Adrian Tchaikovsky


Adrian Czajkowski
Adrian Tchaikovsky
Adrian Tchaikovsky
Born (1972-06-14) 14 June 1972 (age 49)[citation needed]
Woodhall Spa, Lincolnshire, England, United Kingdom
OccupationAuthor and legal executive
Alma materUniversity of Reading
Period2008 – present
GenreFantasy and science fiction
SubjectZoology and psychology
Notable worksShadows of the Apt series

Adrian Czajkowski (spelled as Adrian Tchaikovsky in his books) is a British fantasy and science fiction author. He is best known for his series Shadows of the Apt, and for his novel Children of Time.[1]

Tchaikovsky's novel Children of Time won the 30th Arthur C. Clarke Award on 24 August 2016 at a ceremony in London and was described by author James Lovegrove as "superior stuff, tackling big themes – gods, messiahs, artificial intelligence, alienness – with brio".[2]


Adrian Tchaikovsky was born in Woodhall Spa, Lincolnshire. He studied zoology and psychology at the University of Reading. He then qualified as a legal executive. He was employed as a legal executive in the Commercial Dispute Department of Blacks, Solicitors, Leeds.[3] In December 2018 he became a full time writer.[4]

He lives in Leeds with his wife and son.[5][6][7]

In 2008, after fifteen years of trying to get published, Tchaikovsky's novel Empire in Black and Gold was published by Tor Books (UK) – an imprint of Pan Macmillan – in the United Kingdom.[8] The series was later picked up for publication in America by Pyr Books. Tchaikovsky expressed desire that the Polish editions of his novels be printed under his real name,[9] but these too used "Tchaikovsky".[10]

On 23 January 2019, Tchaikovsky was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of the Arts by the University of Lincoln.[11]

Awards and nominations

Tchaikovsky has received the following literary awards and nominations:


Shadows of the Apt series


The series is set in a fictional universe populated by different "kinden". Each kinden is a fictional race of humans, named after (and having certain characteristics of) an insect. Kinden are typically divided into two categories: "Apt" and "Inapt". The Apt do not have magical abilities, but are able to understand, use and design mechanical devices. The Inapt have varying amounts of magical abilities, but cannot use mechanical devices, even those as simple as latches. The series focuses on the attempted conquest of the Lowlands by the Wasp-kinden empire.

Genesis of the Apt

Tchaikovsky revealed the story behind the Shadows of the Apt in an online essay entitled "Entering the Shadows" at[13]

Whilst studying at the University of Reading he ran a role-playing game called Bugworld. The game told the story of the insect-people of the Lowlands, under threat from the encroaching Wasp Empire. From this original scenario the entire series of books grew.

Tchaikovsky still uses role-playing games to help construct his stories, but now also uses live action role-playing, which assists in describing the numerous action and battle sequences in his books. Adrian is currently involved with the LARP game Empire.[14]


The list of novels in the series is as follows:[15][16]

  • Empire in Black and Gold (2008), ISBN 978-0-230-73646-7
  • Dragonfly Falling (2009), ISBN 978-0-230-70415-2
  • Blood of the Mantis (2009), ISBN 978-0-230-70416-9
  • Salute the Dark (2010), ISBN 978-0-330-51144-5
  • The Scarab Path (2010), ISBN 978-0-330-51145-2
  • The Sea Watch (2011), ISBN 978-0-330-51146-9
  • Heirs of the Blade (2011), ISBN 978-0-230-75699-1
  • The Air War (2012), ISBN 978-0-230-75700-4
  • War Master's Gate (2013), ISBN 978-0-230-75701-1
  • Seal of the Worm (2014), ISBN 978-0-230-77001-0

