In both history and science-fiction, I have always been drawn to discussions about what the life of an average person would be like. While the shining knights of both Star Wars and Star Trek catch our eyes, I often wondered what it would be like to be the average Joe or Jane who simply has a routine job on a space ship or space station. I think that’s why Firefly and Babylon 5 (and yes, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine) had such loyal fan bases. We want to experience vicariously not only the glitter of the space faring elite but also the day-to-day experiences of average Humans doing their jobs alongside alien races far, far from home.
If this sort of book interests you, do yourself a favor and not only get this book but pre-order the sequel that is scheduled for October!! Trust me, when you finish The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet, you’ll be glad you have the next volume reserved.
Note: I received an advanced copy of THE LONG WAY TO A SMALL, ANGRY PLANET from the publisher. Some things may have changed in the final version.
The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet by Becky Chambers (Wayfarers #1)
Published by Harper Voyager on July 5th 2016 (rerelease)
Genres: Adult, Sci-fi
Page Length: 443 pages
How I got my copy: Publisher
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Follow a motley crew on an exciting journey through space—and one adventurous young explorer who discovers the meaning of family in the far reaches of the universe—in this light-hearted debut space opera from a rising sci-fi star.
Rosemary Harper doesn’t expect much when she joins the crew of the aging Wayfarer. While the patched-up ship has seen better days, it offers her a bed, a chance to explore the far-off corners of the galaxy, and most importantly, some distance from her past. An introspective young woman who learned early to keep to herself, she’s never met anyone remotely like the ship’s diverse crew, including Sissix, the exotic reptilian pilot, chatty engineers Kizzy and Jenks who keep the ship running, and Ashby, their noble captain.
Life aboard the Wayfarer is chaotic and crazy—exactly what Rosemary wants. It’s also about to get extremely dangerous when the crew is offered the job of a lifetime. Tunneling wormholes through space to a distant planet is definitely lucrative and will keep them comfortable for years. But risking her life wasn’t part of the plan. In the far reaches of deep space, the tiny Wayfarer crew will confront a host of unexpected mishaps and thrilling adventures that force them to depend on each other. To survive, Rosemary’s got to learn how to rely on this assortment of oddballs—an experience that teaches her about love and trust, and that having a family isn’t necessarily the worst thing in the universe.
- I loved the characters. The ship’s crew is multi-faceted and drawn from several different species. They have their strengths and weaknesses, and many of them develop as sapients during the course of the book …. often in unexpected ways.
- The aliens are alien rather than thinly veiled Humans. As one philosophical passage notes, the various sentient species share many similar characteristics, but they also have fundamental differences. Most species think and act not as Humans, and sometimes they are incomprehensible to their ship mates. Usually, these differences can be worked around by civilized people and an understanding ship’s cook. Sometimes the differences are a source of mirth. But sometimes, misunderstandings can have devastating impacts.
- Chambers handles the hypothetical science of space travel ….. and the resulting societal structures …. quite well. Travel through ordinary space takes a long time, unlike most science fiction where going to the next solar system takes about as much time as heading out for Grandma’s house for a holiday. The resulting challenges to a space ship’s crew, and the ways that they cope, make for interesting reading.
- My only issue with the book is that it is occasionally a bit choppy. Chambers covers a year in the life of the crew, and so breaks in the narrative must happen, but there were a few times when a large time gap between chapters was unexpected and jarring.
If I could give this book 6 stars, I would. It’s a fun read: very original and gripping throughout. I made excuses to find time to read “just a few more pages” and almost missed my bus stop once because I was so engrossed.
Have you read this one? What did you think? Are you excited for it if you haven’t gotten to it yet?
Try it out for yourself!
THE LONG WAY TO A SMALL, ANGRY PLANET by BECKY CHAMBERS
© 2016, Barbara. All rights reserved.