Walking to Aldebaran

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 30 May 2019

Member Reviews

This dark sci-fi novella left me thinking. I always think the best stories are the ones that stay with you for awhile. 

This story alternates between the past- the road that led British astronaut Gary Rendell to the international space team to study an alien object called the artefact, and the current, where Gary is wandering through a tunnel system found inside the artefact alone. What unfolds is an eerie exploration of the nightmare inside the artefact. 

I loved this story. I would love to read more by this author.

**I received a copy of this novella, from the publisher, in exchange for an honest review***
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I really enjoyed the concept of this book. I love reading space stories and this was very different. The storytelling was incredibly good and usually I don’t like the lack of dialogue, but in this case it worked perfectly well.  I drew similarities between Gary and Mark Watney from “The Martian”. The way they both end up talking to themselves, taking the mick and being sarcastic, while still trundling along. 

The downside to the novella was the lack of exploration for me. It brought so much potential to create a wonderful story. Just personally, I think this would’ve been better written as a one-off book, rather than a novella. It was just too short for what it wanted to do.
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Insightful writer,  and captivating voice, recounting past and present descent into a kind of madness .. imagined so vividly it all makes sense when Rendell, an adventuring astronaut on a weird quasi- planet transforms into something I won't spell out here .. brilliant tour de force. Pretty horrific by ending but seeds are there throughout.
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A bit odd,  a spacefaring novelette and starting it by stumbling through a cave system.

The backstory is well told and the slow reveal of how Gary got to the present point is well done. Fun scenes, interesting aliens, growing creepiness factor... loved the aliens! So imaginative! Loved the humour, the general screwiness, the Britishness. Devious. I would like to spend more time on... never mind. Anything else I want to mention here would be a spoiler. I think the less you know, the more fun this will be. 

I got strong vibes of a famous poem. And I have proof in the text that it was on purpose.

Be prepared to be screwed with. I sat up and scratched my head once or twice. I am contemplating to read this again soon. What little clues would I pick up, knowing the ending?

Not what I expected. 

I might have said this before—I will have to really work on Tchaikovsky‘s back catalogue. Oh, and I just added him to my list of famous people I want to go to the pub with. Sorry, Adrian, but Quentin is still in the top spot, followed by Ethan and Joel.

I received this free e-copy from the publisher/author via NetGalley and Rebellion Publishing, in exchange for an honest review, thank you!
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An alien artifact is discovered within reasonable space travel distance from Earth.  Our first person narrator Gary is the only survivor of an investigating crew whose mission has identifies the apparent planetoid is some kind of space wormhole gateway accessible by many other alien civilizations.  He and diverse alien species, so imaginatively rendered by the author, must leave their spaceships behind to explore labyrinthine pathways (often in the dark) in the hope of gaining access to new worlds.  In the many weeks it takes, deadly competition for food and resources emerges among the many wandering species.  Gary reminds me of Mark Watney in his sardonic monologue on strategies for survival, the difference being that Gary undergoes a bit of metamorphosis in this dog-eat-dog environment, bring the reader over the line a bit into psychological horror.  Compared to my 4-star rating of Tchaikovsky’s book "Ironclads" (a window on cybernetics in future warfare), my pleasure meter renders a bit lower, so 3.5 rounded down.  This guy is very prolific, and my experience with these two leads me to expect to find some fine reads (recommendations welcome).

This book was provided for review by the publisher through the Netgalley program.
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A futuristic Frankenstein narrative that will have you gasping in shock and realisation as it draws to a close. Brilliant, trippy and dowsed in darkness, this is an excellent sci fi horror short.
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Dark, quirky, and entirely unexpected.  A perfect mix of sci-fi and horror, with just the right smattering of humour, make this novella a wonderful read.  I was captivated.  Definitely will be recommending this for short story fans.
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I could not finish this as it began with too much familiarity of the same style that was used in Dogs of War, e.g. Today was a good day / I'm Rex, I'm a good dog.

Maybe had I have continued it could've/would've delivered something of brilliance but I didn't want to destroy the image of a very good thing in my mind that I had dedicated away in the memory bank for Dogs of War.

Maybe another time.
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Walking to Aldebaran is an absolute corker of a novella. I loved it - if you enjoy science fiction, it’s a no-brainer, but this story is more than that. It’s about the slow (or fast! Err, you need to read it) descent into insanity of a man stranded alone inside a planet/ wormhole/ crypt! The main character, Gary Rendell, gets separated from his fellow crew members when they disembark from their ship to explore a strange planet-sized ‘rock’. It’s creepy, startling and SO WELL WRITTEN! You can’t help but like Gary - whether you should or not is another matter entirely! 

