) [Shadows of the Apt: pb/Jon Sullivan]
  • Blood of the Mantis (London: Tor Macmillan, 2009) [Shadows of the Apt: pb/Jon Sullivan]
  • Salute the Dark (London: Tor Macmillan, 2010) [Shadows of the Apt: pb/Jon Sullivan]
  • The Scarab Path (London: Tor Macmillan, 2011) [Shadows of the Apt: pb/Jon Sullivan]
  • The Sea Watch (London: Tor Macmillan, 2011) [Shadows of the Apt: pb/Jon Sullivan]
  • Heirs of the Blade (London: Tor Macmillan, 2011) [Shadows of the Apt: pb/Jon Sullivan]
  • The Air War (London: Tor Macmillan, 2013) [Shadows of the Apt: pb/Alan Brooks]
  • War Master's Gate (London: Tor Macmillan, 2013) [Shadows of the Apt: pb/Alan Brooks]
  • Seal of the Worm (London: Tor Macmillan, 2014) [Shadows of the Apt: pb/Alan Brooks]

Children of Time

Tales of the Apt

  • Spoils of War (Alconbury Weston, Cambridgeshire: NewCon Press, 2016) [coll: Tales of the Apt: hb/Jon Sullivan]
  • A Time for Grief (Alconbury Weston, Cambridgeshire: NewCon Press, 2017) [coll: Tales of the Apt: hb/Jon Sullivan]
  • For Love of Distant Shores (Alconbury Weston, Cambridgeshire: NewCon Press, 2018) [coll: Tales of the Apt: hb/Jon Sullivan]

Echoes of the Fall

Dogs of War

  • Dogs of War (London: Head of Zeus, 2017) [Dogs of War: hb/Matt Griffin]
  • Bear Head (London: Head of Zeus/Ad Astra, 2021) [Dogs of War: hb/Matt Griffin]

Expert System

Final Architecture

Terrible Worlds: Destinations

  • Walking to Aldebaran (Oxford, Oxfordshire: Rebellion Publishing/Solaris, 2019) [novella: Terrible Worlds: Destinations: hb/Gemma Sheldrake]
  • One Day All This Will Be Yours (Oxford, Oxfordshire: Rebellion Publishing/Solaris, 2021) [novella: Terrible Worlds: Destinations: hb/Gemma Sheldrake]
  • And Put Away Childish Things (Oxford, Oxfordshire: Rebellion Publishing/Solaris, 2023) [Terrible Worlds: Destinations: hb/]

The Tyrant Philosophers

individual titles

  • Reading Between the Lines (London: Jurassic London, 2013) with Janine Ashbless [novelette: chap: in the publisher's Jurassic London Novelette Series: pb/Vincent Sammy]
  • Guns of the Dawn (London: Tor Macmillan, 2015) [hb/Shutterstock]
  • Spiderlight (London:, 2016) [pb/Shutterstock]
  • Ironclads (Oxford, Oxfordshire: Rebellion Publishing Company/Solaris, 2017) [hb/Maz Smith]
  • Precious Little Things (Birmingham, England: The Birmingham Science Fiction Group, 2017) [coll: chap: pb/David Hardy]
  • Redemption's Blade (Oxford, Oxfordshire: Rebellion Publishing/Solaris, 2018) [tie to the Shared World fantasy series: After the War: pb/Tomasz Jedruszek]
  • Cage of Souls (London: Head of Zeus, 2019) [hb/Leo Nickolls]
  • Made Things (New York:, 2019) [pb/Red Nose Studio]
  • The Doors of Eden (London: Tor, 2020) [hb/]
  • Firewalkers (Oxford, Oxfordshire: Rebellion Publishing/Solaris, 2020) [hb/Gemma Sheldrake]
  • Elder Race (New York: Tordotcom, 2021) [pb/Emmanuel Shiu]
  • Day of Ascension (Nottingham, Nottinghamshire: Games Workshop, 2022) [tie to Warhammer 40,000: Warhammer 40,000: hb/]
  • Ogres (Oxford, Oxfordshire: Rebellion Publishing/Solaris, 2022) [hb/]
  • Alien Clay (London: Tor, 2024) [hb/]
  • Service Model (London: Tor, 2024) [hb/]


  • Feast and Famine (Alconbury Weston, Cambridgeshire: Newcon Press, 2013) [coll: in the publisher's Imaginings series: hb/Jim Burns]


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