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The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet {Week 2}

The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet Read-Along

I’m really enjoying this read along all! This week is hosted by Gallywampus and we read basically up to 50% of the book. Things are getting intense :D. Spoilers below up to 50% obviously.

1. There has been significant conversation about AI, what it means to be alive, whether or not AI should have rights, whether or not a person can fall in love with a specific instance of AI, etc. This is a bit of a sticky situation. After the discussion between Pepper and Jenks, how do you feel about Lovey’s and Jenks’ relationship? Should they move forward with their plan?

I love these sorts of discussions in sci-fi. I think that Lovey is clearly sentient and therefore should be able to make decisions about herself. If she wants a body, that should be an option for her. Given the sticky legal issues though, I worry that this isn’t what she really wants at this time and maybe she should wait until they have a more solid plan for what to do after she gets a body…. It’s a really interesting question though what should replace Lovey’s work on the ship. Too bad there isn’t a way for her to continue doing her job and then be able to be in a body in her off time….

2. In the chapter “Intro to Harmagian Colonial History,” we see Dr. Chef’s perspective of having been a mother, though he is currently male, and Sissix’s perspective that children aren’t people yet. Ohan is referred to as they/them. The Akarak are referred to as xyr/xe. These perspectives and preferences are perspectives actually held by different groups of humans in our own world. Do you think assigning these perspectives to aliens rather than humans make them easier or harder to sympathize with?

This is another thing I like about sci-fi! I think it makes it easier for us to think about if we have to re-learn about these ideas from an aliens’ perspective. We’re already inclined to like these aliens and want to understand them, so perhaps we are strangely more accepting of ideas in this context. Once you realize that the idea makes sense though, or isn’t all that scary, it then becomes easier to transfer it to our thinking about other humans.

3. How might the ship robbery have been different if the Wayfarer were armed?

I honestly think things would have gone really badly. Escalation is a big problem in these sort of situations, obviously, and things probably would have escalated given Jenks’ reaction to weapons being around at all!

4. As I finished the fourth chapter in my section, “Cricket,” I thought it might be a good place to stop and talk about some of our favorite humorous moments so far. What scenes really tickled your funny bone? Who makes you laugh the most?

I have to choose?? I think I like Dr. Chef the best currently since his humor is subtle but dry. Other crew members are obviously goofy and fun, but I think that I’d get along really well with Dr. Chef. Honestly the scenes that stick out to me aren’t the funny ones, but the heart-felt ones like Sissix’s interaction with the elder in the marketplace. Not funny, but heart-warming for sure.

How are you liking the story so far??

© 2015, Anya. All rights reserved.


  1. the heart-felt ones like Sissix’s interaction with the elder in the marketplace

    Oh I loved this scene so much – both the slightly awkward moments for Kizzy and Rosemary don’t know what’s going on wonder how far the public affection is going to go, and then Sissix’s anger at the social exclusion of the elder, and her willingness to reach out and let this poor lonely lady know she is loved. I see it as another aspect of ‘having aliens do things to make us think about our own behaviour’ – calling us on our willingness to reach out and include those who do not easily fit in.

    Plus Sissix is my favourite character and it reinforces one more time how caring she is (I love that the narrative almost goes out of its way to keep hammering home that the reptile is warm and fuzzy on the inside).
    iyril recently posted…#RRSciFiMonth Read Along: A Long Way To A Small Angry Planet (#2)My Profile

    • Oh yeah, that’s a great point, it is a beautiful example of us helping strangers in a way that is easy for us but means so much to them. Hehe, warm and fuzzy reptiles indeed!

  2. I’m concerned too that Lovey and Jenks haven’t thought the plan through enough. I think they’re putting too much stock on a plan that relies on Ashby being okay with the decision. Even if he agrees, it could be a real strain on the crew because they’ll have to be walking on eggshells everywhere they going knowing they have “contraband” aboard. I’m really curious how this particular Jenks/Lovey storyline will resolve.
    Mogsy @ BiblioSanctum recently posted…#RRSciFiMonth Novella Review: Binti by Nnedi OkoraforMy Profile

  3. So many great questions raised about whether AI are sentient and if so, if they should be given the same rights as any sapient. There was an interesting discussion between Lovey and Jenks about whether having a body even is something an AI would want. Apparently there is some robot-rights group in the galaxy that was lobbying for AIs to have bodies, but Lovey was saying how that’s not necessarily what AIs want, and that this is a very human bias. Also, loving how diverse the cast is in how they think about even the tiniest details we humans take for granted as “obvious”!
    Sharry recently posted…#SciFiMonth Readalong of A Long Way to a Small Angry Planet by Becky Chambers (Week 2). A diverse cast, questions about sentience and the necessity of weaponry, and more fun times with the crew.My Profile

    • I love Lovey pointing out that not all AIs necessarily want bodies, such a good point that humans can’t help but assume everyone wants to be like them, haha.

  4. Dr Chef is a great character – I really like him already and his sense of humour.
    Sissix’s encounter with her elder was a very heart warming scene and gives me even more reason to like her.
    The robbery – I agree, I think if the crew had been armed there would have been too much potential for escalation and a sticky ending. As it was they lost some of their goods but they’re easily replaced after all.
    Lynn :D
    Lynn recently posted…The Girl with Ghost Eyes by M H BorosonMy Profile

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