The Doors of Eden
Written by: Adrian Tchaikovsky
Reviewed by: Rob Leicht
As mentioned here, Adrian Tchaikovsky has vaulted up our lists of must read authors. His newest novel, The Doors of Eden, was released in August, and if it wasn’t for Piranesi would be the best book I’ve read this year. Truly epic in scope and wildly imaginative, Tchaikovsky has seamlessly combined his hard science-fiction sensibilities with the pacing of a modern political thriller and the result is remarkable.
The Doors of Eden follows six human characters as they traverse a number of alternate earths that have followed a different evolutionary path from our own. As gaps between worlds widen and other intelligent species (and those more monstrous) are able to cross between, they must work to prevent the collapse of the universe and the destruction of all timelines. Typical of Tchaikovsky, the alien is infused with humanity – the non-human characters are well-developed and likeable. His prose and dialogue has a vivid quality to it. A sort of quiet intensity that enables the reader to connect and identify with the characters and really sink into a scene. And he has masterfully created an underlying sense of unease that permeates the whole novel.
I found the first 100 or so pages to be surprisingly lacking in exposition, considering the length and complexity of the work. Early on I was unsure how the several disparate elements were going to tie together. Patience is soon rewarded though. Once you grasp the novel’s big ideas, it grabs tight and refuses to let go. The plot is highly enjoyable, but the true highlights are the alternate evolutionary reality interludes. It is here that Tchaikovsky’s imagination surges. These realities slowly merge with our own, and the final third of the novel is a non-stop roller coaster ride.
The Doors of Eden is incredibly well-researched and ambitious. This is the glorious type of science-fiction that appears to be magic, but only because you don’t yet know the science behind it. Grand and grandeur.