How Adrian Tchaikovsky manages to cram so much in to 140 pages will be why he’s the writer that I want to read (and why I’m not the writer 🤷🏼‍♀️). Oh, and I did like what was done with the names - Gary’s name will become clearer nearer the end of the story! 
Many thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for my copy of this fab book!
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A horror/SF mash up, with a giant mysterious ancient alien artifact at its core, and the monster in the story is not the monster you expect.

Completely different from Children of Time, but still in a good way.

The ending was a bit more 'horror' than I expected, but actually it did fit very well with the plot and the story did lead into it
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Recalls some other works

This novella reminds me very much of Harlan Ellison's "I have no mouth, and I must scream" from 1967. Read them yourself and see if you don't agree. There is a lot of Southern Reach here too.
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Walking to Aldebaran is a strange trip of a book with both science fiction and horror elements. Like Andy Weir's The Martian, this novella explores what may happen to an individual stranded on an alien planet with an internal focus. The different is that the MC in Walking to Aldebaran  is not alone; he meets various alien lifeforms on the way.

Rather than trying to explain what it was like and risk spoilers, it feels more appropriate to share stories and poems of which elements of this novella felt reminiscent.

1. The narrator's questionable mental state: "The Yellow Wallpaper" by Charlotte Perkins Gilman
2. The narrator wonders how later generations will perceive him: "The Relic" by John Donne
3. The narrator is alone in space by himself: The Martian by Andy Weir
4. The narrator enters strange, new territory and speaks to a "sidekick" that can't talk back (us, the reader): Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Bum
5. The narrator goes through a physical journey in an unwelcoming environment composed of various stages / phases: Inferno by Dante Alighieri

The novella is told in the first person with the occasional second person address to "Toto," and it alternates between the present (stranded in space) and the past (the preparation for the expedition).

While this is a fascinating read, the narration doesn't feel entirely coherent and doesn't quite follow a logical procession of thought, especially when it alternates between past and present. (I don't see the reason for it and would have preferred it be told in chronological order, but maybe I'm missing out on the purpose for this given how I dnfed less than 50% of the way in.) I understand that this novella is told from the POV of someone seemingly on the verge of madness from all the time he's spent alone, trapped in his own thoughts and uncertain of what the future holds from him. This type of narration style is the type that'll be a hit or a miss depending on the reader and perhaps the type of read he or she is looking for at the time.

Content warning (as far as I read): use of God/Jesus as swear words, outright states that there's no God, shit, bal*s, violence and death, the narrator imagines being like a god at one point.

DNF @ 45%
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La última obra que ha caído en mis manos de Adrian Tchaikovsky no es una lectura fácil. La estructura escogida, un soliloquio de un personaje cuya estabilidad mental deja bastante que desear es de por sí complicada, pero es que además el autor ni quiere ni puede desvelar parte de la historia al principio de la obra, dejándonos un poco perdidos. Cuando empieza a usar flashbacks la fotografía comienza a revelarse ante nosotros y ayudados por la escasa longitud de Walking to Aldebaran conseguimos alcanzar un final satisfactorio, aunque el camino haya sido tortuoso.

Quizá debería haberme dado cuenta antes porque hay bastantes pistas sobre cuál es el principal referente de esta novela corta, pero el autor sabe cómo narrar para que lleguemos a empatizar con el protagonista, a pesar de las acciones que lleva a cabo. Un aspecto muy conseguido de la obra es la ambientación, extremadamente agobiante, con los pasos del protagonistas llevándole a través de un laberinto físico que asemeja al laberinto mental en el que se encuentra. También es capaz de hacer referencias a casi todos los terrores que comúnmente se asocian al espacio exterior y los extraterrestres, con mandíbulas, intestinos, ácidos estomacales y bastante casquería. 
En el libro también podemos ver algo de crítica a la sociedad actual y a los enfrentamientos de los políticos por «ponerse la medalla», pero es solo una pequeña pátina que enluce el resultado final. 
Lo que no me esperaba son los toques de humor que aparecen en la narración, a pesar del tono general de Walking to Aldebaran. Es un gran mérito del autor conseguir que este párrafo, por ejemplo, no desentone para nada en el libro:
“I was also one of the pilots, although space piloting is one of those situations where they should really equip you with a dog, so your job is to feed the dog and the dog’s job is to bite you if you touch any of the expensive equipment.”
Quizá estos toques de comedia oscura son lo que más me ha sorprendido de la obra, que resulta un poco difícil de comentar sin destriparla. Así que será mejor que la leas directamente, para que podamos conocer tu opinión.
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Una muy entretenida obra con dos líneas temporales que te mantienen interesado en todo momento. Un personaje muy carismático y unos seres alienígenas muy originales completan un libro muy recomendable.
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Walking to Aldebaran is an odd but interesting novella. Adrian Tchaikovsky is always great to read, and this one was up there with his others. However, it just didn’t fully land for me toward the end, leaving me a little empty toward the whole plot. 

