Details are one of the strongest gifts of Becky Chambers. Her detailed works, intricate explanations of the world inside her story, kinda reminds me of George Orwell and his 1984. I love Orwell’s 1984, specifically because of his complex depictions about the pallid world and controlling system in the book: the new language, the nation’s departments, the history manipulation, the desperation. It’s an amazing art, really, to build a fictional setting down to the tiniest details. Imagine how a smell of coffee would be interpreted in a life where everything is controlled. How a simple word is edited in order to control the mind. Orwell does it best, and Chambers, with her space opera fiction, reminds me of his work.
Wayfarer #1 tells us about the spaceship Wayfarer and its crews, the first book introduces us to the vast galaxies of species and possibilities. Humans, now loyal residences of the galaxy, left the Earth centuries ago and living along with the other species. They inhabit Mars, Moon, all to other galaxies out there–some live a prosperous life, pampered, educated. Some, not so lucky.
Wayfarer #2 is about consciousness, AI, clones–all the existential crises. That we still judge each other and drive each other crazy up there, not just us though, the other species are doing just the same.
Now, Wayfarer #3 tells us about humans in detail, homo sapiens in space. It answers all of our burning questions since the book Wayfarer #1: How we get there? How we reach that point? How we come in terms with the fact that we are not alone in this universe? Do we still care about each other? Do we still care about our kinds? Do we still care about the Earth? Do we pray? Will we be extinct? Will we get our new home, new planet?
It’s so fun I’m going to give you a glimpse of the story of Wayfarer #3: Record of a Spaceborn Few:
So Earth was dead. It’s uninhabitable for humans. The rich and the smartest moved their home, family, job and life to Mars, the red planet. The rest of humanity? Died along with the last oxygen in Earth’s atmosphere, but some were saved, lifted up to space by 32 spaceships named Exodus Fleet–designed by the great minds of the human race.
So that’s how the word “spaceborn” was coined–to mark every newborn that was brought to life in space, in the Exodus Fleet. The people that lived for generations there are now called the Exodans. Days were counted differently from the days on Earth, the deceased was buried differently, minimalism has finally become the way of life, the need for solitude was a bit hard to satisfy–for people were now living in hexes, like a beehive. Their daily chores and life goals kinda resembling the bees too, for they are now focusing on how to give back to their family, their community, their fleet.
The Exodus Fleet was made originally to be home for humans until they made contact with the other intelligent species, and until, they found their new home, new planet, living together again as human colonies. But centuries after, after they made contact with other species, after some of them visited other planets on the way, after some of them decided to build a life on the ground. They have been gone through everything, there are many reasons to leave, abandon the ship, but some of them–remain to stay in the fleet.
It’s like they are still continuing the dream of finding a new home, new planet, for humans to stay together, but really, do they still want that? Exodus Fleet was made to sustain human life in space, not just for 1 or 2 centuries, but long after that, so why do they need to leave when they already have everything they need?
Everything’s fine, so long as nothing happened to the ship that caused by, say, human errors, or external unavoidable incidents. 1 or 2 ships of the Exodus Fleet have been down due to unexpected factors, causing countless casualties. So it’s clear that life in space wasn’t so safe after all, but who will keep this (maybe) last human’s great inventions? Who’s able to guarantee that the life on the ground was safer than the life in the fleet?
It’s like a family drama, coming-of-age fiction, in the space. The details. The dilemmas. It’s good. Wayfarer #2 is still my fav though (so far) but this one holds a special place in my heart.
Can’t wait for the Wayfarer #4!