Space Opera! The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet by Becky Chambers

      long way stars

 

Anna of Goodreads says it’s amazing:

“10 reasons I love The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet:

1. Feel-good science fiction. Bad things happen. Injustice exists. And yet, the world is a mostly beautiful and good place. Bad people exist, but people in general are mostly nice and almost always interesting. It’s a truly heart-warming novel.

2. It’s a great big world. There are all these interesting alien species, with interesting cultures and history which affect their society. If you love well-written settings where the lore isn’t a bunc 10 reasons I love The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet:

1. Feel-good science fiction. Bad things happen. Injustice exists. And yet, the world is a mostly beautiful and good place. Bad people exist, but people in general are mostly nice and almost always interesting. It’s a truly heart-warming novel.

2. It’s a great big world. There are all these interesting alien species, with interesting cultures and history which affect their society. If you love well-written settings where the lore isn’t a bunch of facts but is actually a huge factor in the plot, you will like this.

3. Great characters. This is a character-driven story. Every crew member matters and is made interesting and memorable. This isn’t a story about the Chosen One saving the galaxy. This is the story of the crew on a ship that builds traffic routes. Sure, they’re a rather unique bunch, but ultimately there are a lot of ships like theirs and a lot of equally interesting destinies in the galaxy.

4. Great female characters. I’m not quite sure who I like more – the badass pilot, the smart but inexperienced clerk or the mechanic who spreads joy around her and keeps the ship from exploding. Or maybe that male crewmember’s love interest, who is the captain of a military freight ship and has more scars than her boyfriend. Or maybe the many women mentioned in passing who have agency and are out there doing things. Researchers, soldiers, doctors, ship captains, cult members, pilots, mechanics, traders, politicians…

5. It’s anti-prejudice. It’s relaxing to read authors who actually like people. I read a lot, but it’s not often that I see a character think “wow, she’s weird – wait, that was a bit prejudiced of me.” It’s not just that, though. The world itself seems much less sexist, racist, homophobic and transphobic than today’s world. It’s a very relaxing world to get to inhabit for a while.

6. Everyone isn’t white and straight. Tired of sci-fi and fantasy settings like that? Here, have a setting where most humans are people of color and where non-straight relationships really aren’t a big deal.

7. Aliens who upset the gender binary. Some people use xe or they as pronouns. Some species change sex during their life time, going from female to male to neither. None of it is treated as weird or icky or annoying. This makes me very happy. Even in our world, gender’s a lot more complicated than “there are two sexes,” yet books are often “here are all these extraordinary species that are totally different from humans, yet every single being is still either male or female.”

8. The aliens are strange, but so are the humans. Human culture is as interesting as the alien cultures. Human culture has actually been shaped by history. For example, the culture of the Exodus Fleet has a pacifistic streak, which has formed Ashby’s strong aversion to weapons. There’s also the fact that humans don’t have one unified culture – there are differences between Mars and the Exodus Fleet, as well as differences based on class and where you grew up.

9. The clerk who kicks ass. As an academic, it makes me happy to see someone save the day more than once by being knowledgable, doing research and filling out the right forms.

10. The author is very nice. Got a lore question? Send it to @beckysaysrawr on Twitter and get it answered. Becky Chambers is a writer, journalist, editor and all around cool person who seems very happy to talk to her fans.

(11. I just spent waaay too long writing this post. Seriously, it’s unhealthy. I need food and my back is killing me. If that’s not proof I love this book, I don’t know what is.)”

 

I like the way Anna thinks.

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