The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet
By Becky Chambers
E-book, 476 pages
2015, Harper Voyager
Rosemary has used up her savings to hide her past and leave her home planet of Mars. She joins the multi-species crew of a ship whose job it is to punch wormholes through space. Rosemary is finally free to explore the galaxy and finds unexpected friendships among the diverse crew. Among adventure and danger Rosemary learns that there’s more to family than blood.
I don’t know how to talk about this book, but it’s so, so, so good. One of those books where I knew from the first few pages that I was going to love it. Again, credit goes to Chelsea for talking about this book on her channel (and slightly to Amazon for having the e-book on sale for $1.99) and I can’t wait to buy a physical copy and the sequel/companion.
Angry Planet is a fabulously character driven sci-fi. The characters are everything and I love them. But! Don’t be alarmed! There’s still a plot (a good one, I think) and plenty of cool future-tech and science techno-babble. I really enjoyed the way Chambers handled the science aspects. I’m in no way classified to talk about the realism or potential of the future and technology she created, but I found it convincing. It wasn’t overbearing or confusing and blended into the story and the lives of her characters very well.
I, just, I don’t know. This book is a bit of a slow burn but before you know it you’re loving all the characters and their histories and their relationships and then things happen and you’re like, “ah!” and you have feelings and then you love this book! Right?
This is by far the most diverse sci-fi (or…any genre probably) book I’ve ever read. I don’t consciously seek out diversity in my reads, but I love it. Angry Planet has a variety of religions/life outlooks, species, interspecies relationships, LGBT characters and even the (incredibly interesting) subject of AI sentience and their rights. I even encountered the term ‘xyr’ for the first time. Chambers has created a vast and varied universe and feeds you little tidbits until you’re starving for more.
Hmm, ok that’s a terrible analogy, but I’m going to keep it because this book is too good and I can’t think of anything clever or helpful to say, so why not just go with whatever comes out?
If you like character driven sci-fi, diversity, AI and books that are just plain good, definitely pick this up. I can’t wait to grab the UK copies of this and the next book because they’re gorgeous and I might even re-read Angry Planet as soon as I get my hands on it! It might be the best sci-fi book I’ve ever read!