I really enjoyed my time with Alien Clay. It’s yet another great book by the great Adrian Tchaikovsky with a cool xenobiology concept and building an intriguing story around it.

Meet Anton Daghdev, a fallen-out-of-grace academic who is sentenced to spend the rest of his life on an out-of-solar-system penal colony for the crime of not following the “right” science.

From the get-go Tchaikovsky paints a very vivid societal picture with an autocratic regime and the science that opposes it. If you don’t fall in line, you’re sentenced to a one-way trip to a veritable labour camp, from which there is virtually no escape.

Enter Kiln, the particular planet they built the labour camp on which has a rather interesting biosphere add the remnants of a mystery civilization and you have a recipe for a great story.

The story is wrapped in Tchaikovsky’s signature writing style which is both incredibly lyrical and witty at the same time. A true joy to read. 4.5 stars.

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