Received to review via Netgalley
I’m really late to this one, I know, but it caught my eye on my Kindle today and I dug in. It was a longer read than it looked, but it still went down pretty easy; by 60% of the way through, I had a solid idea about where it was going. I hadn’t quite caught all the nuances, though. But this is starting at the end.
To start at the beginning, Walking to Aldebaran is a novella-length story about Gary Rendell, a somewhat Mark Watney-esque character who is lost within the depths of a Big Dumb Object. The Mark Watney comparison is mostly referring to the narration, which has a very similar tone; Rendell, however, is rather less ingenious and rather more to putting his head down and charging at whatever it is that’s bothering him. Mostly, he just wants to go home, but the Crypts (his name for the Big Dumb Object) are vast, confusing, and full of physics that makes no sense.
I’ll be honest: while reading it, I was mostly thinking about how much more it would be up my wife’s alley. There’s a lot of weirdness going on, and some horror elements, that all in all reminds me of the work of Jeff Vandermeer or China Miéville. The narration is fairly straightforward — at times, Gary starts talking about how he got there, telling the story of the expedition and how the Big Dumb Object was discovered, but mostly it’s pretty linear and I thought I knew what was happening by around about 60% of the way through.
However, Tchaikovsky is not without his tricks. I didn’t quite catch on to everything until I peeked at other people’s reviews/discussions on Goodreads. That’s all I’ll say; too much would spoil it. It’s possible that I was having a particularly dim day not to spot it right away, of course, but I still appreciated it very much once I “got” it.
Overall, quite enjoyable, and I think it’s possible this is one that will stick in my head, despite it not being an outright awesome match for my reading tastes.