Children of Time is a 2015 award-winning science fiction novel by Adrian Tchaikovsky. I read it because it won the Arthur C. Clarke award, and I was not disappointed. I was enthralled by this story of the end of the human race and the attempt to make a place on another planet. You might think it would be hard to draw fully formed characters when the scope of the novel covers such a long period of time, but you'd be wrong. The world-building is also good, envisioning an alien culture in a way that draws you in. This author is better known for his fantasy works, but as I prefer science fiction I hadn't read anything by him.
from the back of the book:
Who will inherit this new earth?The Guardian has a review which quotes the Clarke Awards director as saying the book "has a universal scale and sense of wonder reminiscent of Clarke himself, combined with one of the best science fictional extrapolations of a not-so-alien species and their evolving society". Financial Times says, "This is superior stuff, tackling big themes — gods, messiahs, artificial intelligence, alienness — with brio."
The last remnants of the human race left a dying Earth, desperate to find a new home. Following their ancestors' star maps, they discovered the greatest treasure of a past age -a world terraformed and prepared for human life.
But all is not right in this new Eden. 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 and must fight to survive. As the fate of humanity hangs in the balance, who are the true heirs of this new Earth?
SF Signal says, "BOTTOM LINE: An entertaining and thought provoking novel of post humanity, survival and legacy." SFF World closes a positive review (and detailed plot description) by calling it "A pleasingly, entertainingly solid read." SF Books concludes, "Children of Time has that essence of the classic science fiction novels, that sense of wonder and unfettered imagination but combined with this is the charm of a writer who really knows how to entertain, how to spin a good story. Essential science fiction, a book not to be missed."