Principal characters in Shadows of the Apt

  • Stenwold Maker: Beetle-kinden spymaster and statesman. The character is pivotal to the entire series and was created back in the "Bugworld" game. Stenwold Maker runs a network of spies throughout the Lowlands. He is based at Collegium, the city of learning and the series starts with him warning of the growing dangers from the Wasp Empire when no one else is listening.
  • Tisamon: Mantis-kinden Weaponmaster, Stenwold's friend. This character is the most savage warrior in the series with a tortured past and present.
  • Tynisa Maker: Halfbreed daughter of Tisamon with a Spider blood, Stenwold's ward, duellist.
  • Cheerwell Maker: (Che) Beetle-kinden, niece of Stenwold Maker. Cheerwell Maker starts as a rather bumbling character, who nevertheless is a key player in the series and has a significant progress through the story.
  • Thalric: Wasp-kinden captain, spymaster, a major in the Rekef, which is the secret service of the Wasp Empire, Stenwold's opposite number.
  • Totho: Halfbreed artificer with Beetle and Ant blood and unrequited lover of Cheerwell Maker. Totho is the inventor of the snapbow which significantly changes the course of the war. This introduces the recurring theme of the Arms Race.
  • Achaeos: Moth-kinden seer, who starts by being true to his people's traditions and hating all Beetles, their traditional enemies, but his view is changed by Stenwold and Cheerwell Maker.
  • Prince Salme "Salma" Dien: Dragonfly-kinden student in Collegium, duellist.
  • Seda: Wasp-kinden, sister of the Wasp emperor
  • General Tynan: Wasp-kinden, leader of the army sent to conquer Collegium
  • Eujen Leadswell: Beetle-kinden student in Collegium
  • Straessa the Antspider: A halfbreed student in Collegium, Eujen's girlfriend

Magic v technology

Tchaikovsky has regularly expressed his intention in this fantasy series not to make science better than magic,[17] or vice versa: "This is another key element, really: the magic/tech divide is a concept that turns up here and there in fantasy, but usually one side is good (mostly magic) and the other (dirty polluting tech) is bad. With the world of the kinden, they’re basically both as bad as the people who use them, whether it’s blood sacrifice in a Mantis-kinden grove or the Wasp Empire’s city-levelling weaponry."[18]

Children of Time series

Children of Time

The science fiction novel Children of Time (2015), ISBN 978-1447273288, describes a human expedition to a distant, terraformed planet. The expedition seeks to introduce a species of monkey into this new world, along with a nanovirus designed to raise these monkeys to human levels of sentience and intelligence within a few hundred years. This plan having gone wrong, a future generation of humans interacts with a super species of sentient spiders; the story follows the spider Portia and her species while they grow.

Children of Ruin

A sequel to Children of Time, titled Children of Ruin, was published in 2019.[19] In it, a terraforming mission similar to the one portrayed in Children of Time encounters alien life in a newly-discovered planetary system.

Echoes of the Fall series

This is an iron-age fantasy series in a world populated by various clans of shapeshifters.

  • The Tiger and the Wolf (2016), ISBN 9780230770065
  • The Bear and the Serpent (2017), ISBN 9781509830220
  • The Hyena and the Hawk (2018), ISBN 9781509830268


Dogs of War

Dogs of War is a speculative sci-fi action novel. (Head of Zeus, 2017), ISBN 9781786693884

Bear Head

Bear Head is a novel set on a partially terraformed Mars. (Head of Zeus, 2021), ISBN 978-1800241541

The Final Architecture

Shards of Earth

Shards of Earth is a space opera novel set after the destruction of the Earth by the mysterious alien "Architects". (Tor, 2021), ISBN 978-1529051889

Eyes of the Void

Eyes of the Void is the forthcoming sequel to Shards of Earth. (Tor, 2022), ISBN 978-1529051933

Standalone novels

Guns of the Dawn

Guns of the Dawn is the story of a common soldier at war, set in a world with the technology of muskets plus a smidgen of magic. (2015), ISBN 9780230770034


Spiderlight is a fantasy novel published by in 2016. ISBN 9780765388360

Cage of Souls

Cage of Souls is a science fiction novel. (Head of Zeus, 2019), ISBN 978-1788547246. In this book, Stefan Advani - one of the last remaining humans - describes his dangerous journey across the varied landscapes of an ancient, dying Earth.

The Doors of Eden

The Doors of Eden is a science fiction novel about parallel Earths. (2020), ISBN 978-1509865888.

After the War series

Redemption's Blade (Solaris Books, 2018), ISBN 9781781085790, is the first book in a multi-author series. The series was continued with Salvation's Fire by Justina Robson and published on 4 September 2018.

Warhammer 40,000

Tchaikovsky's first Warhammer 40,000 novel Day of Ascension (2022), like his short story "Raised in Darkness" from Inferno! Volume 6 (2021), focuses on the insidious Genestealer Cults.


