I stumbled upon this book when I was searching for my next scifi fiction read. It listed as one of the best scifi novels and I put it in my TBR list. I didn’t even read the synopsis, didn’t even read all the comments and reviews.
So, not so long after I finally had the book, I read several pages from the first chapter, and I remember thinking to myself at the time: “huh. a girl in a space pod going to a spaceship in the middle of nowhere, all while suffering from some existential crisis. hoo-ray. let’s read it after I finish another book.” and I picked another book, a non-fiction if I’m not mistaken, and I kinda forgot the Becky Chamber book. Then, one day, I had nothing (interesting) to read so I decided to continue my reading on this The Long Way to Small, Angry Planet book (I mean, I already read some pages from the first chapter, less page to read, why not?), 3 chapters after and I was hooked.
Only after I finished the book and looking for its quotes and reviews on the internet, I knew that the book was fell within the space opera genre, along with Star Wars and Star Trek.
Huh. It did feel like an opera somehow. In a good way. Not that opera, in general, was bad, it’s…
Anyway, the book is great. A few imperfections here and there, but great.
Rosemary Harper is Travelling Through Space and She’s Not Okay
The Long Way to A Small, Angry Planet is the first of the Wayfarer Series by Becky Chambers. Yes guys, there are sequels to this awesomeness, but for you all who’s not a fan of a long series, worry not, because the stories in the series present different main characters for each of the books. Similar settings, similar world, but totally different premises. So you can, say, read Wayfarer #3 without reading the prequel and you’ll still be able to enjoy the story.
The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet by Becky Chambers tells us about a girl (a woman?) named Rosemary Harper. She was born and raised in Mars, a descendant of humans that a long time ago was wealthy (and deemed worthy?) enough to leave the dying Earth and start a new life on the red planet. Although raised in a (still) wealthy and rich family, life wasn’t always good for Rosemary, one day, her family got into a pretty serious problem involving media and public betrayal, so Rosemary decided to go. Got herself a new name (Rosemary isn’t her real name), new identity, and applied for a job where nobody would even know her family’s name, moreover, what her family has done to the world.
Doing a secretary’s job for an old space cargo ship, Wayfarer, in a place far far away, deep into the outer space, that’s what she will do.
So off she went to her new adventure, thinking what she will say if her colleagues and her new boss, would say if they finally know her real self. Will they judge her for abandoning her family? Will they hate her if they know what her family’s contributions to the latest event that fills almost all the space news’ gossip and infotainment? (yes, they have one).
Little did Rosemary know, that Wayfarer, although just a patched-up small spaceship floating in the corner of the vast galaxy, contains more stories, happiness, and problems, that she could ever imagine.
For a starter, their navigator does not sleep, their pilot reminds her of a reptile species, and their cook has more than 4 limbs and once was a female.
And their technician. Their spaceship technician. Got a little bit too comfortable with the ship’s AI.
Life is intriguing up there.
Why The Long Way to A Small Angry Planet is Amazing
I’ve been thinking about what part of The Long Way to A Small Angry Planet that makes it irreplaceable compared to other sci-fi fiction book and I found that the moral, the message, and the wisdom depicted through the characters of the Wayfarer, is what makes this book addictive (for me).
I think Becky (the author) is trying to show the reader about how humanity will (and have to) change their mindsets to several different things:
- That humans aren’t the only intelligent species in the universe – checked
- That the other intelligent species aren’t always hostile and scary – checked. The book’s wealthiest species were depicted as a living blob. A peace-loving now, but once a planet-destroyer and species-annihilator: a blob. They control the space’s economy but they are, really, just globs of jelly-like creatures, born in a sea, starting their life as a polyp, and shaping the space ever since.
- That space is really vast, that living sustainably in a spaceship for generations is feasible – checked.
But really, it is more than that. Through the story, Becky also discusses gender, relationships, about humanity, and it’s both mind-blowing and warm at the same time.
I think I’m a new fan of Becky Chambers.
Let me close this review with one of my most favorite The Long Way to A Small, Angry Planet quotes: