Oh Portia, Bianca, Fabian! You fabulous spiders, inquisitive minds, sensitive souls! Using silk and ants and chemicals, building unprecedented structures! Who would have thought that it develops this way? I am intrigued by this spider civilization that developed over the course of time, as an experiment of boosted evolution, triggered by a nanovirus, on a terraformed planet. And simultaneously the Gilgamesh, out there, trying to find a home for its last hundred thousand or so survivors, the last of the human race. Where to go? Down to the spiders?
An incredible plot has been woven. A long story, developing slowly, thoughtfully. Almost not a moment where I didn’t manage to stop reading, because the tension was subtle, not all-encompassing. A good book for me, one I can read inbetween and breathe. But the scope and the scale of the plot are impressive, well-planned. Both humans and spiders indeed are children of time, and the passing of time becomes palpable, it weighs you down, you can see it, feel it. Changes seem arbitrary and meaningful at the same time. The episodes in which Mason is awake, and not in suspension, are so short, compared to the lives of generations on board. Workers, who keep the ship going. Key crew is only woken up every what… few hundreds of years? to make the important decisions. All the while the spiders keep learning, and move into space.
Quite an impressive novel, beautifully written, with non-stereotypical narratives. Interesting is also the spider’s sexist matriarchal society, which is still biologically informed. The technical development of the spiders draws a very different picture of progress, and an aesthetic of its …own kind. The characters on the Gilgamesh are interesting. Women and men, and no obvious gender stereotypes. Simply characters, with personality traits. Well described, deep people. And with the passing of time, with ridiculously much time, time in which whole civilizations have risen and vanished, new character traits become visible, and change. Time changes people. As I reader, it feels humbling.
The title thus, Children of Time, is very appropriate. Loved it.