In her new novella, Sunday Times best-selling author Becky Chambers imagines a future in which, instead of terraforming planets to sustain human life, explorers of the solar system instead transform themselves.
Adriane is one such explorer. As an astronaut on an extrasolar research vessel, she and her fellow crewmates sleep between worlds and wake up each time with different features. Her experience is one of fluid body and stable mind and of a unique perspective on the passage of time. Back on Earth, society changes dramatically from decade to decade, as it always does.
Ariadne may awaken to find that support for space exploration back home has waned, or that her country of birth no longer exists, or that a cult has arisen around their cosmic findings, only to dissolve once more by the next waking. But the moods of Earth have little bearing on their mission: to explore, to study, and to send their learnings home.
I really don’t know how I’m going to make a coherent review for this or stretch out to more than one sentence. ‘It’s amazing if you enjoy SciFi, go read it,’ but, I’ll try!
This was once again a buddy read with Isabelle @ Nine Tale Vixen, though we both finished this in a sitting, so, not a huge amount of discourse going on lol.
Going into this I’ll admit, I hadn’t read any of Becky Chambers works before, this is through no fault but my own. [In fact, I did not know about her until last year, so, I’m very happy to have joined the online bookish community.]
This is a novella, so, I could go into a large and lengthy review but we all know that’s not my style anyway, I just kinda ramble until I stop, so let’s see what happens here.
Chambers has a flawless writing style, sure, this is a novella, not a ‘full-length novel’ but it’s still a full-length story and her attention detail actually floored me.
I admit, at the start, I was a little nervous, it was so technical and my immediate thought was ‘oh crap, I’m not smart enough to read this.’ Luckily there’s a better plot flow after the first chapter/section, and though I really enjoyed the technicality, I was relieved to have a better understanding of the story after that.
This is a small team of scientists, they’re exploring and collecting information to send back home to Earth and know they’ll be gone a long time on their mission.
The crew were so close and so real that I really felt connected to them and loved how raw their interactions were. Everyone was close, and of course, everyone had their moments of strain and stress, they got through things together, they individually felt their own grief, it was perfection.
Their mission is like anything in life, well planned but life gets in the way. Watching how they handle everything, was again, just this state of bliss for me because the writing was just that amazing. That doesn’t mean I didn’t feel their strife, it was definitely an emotional rollercoaster for such a tiny book.
If you like Chambers, or if you enjoy Scifi, I definitely recommend reading this. it was a 5 out of 5 cups of coffee read from me, and I am so glad I got the Goldsboro edition of it! It’s a new fave for sure!
About the Author
Becky Chambers is a science fiction author based in Northern California. She is best known for her Hugo Award-winning Wayfarers series, which currently includes The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet, A Closed and Common Orbit, and Record of a Spaceborn Few. Her books have also been nominated for the Arthur C. Clarke Award, the Locus Award, and the Women’s Prize for Fiction, among others. Her most recent work is To Be Taught, If Fortunate, a standalone novella.
Becky has a background in performing arts, and grew up in a family heavily involved in space science. She spends her free time playing video and tabletop games, keeping bees, and looking through her telescope. Having hopped around the world a bit, she’s now back in her home state, where she lives with her wife. She hopes to see Earth from orbit one day.