Bingo Square: Listicles. (From this list. Bonus points for telling me Morgan Matson has a new book out too.)
The last humans to leave Earth when the planet was dying are known as Exodans. They were carried away by the Fleet, a large group of spacecrafts able to sustain their lives for centuries, until they could find a habitable planet on which to settle. Instead, they found alien life, and were eventually welcomed into the Galactic Commons – a sort of alien UN. Now able to survive on the Fleet indefinitely thanks to alien tech, they orbit a sun, never settling on a planet, and stick to their somewhat old fashioned ways and customs. But people want to leave the Fleet for the ground, and alien life is affecting the Exodans in both small and big ways. Can their way of life continue forever?
Spaceborn Few follows several people aboard the Fleet as they grapple with life there. Eyas is a caretaker, she looks after the dead. Isabel is an archivist, it’s her job to record everything and make sure everyone can find those records. Tessa is a tech and mother trying to keep her children safe in the stars. Kip is 16 years old and frustrated with his life. Sawyer is a young man not from the Fleet, but who comes there searching for meaning and a history. Interspersed with their chapters are essays (sort of) from Ghuh’loloan, an alien who has come aboard the Fleet to learn more about the Exodans and share those observations with anyone who might be interested.
I loved Chambers previous two books. This world she has created fascinates and amazes me. It’s so imaginative, so epic, and yet so warm and small at the same time. The characters feel so real, even though they are surrounded by things that are strange to me. They live in a world far removed from mine, and yet their problems feel the same. It’s about family, and bonds, and love, and finding yourself. Her writing is as lovely as it has always been, but I must say I didn’t enjoy this one quite as much as the last two. I’m not sure why. I liked the characters a lot. There’s just not much in way of plot. This hadn’t bothered me with her other works but I think it’s more apparent here. There’s no bad guy, there’s nothing really to solve or escape. Though it begins with an explosion, this event doesn’t have a significant impact on the story, it’s more the ripples – how Tessa’s daughter is afraid to be in space, how it forces Eyas to consider what she does for a living for example. It’s more an examination of a way of life. It’s never boring and I was definitely happy to keep reading, it just didn’t pull me in as much as her others.
Still, I look forward to her next one. And if anyone in Hollywood is looking for a sci-fi series to adapt, may I suggest this one? (Go on, for me.)