So…I accidentally skipped a week of posting for, I believe, the first time ever. Sorry about that ¯\_(ツ)_/¯. Things got, and remain, a little out of control.
In other news, I have just finished a most wonderful book! The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet by Becky Chambers.
What a book! The moment I finished it I hopped on Goodreads, gave it 5 stars, and marked it as a favorite. I am psyched to read the next one, A Closed and Common Orbit.
This was the first book that I’ve ever read on the Kindle app. I can’t say I enjoyed the experience. It was handy to have the book constantly with me, but the screen just doesn’t fit enough words to make me feel like I’m making progress, which is why it took me an oddly long time to finish the book.
The Long Way follows the small crew of a ship that punches wormholes through space. It rotates POV quite often, and for once it didn’t bother me unduly. There wasn’t much about this book that I didn’t love, and I shall use a handy tool known as listing to highlight my favorite aspects.
- The worldbuilding. Holy lord, the worldbuilding. The alien species. Their history. The Galactic Commons. What a work of art. All alien species were suitably alien, and suitably fantastic. Down to fascinating biological and inter-species history, Chambers built an immersive, fantastic, bizarre universe.
- The romance. Interspecies romance done right is fascinating, and this book does it right. What was fascinating to me was how much Chambers was able to convey about the cultures of various species, exploring romantic compatibility and hangups with other species, in a relatively short amount of time.
- Non-human centric. Too often sci-fi smacks of human exceptionalism. Not so in this book–in fact, humans are kind of the runts of the Galactic Commons. Lots of musing on the nature of humanity from various points of view, human and nonhuman. Lovely.
- Ethics. Lots of discussions of the ethics of various species. Maybe this should fall under worldbuilding, but it stood out to me so strongly it deserves its own number.
- Lastly: THE CHARACTERS! By the end of the book there was not a character that I did not feel fondly towards, even the ones I hated at first.
The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet feels different from other sci-fi. The tone is lighthearted: it’s a book that’s serious, but doesn’t take itself too seriously. I can’t pinpoint the exact type of book or tone I feel like it is, but I can only hope it’s the start of something great.