An alien rock is found out by the Oort Cloud, and Gary Rendell, an English astronaut, gets lucky by being chosen to be part of a crew going up to look at it. But when they get there and end up split up, Gary is stuck on the most aliens of places, trying to get out of there before whatever is in there with him can kill him. 

First, the good. Tchaikovsky’s writing is great, it’s always clear and fluid and a lot of fun to read. Gary Rendell is one hell of an interesting character, and the setting is fascinating and claustrophobic to read about. Digging deep in to the isolation, fear and loneliness Gary goes through, it was very interesting watching him try to make his way through the bizarre world he found himself on. And the random aliens he finds along the way were just great, definitely one of the highlights of the  whole novella to me. 

I think really the main thing that didn’t land for me was the ending/twist. When it took the turn that it did, I couldn’t go with it and spent the end of the story wishing it had ended up going somewhere else. While that’s definitely on me for wanting something different to what the author gave, it still was enough for me to knock it down a star. So 4 stars it is for this one. 

ARC was provided by NetGalley and the publisher in exchange for a fair and honest review.
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Unfortunately this novella missed the mark for me. It wasn't my favorite scifi read, but I appreciated Adrian Tchaikovsky's evolutionary world-building in Children of Time, and was intrigued by the premise of Walking to Aldebaran: in media res, we are plopped down with a stranded astronaut from some nebulous point in Earth's future. The circumstances of his stranding--how it happened, why he finds himself in an alien crypt--are revealed slowly, as he meanders his way through maze-like passages trying to stay alive.
What kept me from enjoying this was the epically casual writing: a meandering, first-person narrative which mostly amounts to "neurotic man rambles." Sorry, I live in the United States in 2019; I've got enough of that on my plate already. Whether the work delivered satisfyingly on its premise didn't really matter, because the narrative was so frustrating and in need of editorial discipline that each page felt like a chore. 
Thanks to @netgalley and Rebellion for providing a dARC for review.
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I was approved for this book AFTER the book was archive date so I was not actually able to read this.  I emailed the publisher but didn't hear back. I am still interested in reading and reviewing this novella.
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What a brilliant idea!
I was a bit surprised to find, when I started to write this review, that this was a novella rather than a book, just over 100 pages long.  Why was I so surprised?  Well, obviously I had noticed that it wasn't one of those very long books, but the world building was so completed that I didn't think that could have been done in such a short book.
It's not a happy story, but it is certainly a very interesting one, with a great idea at the base of the book.  In fact, it is such a good idea that I'm surprised the author didn't turn it into a longer book or series.  However, I guess that would mean it wouldn't pack such a punch.
The writing is split between what happens 'now' and what happened in the lead up, and it all fits together well.  There are some very interesting parts, especially when we realise the situation the astronaut is in, and by the time it was revealed how he ended up alone, I was very anxious to find out - the suspense had certainly been built!
The ending was a bit more 'horror' than I expected, but actually it did fit very well with the plot and it did lead into it, so I shouldn't have been so surprised - it all did rather make sense, in a very weird kind of way.  I'm not going to explain any more, so you need to read it and find out!
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This a short but incredibly gripping novella. It's the story of an astronaut who is on a mission exploring an unknown object at the edge of the solar system, and is told from a first person perspective as he navigates a bizarre world. It's difficult to discuss the story too much without spoilers, but it leads to a pretty satisfying conclusion and has some nasty, some thoughtful and some surprising twists on the way.

The author manages really well to drip feed details and hints of what is going on, and manages to keep the pages turning by switching to a narrative of the events that led to the current situation just when you think a revelation is due. This works brilliantly though, and the 2 strands of the story weave together really well to keep you engaged right the way through the book.

I'll certainly be reading more of Adrian Tchaikovsky's books in the near future.

My thanks to Solaris/Rebellion Publishing for an eARC via NetGalley of Adrian Tchaikovsky’s novella, ‘Walking to Aldebaran’, in exchange for an honest review.
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Fantastic, tremendous, thrilling. I count myself lucky to have found this book. Everything you could want from a science fiction novel, There are heroes and villains although it is difficult to tell who is who! Characters are well drawn and the world building is thorough. Much of the compelling nature of the story is based around the reader's connection to the fate of humanity and the skill with which the author has presented the alien culture so that when the inevitable clash between the two factions occurs it is difficult to know who to root for. 

The attention to detail to biology and zoology was really good, adding to the story without being overly technical, and thus it became another strong point. I probably learned more about some thing here than in science classes I had. Same goes for Adrian's Children of Time series. There's a lot of similarities here but can't help seeing all of his work stand out each of their own.
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