Recently, I noticed Becky Chambers' runaway hit The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet was available via Kindle Unlimited. I regret having waited so long to read this widely acclaimed novel.
A Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet is every 'meet the crew of a special spaceship' space opera you've read. The phenomenal world-building and super-fantastic characters are perfect for the genre. Chambers, however, addresses issues of race, gender and civil rights in such a straight-forward 'Welcome to a galaxy full of everything and everyone!' manner, with such sensitivity, honesty and insight, that I immediately recommended this book to my sci-fi loving, but very mid-teenaged niece.
Chambers shifts storytelling point-of-view every chapter, and the novel begins with Rosemary Harper. Rosemary is fleeing her wealthy family, and safe planet-side existence, out of some sort of shame-to-be-disclosed-later. She is joining the crew of the Wayfarer, a slapped together spacecraft that helps tunnel worm-holes for interstellar travel. Chambers has named the series after the ship, so you know Wayfarer is special. There are a Human captain and a multi-species crew that does the space family cooped together in a not-actually-that-small-sounding-box routine quite well.
Who they all are is actually far less interesting than how they regard one another and interact, and these are some interesting beings. Chambers excels at describing interspecies relations, methods and mannerisms that allow their society, both onboard the ship and across the galaxy, to work.
I immediately dove into the second book in ther series, A Closed and Common Orbit.
The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet by Becky Chambers via Amazon
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