Long Way to a Small Angry Planet
This is a rare Sci-Fi book indeed. A long way to small angry planet is written by a former staffer for the Marysue.com. The book is unabashedly feminist, sex positive, inclusive and overall optimistic about the future. It’s not heavy on plot but rather bounces from one small adventure to another resulting in character development but not much else. The Wayfarer is a boring ship, it creates wormholes for faster space travel. The crew is tasked with opening a new wormhole in an area of space previously unwelcoming of intergalactic trade or relationships. The crew is undertaking this unusually long journey in exchange for a big payoff. The bulk of the book is taking up with getting to the boring site (literally in this case) which gives the author plenty of time to introduce the nine members of the crew to the audience. In the spirit of the author’s style of only loosely joined narrative bits, I have a few points to make.
- It’s vision of the future is positive but mundane. Not all of the world’s problems have been solved like the Star Trek utopia of the Federation. People live and work on planets or ships and while some species are happier than others, overall the world is a positive and functional place.
- Intentionally or not, the crew of the Wayfarer is very similar to the Serenity crew. It’s obvious that the writer is a fan. So am I, so I enjoyed that aspect. There isn’t a River yet, but the Kaylee is pretty charming and in this iteration there are two of her, one male and one female human from two vastly different backgrounds.
- Alien species. Really fun alien species. They have evolved a common language over time, and shared habits, but are still struggling to understand each other. Humans aren’t even close to the dominant race in this world, but are just somewhere in the middle.
- This takes place many thousands of years after some humans left earth. The Exodans took off because of scarcity of resources and overpopulation. They were basically a roaming fleet of ships before establishing first contact and eventually creating several homeworlds. The wealthy fled to Mars and established a new earth there with a lot of the old problems. Most of the humans left or died off because of the overuse of resources. Some humans returned (or never left?) earth and live a more rural and traditional lifestyle.
- Relationships. So many relationships on one ship. The navigator is in a relationship with a virus, the captain is in a clandestine affair with a woman in another race, one of the ships techs is in love with an AI, and the biofuel expert has a lot of people skills to learn. To say anymore would results in spoilers, but it’s nice to see that romantic relationships aren’t the only focus. There is also a lot of plot development around the everyday living relationships that a group of individuals would develop over time.
As I mentioned earlier, not a lot of plot. The maguffin that is driving them across the universe barely registers. The various episodes fit together like plot synapsis of a really fun tv show. Pirate encounters, shopping trips to strange planets, holidays with the family etc. There is a lot going on but not a lot of actual drama. That might not be your thing, but I enjoyed it.