Cover Image: Walking to Aldebaran

Walking to Aldebaran

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Walking to Aldebaran is a mesmerizing descent into absolute madness. What begins as an exciting trek to a mysterious object nestled at the end of our solar system morphs into untold horrors as a single astronaut descends further into the bowels of an endless cavern. The protagonist begins as a human we can empathize with and, by the end, he’s a pure monster that belongs in the darkened halls of this creature-made structure. I was floored by the brilliant writing on display. Tchaikovsky slowly sucks you in, revealing piece by piece in a masterful first-person account. The sanity begins to trickle away until it’s too late, revealing the book is no longer what you thought it was. I’m frankly amazed at what he was able to accomplish in such a short space. 

It’s so easy to get caught up in the majesty of what our protagonist continues to discover. It’s a mix between the wonder of a science fiction novel and the horrors of a creature feature. Through it all, our protagonist seemingly keeps his calm, never devolving into absolute terror, save for a single moment early on. This strange place changes him completely, both literally and figuratively, turning these mind-blowing experiences into everyday drivel. He’s aware that he’s narrating his own story as he walks through the tunnels. It’s easy to imagine this crazed man narrating each step he takes, telling his backstory as he sits on the cold ground taking a break. That sense of self-awareness creates an unease the further you dive into this brilliant account. 

Overall, Walking to Aldebaran is a masterful combination of science fiction, horror, and a bit of humor. The mood is constantly shifting, the scene ever-evolving, and, in the end, we’re left with more surprises than expected. This is truly a must-read.

Review will be published on May 24:
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Enjoyably twisted novella. Excellent piece of sci-fi world building, alternating between the discovery and initial stages of exploring a mysterious  object in space, and a survivor’s  journey through the physically fantastic interior battling monsters. A wry, and particularly British, sense of humour informs this fun, if rather sick, tale. Does more in 140 pages than some books manage in 600.
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Adrian Tchaikovsky's novella about  a lost astronaut, endlessly wandering the corridors of a vast alien artefact existing in multi dimensional space makes an interesting but slightly frustrating read. There's not much in the way of character play. Occasionally the protagonist comes upon explorers from other planets with whom he is unable to communicate but essentially this is a study in dehumanisation.

Alien consciousness is a subject that Tchaikovsky has explored in previous novels and his depiction of the protagonist's descent into inhumanity is compelling.  But there's simply not enough plot for me. It feels more like a sketch than a fully developed story.
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**Walking to Aldebaran** was my first book by *Adrian Tchaikovsky*, and it certainly was a good book. The story itself was a bit on the shallow side, I felt, but the writing, and the protagonist exploring weird alien catacombs, both were well done, so it was a good read. I think all things considered, the protagonist's narration voice was the best part of the book – without it, it would've been kind of generic grim scifi, but this way it was quite a bit better than that.
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This novella has an interesting idea for an alien artefact...if that's what the Crypt can be called. The story is told from the viewpoint of a person who has lost their way and is wandering an enormous artefact, trying to find his way back to the rest of his team, trying to find his way back to the humans he came with.

The Crypt, as our astronaut protagonist refers to it, is both inscrutable and somewhat understandable at the same time. There are parts that we, the reader, can sort of get our heads around, even though the reasons behind it might not be. It contains all sorts of different types of aliens, and they're not of the humanoid bumpy nose variety. This makes for some interesting reading.

In the end, there's a bit of a twist, but it's one that could be anticipated by the reader. It's somewhat satisfying, nonetheless. It's an interesting read, and I enjoyed walking my way through it.
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This was the first book I had been sent by NatGalley and was slightly confused that I only received the first page of each chapter. This shows in my rating and review as I only got to read a very small section of it.

Gary Rendell is an astronaut, he's always wanted to be an astronaut.  He succeeds with his life ambition and  gets selected to go on a special mission.  Gary is part of an Expedition team which gets split up and he ends up all alone.  He is lonely, scared and very sleep deprived and as a result has created a friend, Toto.  I'm not sure if Gary actually meets aliens or if he hallucinates them but he meets Egg Men, battles against Intestine Monsters and an Iron Hunchback and eats Goblins.  This book is certainly very interesting and I would like to read the whole thing.
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Humanity has  found a new artifact beyond Neptune, a shortcut to other stars, but the only way to travel with it is walking. The journey can change the traveller. An interesting setting, with lots of humour, but it's not the best job of this fantastic writer.
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I haven't read science fiction for a while. I used to love Clarke and Asimov as a teenager, chuckled at Douglas Adams then had a lull until I was gifted Dune a few years ago. Having just finished Adrian Tchaikovsky's Walking to Aldebaran, I can see myself looking for more sci-fi novels, and certainly more of his.

