• The Bossy Bookworm

Review of The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet (Wayfarers #1) by Becky Chambers

Chambers's science fiction is full of heart, heartbreak, and hope--with a fascinating backdrop of space travel and interspecies relations.

"But brothers. Brothers never go away. That’s for life. And I know married folks are supposed to be for life, too, but they’re not always. Brothers you can’t get rid of. They get who you are, and what you like, and they don’t care who you sleep with or what mistakes you make, because brothers aren’t mixed up in that part of your life. They see you at your worst, and they don’t care."

In The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet, the first science fiction title in Becky Chambers's Wayfarers series, young Rosemary feels lucky to have landed the job of clerk for the quirky, ragtag, but welcoming crew of the Wayfarer ship.

The group is made up of various creatures from around the galaxy, and they've already built bonds through working together for ages. Yet they make room in the mix for Rosemary, who's grateful--and who's frankly glad to leave her significant personal troubles behind.

Just as she's adjusting to life on board, the crew gets a lucrative opportunity: to tunnel wormholes through space to a distant planet. But things quickly take a turn as pirates and other dangers threaten the makeshift family on the Wayfarer. They each have reasons to mistrust other creatures, but they have to trust and rely on each other more than ever before in order to survive.

Chambers's story is science fiction that's full of heart, heartbreak, and hope. The book feels much more focused on the characters--with a backdrop of space travel and otherworldly creatures--than on exploration or adventure. Much of the story is about acceptance and openness and finding ways to get along. Interspecies relations are prickly, comfortable, romantic, puzzling, or all of the above.

I love that the crew of the Wayfarer feels like a close-knit group of summer camp counselors somehow, palling around, sometimes irritating each other, each with special gifts and the ability and desire to help crewmates reach their full potentials, emotionally or otherwise.

I just adored this.

Do you have any Bossy thoughts about this book?

Becky Chambers's Wayfarers series includes The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet; A Closed and Common Orbit; Record of a Spaceborn Few; The Galaxy, and the Ground Within; and a series prequel, A Good Heretic. She's also the author of a A Psalm for the Wild-Built (the first in the Monk & Robot series) and its upcoming sequel, A Prayer for the Crown-Shy. She also wrote To Be Taught, If Fortunate, a standalone novella.