Record of a Spaceborn Few (Wayfarers #3)

“Amias Mitchell,’ Kip said. ‘Born aboard the Asteria. Forty Solar days of age as of GC standard day 211/310. He is now, and always, a member of our Fleet. By our laws, he is assured shelter and passage here. If we have food, he will eat. If we have air, he will breathe. If we have fuel, he will fly. He is son to all grown, brother to all still growing. We will care for him, protect him, guide him. We welcome you, Amias, to the decks of the Asteria, and to the journey we take together.’ He spoke the final words now, and the room joined him. ‘From the ground, we stand. From our ships, we live. By the stars, we hope.”

It’s absolutely fascinating what Becky Chambers has done with The Wayfarers books. In one, we get a slice of life on a long haul spaceship with all sorts of aliens; [in two]({{ref “2022-04-10-a-closed-and-common-orbit”}}), we get an embodied AI and a former cloned slave learning about being people, and now… we get the most ‘human’ centric of the stories thus far. It’s all about the Exodus Fleet–a few dozen generation ships built from the ruins of Earth’s cities and launched into deep space what feels like a very long time ago–certainly before humanity knew for sure there was anyone else out there.

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A Closed and Common Orbit (Wayfarers #2)

Life is terrifying. None of us have a rule book. None of us know what we’re doing here. So, the easiest way to stare reality in the face and not utterly lose your shit is to believe that you have control over it. If you believe you have control, then you believe you’re at the top. And if you’re at the top, then people who aren’t like you… well, they’ve got to be somewhere lower, right? Every species does this. Does it again and again and again. Doesn’t matter if they do it to themselves, or another species, or someone they created.

Oh. Wow. The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet felt like lightning in a bottle. Something amazing–a look at the life in a long haul spaceship full of strange and wonderful characters–that I wasn’t sure how it could possibly be continued.

Turns out… just like this. This is a very very good sequel.

On one hand, A Closed and Common Orbit was a bit of a surprise. We only barely get any of the characters we know and love from the first book. There are a few hints of and references to them, but for the most part, we instead focus on Lovey/Sidra* and Pepper, learning once again how two very strange and different sorts of people can grow into a family. The same general idea, approached a totally different way.

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The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet (Wayfarers #1)

Ashby eyed the readouts on his control screen. “I swear, our engines have never been running this smooth.”

Sissix spoke without looking up from her navigation controls. “That’s what happens when you take two easily-bored techs on a long haul.”

“Hmm. Maybe we should do this more often.”

That made Sissix’s head turn. She gave him a look that could melt the hull. “Let’s not.”

That’s a great book. It’s a slice of life story, set on small starship travelling the galaxy chock full of some of the most fascinating and delightful characters I’ve read in a scifi novel in a long time. There’s not particularly a huge over-arching plot. Instead, our intrepid band of oddballs is off on a long mission (it’s a Long Way after all) to the edge (center?) of ‘known’ space. Really, we’re just on a trip with them, through all the ups and downs, the drama and relationships. It’s exactly the sort of story I didn’t even know I was looking for. Well worth a read.

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