Published by Hodder & Stoughton on March 16, 2015
Genres: Fiction, Science Fiction, LGBTQ
My reading preferences have always favored character driven stories over plot driven. Becky Chamber’s The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet introduced me to some new favorite literary characters. The crew members of the Wayfarer are so loveable. The diversity of the characters and differences in their cultures drives many of the book’s conflicts and interactions.
The story begins with the arrival of Rosemary Harper, a newly hired clerk with a mysterious past, to the Wayfarer. The Wayfarer is a ship that tunnels for wormholes throughout the galaxy. The ship has a multi species crew that is highly diverse. They are led by the human captain Ashby Santoso. The three other humans on the crew are Artis, an algaeist, and Kizzy Shao and Jenks, both technicians. Dr. Chef, the ship’s cook and physician is a Grum, which is a species that starts life female, becomes male in the midlife, and ends as something in between. Ohan the navigator, is a Sianat pair, which is a Sian infected with a virus that gives them navigational abilities in the sublayer where wormholes are made. The ship’s communications are run by Lovelace, or Lovey, the ship’s AI. And my favorite character is the pilot Sissix, an Aandrisk. Aandrisks are reptilian and are not monogamous, very casual with sex. The crew is offered a job in a new region of the galaxy with a high price point. The journey will be dangerous because the area is known for high conflict.
All my favorite things about Becky Chambers book have to do with the amazing characters and their relationships. The crew of the Wayfarer is a tight knight found family. I appreciated how Becky Chambers includes characters with a range of pronouns. For example, Ohan is referred to as “they”, because with their virus they are a pair. This is a queer friendly book because it takes place in a future where use of non-binary pronouns is the norm. My favorite part of the story was falling in love with the members of Wayfarer’s crew. Different types of relationships are featured including inter-species romance and some brilliantly written friendships.
My one complaint about the novel was the main plot was a bit simplistic. There was nothing about the main story that was unique. Luckily, I loved the characters so much the plot didn’t really matter.
The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet was a fun adventure. I’m happy to see there are more installments in the series. I am eager to get find a copy of the next book to see what’s in store for the delightful Wayfarer crew.