Book Review: Elder Race by Adrian Tchaikovsky (five stars)

Book Review: Elder Race by Adrian Tchaikovsky (five stars)

‘This is nothing but a tower, and I am nothing but a scientist of sufficiently advanced technology, which is to say a magician.’ 

Arthur C. Clarke-ian take on St. George and the Dragon. Tchaikovsky tells the same story twice: once from the point of view of a very old, tired scientist (second class), and once from the POV of a young, impressionable princess. One filters everything through the lens of science; the other through the lenses of fantasy. Well done.

“You promised my family, long ago. Are the vows of a sorcerer nothing?” ‘I let myself behave in a remarkably unprofessional manner some time ago and here it is, back to bite me.’ 

Tchaikovsky grounds his parallel tales by flashing back and forth between the protagonists, adding their bewilderment at the words and thoughts of the other. Nice cover art.

‘No point studying the culture if it gets hold of our stuff and suddenly leaps out of barbarism and into the space age, after all. Where’s the fun in that?’ 

It’s also a sendup of certain Prime Directive series. I’m tempted to down grade almost every other contemporary science fiction/fantasy tale recently read because others do so poorly what Tchaikovsky does excellently. Do read this story.

‘Myths miss out all the sordid realities and preserve only What we wish we’d done, rather than How we actually did it.’ 

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