Bingo Square: Travel
It took me forever and more positive reviews than I can cite but I finally read The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet. I generally read more fantasy than sci-fi but I’ve been overdoing the fantasy lately, and needed to switch things up. And what better than CBR11 Book Bingo to inspire actual reviewing! I know as long as the review is written between 1 July and 31 October, it counts, but considering that I’ve only reviewed one whole book this year, back in February, I figured I’d only use books read June onward since that feels like a “normal for me” amount to be behind and doesn’t give me what I would consider an unfair advantage.
The novel follows the crew of the Wayfarer as it makes its way to the titular angry planet. The crew makes its living punching wormholes for faster travel but due to their size and equipment, they mostly focus on mid-level jobs. However, after the most recent successful job, the captain, Ashby, decides it might be time to expand, and takes on a new clerk, Rosemary, to handle the paperwork he has woefully fallen behind on. This is seen as a signal that Ashby is ready for more, and he soon receives an offer to punch a hole into a previously unexplored part of space. Until now, that part of the galaxy has been closed off to outsiders, and the residents are viewed as volatile, angry and potentially dangerous. However, with a peace treaty in place, the crew of the Wayfarer feels the risk is worth the effort.
The majority of the novel is about the long trip which explains the need for a wormhole to expedite the journey for future travelers. Along the way, Chambers introduces many different aspects of this future world, where humans are relatively low in the chain, with other species being much more important and dominant. In addition to intergalactic relationships, the chapters introduce concepts such as AI, genetic engineering and modification, and even cloning. I wouldn’t call any character specifically the main character though Ashby, Sissix, and Rosemary probably have the largest focus; however, all characters have at least a chapter or so from their perspective.
I overall really enjoyed the novel, and believe the description of this a cozy sci-fi novel was rather perfect – I think that may have been from narfna or emmalita’s reviews. The only part I didn’t like that much was Kizzy, the mechanic. She felt a bit too much like a more hyper and distracted Kaylee from Firefly with more of an interest in recreational drug usage. Instead of enjoying her quirkiness and finding her endearing, she struck me as annoying and exasperating – which is weird because I loved Kaylee so I am not sure if I have outgrown that character type or if Kizzy felt too much like a more adult copy. Other than that one nitpick, I quite enjoyed the novel and recommend reading it. Also, since I am using this as my travel square, it feels perfect that I read this after completing a long trip of my own, my deployment to Kuwait.
Bingo Square: Travel