A Long Way to a Small Angry Planet – Becky Chambers

A little bit late on the bandwagon but what a brilliant book this is. Recommended it by a friend who had heard excellent reviews and I was convinced to read it. Not only does was I unable to put it down, it fitted nicely in with my own reading self-given reading list for university (an added bonus).

The book follows Rosemary Harper as she enlists on a tunnelling ship which is then hired to create a hyperspace tunnel to a hostile area of space in the midst of a civil war. As Rosemary is new to the experience of space travel herself I (as the reader) was able to go along on this journey with her, and as she was introduced to new information so was I. I was able to connect more to her and story this way. I was able to learn the ways of this new era without feeling like there was a huge info-dump. Instead the information is scattered throughout making the process of learning more natural than “this is how it is and why”.

The book does not only focus on Rosemary but her crew mates also. I felt just as connected to them as I did to her. The troubles they face are all individual to their species as they work, live and socialise together on the Wayfayer, their ship. I loved the interactions between them all and how Rosemary tries to get her head around their ways of life and how to live with them. My favourite character after Rosemary is Sissix, a reptilian life form (known as Aandrisk) from the planet Hashkath. Her loneliness while being surrounded by people and her aches for home is portrayed so well through her thoughts and speech, I felt an attachment to her.

The issues that arise from a multispecies ship and galaxy are all too familiar when we look at our present day society. How do we interact with other that may be unfamiliar to us? And how do we, or should we change for the people around us? The book tackles these issues perfectly, subtlety throughout, calling on us to realise that we are not the only species that is important and, at times, we need to accommodate others. As well as this is also opens the door into AI and whether if a computer can feel it emotions it should be granted the same rights as a sentient being.

The book hooked me from the first page to the last and I can’t wait for the second instalment. Hopefully it won’t take me too long to get around to it next time.

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