His writing is tight - a strong voice with credible characters (well, mostly just the one) and enough exposition to keep it interesting without hand-feeding the reader. The novella is rather far fetched, even for science fiction - the gateways in the Knossos like labyrinth, unrestricted by time and place, are fine, but the roaming aliens seemed a push too far for me. But, don't think too hard and just enjoy the quality of the writing.

A very solid 4 stars, and a taster that will definitely get me reading more of the author's works.

Book supplied by Netgalley for an honest review.
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What an entertaining, exciting, at times horrifying and unputdownable read this was! Sadly a very short read, too short i‘d even venture to say as I would have loved to follow Gary a little longer while he explores  new rooms or encounters fellow  travellers or more monsters in this very strange place, Still, a fascinating story and one I will happily re-visit and recommend to any and everyone who loves scifi. .
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The book is an extended version of David Bowie's Space Oddity.  Major Tom and Gary Rendell are lucky to be picked or are they?
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4.5 stars - Tchaikovsky is fast becoming one of my favorite sci-fi authors. His world building is top notch and his writing abilities aren't far behind. I really enjoyed the dark, borderline horror atmosphere. Quick, tight read that any fan of the "big dumb object" type of sci-fi will enjoy.
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Ahoy there mateys!  I received this sci-fi eARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.  So here be me honest musings . . .

walking to aldebaran (Adrian Tchaikovsky)
Title: walking to aldebaran
Author: Adrian Tchaikovsky
Publisher: Rebellion / Solaris
Publication Date: TODAY !!! (hardback/e-book)
ISBN: 978-1781087060
Source: NetGalley

I have been meaning to try Adrian Tchaikovsky's work for ages now, so when I saw this beautiful cover I took a chance.  Turns out this 140 page story deals with first contact through the dark humor of Gary the astronaut.

An alien rock was discovered out in Oort Cloud and Gary was one of the astronauts sent to explore this amazing find.  Of course disaster strikes and Gary is separated from his team and is lost inside the artifact.  The story is told from alternating sections of Gary's present and Gary's perspective on the discovery of the artifact and how he ended up in his predicament.  The problem?  Gary seems a just a bit insane.

I actually really enjoyed Gary's unreliable narration.  It did take me a minute to get absorbed into the story because Gary's modus operandi is a rather scattered approach of putting his thoughts together.  But I wanted desperately to know more about the artifact and how it works.  So I kept reading and found that I loved following Gary on his rather desperate journey.  I was both entertained and horrified by poor Gary.

Turns out there are way more questions than answers.  Also the physics of place kinda hurt me noggin.  But I very much enjoyed the expedition and the silly ending.  This was fun.  I will certainly be picking up more works by Adrian Tchaikovsky in the future.  Arrrr!

Side note: "Aldebaran" from the title is the fourteenth brightest star in our sky and is known as the "Eye of Taurus."  The name derives from the Arabic for "the follower."  Cool!

Goodreads has this to say about the novel:

My name is Gary Rendell. I’m an astronaut. When they asked me as a kid what I wanted to be when I grew up, I said, “astronaut, please!” I dreamed astronaut, I worked astronaut, I studied astronaut. I got lucky; when a probe sent out to explore the Oort Cloud found a strange alien rock and an international team of scientists was put together to go and look at it, I made the draw.I got even luckier. When disaster hit and our team was split up, scattered through the endless cold tunnels, I somehow survived. Now I’m lost, and alone, and scared, and there’s something horrible in here. Lucky me. Lucky, lucky, lucky.

To visit the author’s website go to:
Adrian Tchaikovsky - Author

To buy the novel please visit:
walking to aldebaran - Book

To add to Goodreads go to:
Yer Ports for Plunder List
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Funny, shocking, and creative.  

A great little novella.  Astronaut Gary Rendell has been wandering the "crypts" (a planet-sized orb with various entrances that seem to connect various planetary systems together; the innards of which almost seem randomly generated, like a roguelike video game) for so long that he's beginning to go a little crazy.  This insanity starts with a run of sardonic humor about his predicament (and there are some real laughs in here, I tell you what), but as the story winds on, the scales tip closer to the scary kind of crazy--a slow tick-tick-tick from Dr. Jekyll to Mr. Hyde.  The result of this insanity was shocking but so seamlessly glossed over that I hadn't realized it until two pages after the fact and had to backtrack.  Made me gasp.  

