The lovely faintingviolet thrust this upon me a few days ago, and since I still hadn’t found something for my Science square, this little book was perfect. Faintingviolet’s a huge fan of Becky Chambers, and really enjoyed her first book, The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet. As I’m not so much in the sci-fi end of the speculative world, I’d never come across Chambers’ work before, but I was pleasantly surprised at how wonderful this novella was.
Chambers builds an entire world in a short amount of time and it never feels rushed or unfinished. Our crew of astronauts is sent off to study newly discovered planets and their moons years away from earth. Chambers’ takes us to three distinct planets with three distinct ecosystems and environments, but while the setting changes frequently in 130 pages, I never felt like I was getting too much information or that it ever became too sciencey. Our narrator, Adriadne is an engineer who’s spent many years around scientists, so while she can tell us what’s going on as the story unfolds, she’s the best narrator for the job. Chambers also captures the absolute humanity of what daily life is like for the astronaut who basically says goodbye to earth forever upon embarking. The prose is beautiful in both its tone of scientific discovery and the depth of human feeling in an alien world. This book is what everyone wants science to be; what we hope science is, and even in its darkest parts there’s always a sense of hope and renewal.
On an interesting note, Chambers had all the science in her story verified by a science consultant who just happens to be Chambers’ mom! How cool is that? Nikki Chambers (science consultant) is an astrobiology teacher who’s doing research with the University of Edinburgh in Astrobiology. Readers can rest assured that the science they’re reading sound, and on a personal front, not only did I enjoy visiting the world of space travel with the Chambers, but I probably learned a bunch of science on the way.
Definitively read this book!
Bingo Square: Science!