  • Ironclads (Solaris Books, 2017), ISBN 978-1781085684
  • The Expert System's Brother (, 2018), ISBN 9781250197566. The story is told by a member of a humanoid species who lives in symbiosis with the jungle-like flora of an alien world, a relationship maintained and regulated by the remains of an advanced technology of mysterious origin.
  • Walking to Aldebaran (Solaris Books, 2019), ISBN 9781781087060. This book describes the experiences of a British member of an international space mission who has become stranded in a vast, maze-like world full of alien life forms that, like him, are lost in its seemingly endless passageways.
  • Made Things (, 2019), ISBN 9781250232991
  • Firewalkers (Solaris Books, 2020), ISBN 9781781088487. This book tells the story of the Firewalkers, brave but expendable kids who provide water and power to the ultra-rich waiting to escape a burning Earth.
  • The Expert System's Champion (, 2021), ISBN 978-1250766397
  • One Day All This Will Be Yours (Solaris Books, 2021), ISBN 978-1781088746. This story is told from the perspective of a soldier in the time-shattering Causality War, who has escaped to the end of time.
  • Elder Race (, 2021), ISBN 978-1250768728
  • Ogres (Solaris Books, 2022), ISBN 978-1786185280.

Short stories

  • Feast and Famine (New Con Press, 2013), ISBN 978-1907069543. This collection contains the stories "Feast and Famine", "The Artificial Man", "The Roar of the Crowd", "Good Taste", "The Dissipation Club", "Rapture", "Care", "2144 and All That", "The God Shark" and "The Sun in the Morning".
  • "The Final Conjuration" in Two Hundred and Twenty-One Baker Streets: An Anthology of Holmesian Tales Across Time and Space (Abaddon Books, 2014) ISBN 978-1781082225, a collection of Sherlock Holmes short stories
  • "Where the Brass Band Plays" in Urban Mythic 2 (Alchemy Press, 2014), ISBN 978-0-9573489-9-8[20]
  • "Shadow Hunter" in Grimdark Magazine, issue #1[21]

Critical studies and reviews of Tchaikovsky's work

The doors of Eden
  • West, Michelle (July–August 2020). "Musing on Books". F&SF. 139 (1&2): 88‒94.


  1. ^ Tomio, Jay (26 September 2008). "Bug Out with Adrian Tchaikovsky Before Children of Time". Nekoplz. Retrieved 11 March 2010.
  2. ^ a b Flood, Alison (24 August 2016). "Arthur C Clarke award goes to Adrian Tchaikovsky's novel of 'universal scale'". Retrieved 25 August 2016 – via
  3. ^ "404 Error Page" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 10 December 2015. Retrieved 23 January 2019.
  4. ^ "Leaping into the Void : Shadows of the Apt".
  5. ^ "Pan Macmillan author page". Archived from the original on 13 January 2012. Retrieved 2 April 2012.
  6. ^ Tchaikovsky, Adrian (2010). The Scarab Path. Tor Books. ISBN 978-0-330-51145-2.
  7. ^ Wright, Jonathan (September 2009). "Meet a Brit author in the vanguard of the new heroic fantasy…". SFX Magazine. Archived from the original on 8 March 2010. Retrieved 15 March 2010.
  8. ^ "Adrian Tchaikovsky interview". Archived from the original on 9 November 2009. Retrieved 28 May 2010.
  9. ^ Tchaikovsky, Adrian (30 March 2008). "The Long Good Lunch". Empire Rising. Archived from the original on 13 March 2012. However, as the possibility of the Polish rights being sold seems extremely viable, there is an epilogue to this tale of Frankish ignorance, for in Poland, one would strongly assume, I may finally see my name in print in its unadulterated form.
  10. ^ "Imprerium Czerni i złota – Adrian Tchaikovsky" (in Polish). Rebis. Archived from the original on 9 October 2010. Retrieved 12 October 2010.
  11. ^ "First nursing associates graduate among 1,000 students in Lincoln". The Lincolnite. 23 January 2019. Retrieved 23 January 2019.
  12. ^ "Announcing the 2017 British Fantasy Award Winners". 1 October 2017.
  13. ^ "Story behind Shadows of the Apt by Adrian Tchaikovsky – Entering the Shadows". Archived from the original on 6 October 2014. Retrieved 8 August 2014.
  14. ^ "Profound Decisions – Empire". Retrieved 23 January 2019.
  15. ^ "Adrian Tchaikovsky". Pan Macmillan. Archived from the original on 2 September 2012. Retrieved 5 February 2013.
  16. ^ Tchaikovsky, Adrian (3 February 2013). "Bibliography". Shadows of the Apt (blog). Pan Macmillan. Archived from the original on 27 December 2013.
  17. ^ See Magic in fiction
  18. ^ "Interview with Adrian Tchaikovsky, author of Shadow of the Apt series". Retrieved 23 January 2019.
  19. ^ "Books to the future! : Shadows of the Apt". Retrieved 9 August 2018.
  20. ^ "Urban Mythic 2". 12 August 2014. Retrieved 23 January 2019.
  21. ^ "Grimdark Magazine #1".

External links