I was looking for something fun, or rollicking. I remembered that I had seen a book advertised as “Firefly meets The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.” That sounded like what I was looking for. It was and it wasn’t.
I enjoyed it very much and I don’t want to go into the plot or even the characters much. You should be unspoiled for this book as much as possible.
The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet is a contemplative, character driven space opera. Earth has been destroyed by humanity. Humans have either settled on Mars, or dispersed through space on ships and space stations. Humanity has joined the Galactic Commons (GC), a coalition that includes many races. Rosemary Harper, a human from Mars, is the most recent addition to Captain Ashby Santoso’s tunneling ship The Wayfarer. The crew of The Wayfarer create short cuts through space. The crew is multi cultural and multi species. There are adventures along the way, some of them are even madcap.
On New Year’s Day, teresaelectro posted in the Cannonball Read Book Chat a link to an article listing 10 scifi (mostly) books that people say they’ve read but haven’t and why we should really read them. One of the books was Isaac Asimov’s Foundation Trilogy. This started a conversation about Foundation as a product of it’s time, and whether it’s role as a classic outweighs it’s one, shrill female character. Berry Straw delivered the comment that is perhaps the best condemnation of Isaac Asimov, and clarified for me why I like The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet so very much.
I wrote in my goodreads review of Caves of Steel in 2015: “Of course, Caves of Steel is also very much a book of its time, which is not a problem exactly, but it is kind of funny to realize that in 50’s Asimov could imagine a society with colonies in outer space, intelligent robots and humongous underground cities, but not one where women could work in fields such as law enforcement or science…” I still like the book, gave it three stars and everything.
I’m sure, in 50 years readers will look back and see what Becky Chambers missed, what she failed to imagine. But looking at it now, in all it’s glorious examination of relationships and humanity’s place in space, it’s hard to imagine she missed much.
It’s a well written and enjoyable read.