Walking to Aldebaran reads like a fever dream.

Have you ever experienced a fever dream? One of those utterly vivid nightmares that erupt as your body’s temperature spikes well over 100? If so, you might have a sense how Adrian Tchaikovsky could have come to write his novella, Walking to Aldebaran. There seems no other explanation that makes sense to me.

Estimated reading time: 3 minutes

In Walking to Aldebaran, it’s the 22nd century. The human race is colonizing Mars and aiming for the stars. Astronaut Gary Rendell is one of an international crew sent on a decades-long journey to investigate an anomaly that has turned up in the outer reaches of the Solar System. Probes have discovered what appears to be a massive planet far beyond the orbit of Pluto in interstellar space. But there is no planet to be found. Instead, the expedition turns up what Rendell calls the Crypts—a rocky labyrinth of seemingly infinite dimensions. (“The Crypts are older than we have words for, after all, and they stretch everywhere . . . We were looking at something made, and made on a planetary scale.”)

Walking to Aldebaran by Adrian Tchaikovsky (2019) 105 pages ★★★☆☆

Welcome to the author’s fever dream

Crawling and walking throughout the darkened tunnels of the Crypts are aliens of innumerable species. And when Rendell becomes separated from the others on his expedition, he is forced to fight to the death from time to time. And he finds himself eating the flesh of creatures he couldn’t possibly digest. Unsurprisingly, things do not end well for Mr. Rendell. But what else would you expect from a fever dream?

Walking to Aldebaran is a disappointing effort by Adrian Tchaikovsky. I found his novel, Children of Time, to be brilliant. I expected better.

Earlier I reviewed Tchaikovsky’s outstanding novel, Children of Time, the first book in his Children of Time series. My review is at Accelerated evolution is the theme in a superior science fiction novel. I also reviewed his novella, The Expert System’s Brother, at An exceedingly clever science fiction story. And I’ve included Adrian Tchaikovsky on my list of Six new science fiction authors worth reading now.

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