It's a good one.  Fascinating and very well written.
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Walking To Aldebaran by Adrian Tchaikovsky- Another story(novella) of an astronaut lost inside a mysterious alien artifact. Gary Rendell is part of an expedition to explore a gravity anomaly in the Kuiper Belt out past Pluto. They are looking for a planet size signature, but what they find is a revolving orb made by some long ancient alien race, possibly. Once on or in the artifact, Gary finds himself alone and all his fellow explorers quickly killed off. He travels through the dark passageways of what he calls the Crypt, searching for a way back to the ship and home.
This is a first-person slog through, self examination, philosophy, change, fear, determination, and discovery. For such a short book, it is a rather torturously long journey, with little explanation or real excitement. I recently read Tchaikovsky's Children of Time, a superb engaging science fiction extravaganza, but this novella was not that great.
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This is my second time reading Tchaikovsky and I gotta say that I’m impressed.  I was blown away a year ago after reading Children of Time and he’s done it again to me with Walking to Aldebaran.  

Aside from the fact that both stories take place in space, they are nothing alike.  WTA is about us finding an alien artefact in the furthest reaches of our solar system and then sending out an expedition to explore it.  The artefact is known as the Crypt and it is huge.  After doing some research in close proximity, a team is sent into the Crypt to find out more...and then things go horribly wrong.

It’s told from the perspective of Gary Rendell, a surviving member of the original team sent in.  He’s been lost in the Crypt for months trying to find the original entry point so he can get out, and he’s now losing his mind.  He speaks directly to you, you are forthwith to be known as Toto.

The story reminded me a bit of The Martian with it’s witty dialogue and The Stars are Legion with it’s slow discovery of a very strange place.

The other main difference between this story and Children of Time is the length.  This one is considerably shorter at 140 pages, which was kind of disappointing because the Crypt was such an interesting place.  I could have roamed around with Rendell discovering new people, creatures, and places for a while longer, but alas it was not meant to be.  It did, however, make it easy for me to read it twice, which was the first time I’ve ever done that with any book.

If you like science fiction and new discoveries, you’ll love this.  Highly recommended!!
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Decent read to add to your Sci-Fi shelf.  Basically, humans go into space, play with something they shouldn't, and we follow the repercussions of that decision as we listen to the inner monologue of an astronaut on said expedition.  Shades of themes from The Expanse, Prometheus, and 2001.  

The writing was occasionally pompous feeling just for the sake of sounding smart, but overall was well put together and flowed neatly.  Didn't really have any feelings toward the characters and I don't think the novella length had anything to do with that.
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I've really enjoyed all of the books that I've previously read by this author and this was no exception.

I loved the space setting, unreliable narrator and all the aliens/monsters that we met. 

My only gripe with it is that it was too short for me. By the point that the story had me thoroughly gripped and wanting to know what's going on, it ended. 

But overall, very enjoyable!
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I am not quite sure what to do with this book. I really liked Children of Time and I loved that the biology of the spiders was considered in their evolution. This one really had no grounding in reality and had a very unreliable narrator. The ending felt a little rushed but I enjoyed the sense of the bizarre and unexpected.
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“It had a dozen many-jointed legs, and I snapped them off and piled them up, a campfire just like my old scoutmaster taught me, and I used one of my shonky little jury-rigged pieces of nonsense to spark it into flames.”  That is astronaut Gary Rendell in survival mode. He is part of the international crew of the Quixote.  A probe was sent to look for other planets, but it found the Crypts instead. Rendell is now lost in the Crypts (a/k/a the Frog God a/k/a the artifact) after becoming separated from the rest of his crew mates.  The Crypts are a gateway to other universes, but that means that any sentient life forms in those universes can also visit the Crypts and Rendell encounters several of them, including egg people, pyramid people and the intestine monster.  Rendell also learns the lesson of being careful what you wish for. 

This novella reminded me of a Twilight Zone episode, with a combination of humor, adventure, horror and surprises. I enjoyed the author’s writing style. It demonstrates intelligence, imagination and wit. This is the first book by him that I’ve read and it made me want to read more. 

I received a free copy of this book from the publisher.
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Chilling, quick paced, full of action and suspense. Essentially a Big Dumb Object story, but this BDO is an immense alien fun house, full of mystery and horrors. The story is told through the often witty, sarcastic first person narration of a lone astronaut lost within the maze like object, making for a fun ride, yet always with a feel of something sinister lurking just out of view. I literally could not put this down. Not to be missed!
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