Adrian Tchaikovsky

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Adrian Czajkowski
Adrian Tchaikovsky at Edge Lit 4.jpg
Adrian Tchaikovsky
Born Woodhall Spa, Lincolnshire, United Kingdom
Occupation Author and Legal Executive
Language English
Nationality British
Alma mater University of Reading
Period 2008 - Present
Genre Fantasy and science fiction
Subject Zoology and Psychology
Notable works Shadows of the Apt series.

Adrian Czajkowski (spelled as Adrian Tchaikovsky in his books) is a British fantasy and science fiction author. His best known work is the Shadows of the Apt series.[1]

Adrian's novel Children of Time won the 30th Arthur C. Clarke Award on August 24, 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 is currently employed as a Legal Executive in the Commercial Dispute Department of Blacks, Solicitors, Leeds.[3] He lives in Leeds with his wife and son.[4][5][6]

After fifteen years of trying to get published, Tchaikovsky obtained his first break in 2008.[7] That year Empire in Black and Gold was published by Tor Books (UK) – an imprint of Pan Macmillan – in the United Kingdom. The series was later picked up for publication in America by Pyr Books. He has stated in his blog, that he chose to publish under the name Tchaikovsky, as the spelling of his given name could have caused potential difficulties for American and British readers in both spelling and pronunciation. This is a common marketing approach in both UK and US publishing industries, where the publishers feel a name should be altered to help sales. Subsequently, the American and German editions of the book and its sequels were published under the same name. Tchaikovsky expressed desire that the Polish editions of his novels be printed under his real name,[8] but these too used "Tchaikovsky".[9]

Awards and nominations[edit]

Adrian Tchaikovsky received the following literary awards and nominations:

2016: Arthur C. Clarke Award for Children of Time (winner)[10]

2017: British Fantasy Award - Best Fantasy Novel for "The Tiger and the Wolf" (winner)[11]


Shadows of the Apt series[edit]


The series is set in a hypothetical 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.

Live Action Role Play

Genesis of the Apt[edit]

Tchaikovsky revealed the story behind the Shadows of the Apt in an online essay entitled Entering the Shadows at[12] Whilst studying at the University of Reading he ran a Role-playing game called Bugworld. Bugworld 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 subsequently grew.

Tchaikovsky still uses Role-playing games to help construct his stories, but now this is Live action role-playing which assist in describing the numerous action and battle sequences in his books. Adrian is currently involved with the LARP game Empire.[13]


The list of novels in the series is as follows:[14][15]

Principal Characters in Shadows of the Apt[edit]

  • 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[edit]

Tchaikovsky has regularly expressed his intention in this fantasy series not to make science better than magic,[16] 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.[17]

Standalone Novels[edit]

Guns of the Dawn[edit]

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

Children of Time[edit]

Children of Time is a science fiction novel. (2015), ISBN 978-1447273288

The last remnants of the human race left a dying Earth, desperate to find a new home among the stars. Following in the footsteps of their ancestors, they discover the greatest treasure of the past age - a world terraformed and prepared for human life. But all is not right in this new Eden. In the long years since the planet was abandoned, the work of its architects has borne disastrous fruit. The planet is not waiting for them, pristine and unoccupied. New masters have turned it from a refuge into mankind's worst nightmare. Now two civilizations are on a collision course, both testing the boundaries of what they will do to survive. As the fate of humanity hangs in the balance, who are the true heirs of this new Earth?


Spiderlight is a sword & sorcery fantasy novel. (2016), ISBN 9780765388360

Dogs of War[edit]

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

Echoes of the Fall series[edit]

Iron-age fantasy series in a world populated by various clans of shapeshifters.

Short stories[edit]

  • Feast and Famine in Solaris Rising 2:The New Solaris Book of Science Fiction (Solaris Books, 2013) ISBN 978-1-78108-087-0
    The tense and gripping story of a rescue mission where the rescuers have to avoid sharing the same fate of those they have come to rescue.[18]
  • Feast and Famine (Imaginings 6) (New Con Press. 2013) ISBN 978-1907069543
    Imaginings is a series of short story collections showcasing the work of different authors in each volume. 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 [19]
  • Shadow Hunter Grimdark Magazine Issue #1[20]
  • Ironclads (Solaris Books, 2017) ISBN 978-1781085684

Critical reception[edit]

Longtime epic fantasy readers will find many familiar elements in this intriguing début...Patriotic but conflicted Wasp Thalric puts a sympathetic face on evil. Tchaikovsky exercises considerable talent in assembling these well-worn pieces into a new puzzle, developing an interesting story and world with humour and skilful prose. Readers may be pleasantly surprised to find themselves looking forward to future instalments. - Review of Empire in Black and Gold in the Publishers Weekly.[21]

Tchaikovsky's fourth Shadows of the Apt installment is that rarest of gems in series fantasy: an intermediate book in which genuinely decisive events occur...Vast armies clash, but in the end the conflicts are determined by individual choices. Tchaikovsky tests all his characters in the full knowledge that many will fail, some heroically and others in despair. Readers who like their military fantasy to come with real consequences will be completely enthralled. - Review of Salute the Dark in the Publishers Weekly.[22]


  1. ^ Tomio, Jay (26 September 2008). "On the Spot at BSC – Adrian Tchaikovsky interview". BookSpotCentral. Archived from the original on 5 April 2010. Retrieved 11 March 2010. 
  2. ^ Flood, Alison (26 August 2016). "Arthur C Clarke award goes to Adrian Tchaikovsky's novel of 'universal scale'". Retrieved 25 August 2016. 
  3. ^
  4. ^ "Pan Macmillan author page". Retrieved 2 April 2012. 
  5. ^ Tchaikovsky, Adrian (2010). The Scarab Path. Tor Books. ISBN 978-0-330-51145-2. 
  6. ^ 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. 
  7. ^ Adrian Tchaikovsky interview
  8. ^ 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. 
  9. ^ "Imprerium Czerni i złota - Adrian Tchaikovsky" (in Polish). Rebis. Archived from the original on 9 October 2010. Retrieved 12 October 2010. 
  10. ^ [1]
  11. ^ "Announcing the 2017 British Fantasy Award Winners". October 1, 2017. 
  12. ^ "Story behind Shadows of the Apt by Adrian Tchaikovsky - Entering the Shadows". Retrieved 8 August 2014. 
  13. ^;jsessionid=17t6iey5fj5mj?0
  14. ^ "Adrian Tchaikovsky". Pan Macmillan. Retrieved 5 February 2013. 
  15. ^ Tchaikovsky, Adrian (3 February 2013). "Bibliography". Shadows of the Apt (blog). Pan Macmillan. Archived from the original on 5 February 2013. 
  16. ^ See Magic in fiction
  17. ^
  18. ^ Review by Ian Hunter in interzone (magazine) 247 Jul/Aug 2013 page 80
  19. ^
  20. ^
  21. ^ Publisher's Weekly
  22. ^ Publisher's Weekly

External links[edit]