A Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet, grabbed my attention and did not let go. It was immersive, inclusive, and filled with all sorts of sentient beings with whom I was delighted to spend my time. It was not a book that I would have picked up on my own, but now I find myself barreling head-first further into the series. I was so excited to learn that it was a series; reading is the only way that I comfortably spend any “down time” anymore. I was looking forward to jumping back onboard with the Wayfairer crew- imagine my amazement when A Closed and Common Orbit barely connects to the crew from the last entry at all!
I was immediately outraged- how DARE this author not give ME what I expected! After jumping from character to character throughout all of the first book, now I only get to spend time with the same two? I only get two points of view passed back and forth for the entire book? HOW IS EVERYTHING NOT ABOUT ME AND WHAT I WANT?!
Well, dear reader, people create what they want to create, what they need to create- we are lucky to find things that connect deeply with us, but creators do not owe the audience what they *think* they want (looking at you, Star Wars purists). I was wrong to be immediately disappointed, and I was wrong to be mad at Becky Chambers!
A Closed and Common Orbit is great. Becky Chambers gave me what I needed, not what I thought I wanted. It turns out that what I wanted was ALSO what I needed, so I am more than happy to sing the praises of this two-person space opera. Our two leads are learning what it means to be alive. They’re learning it as everything they have ever known comes crashing down. They’re learning as they navigate other beings, other worlds, and other means of existence. Our two leads – who I do not want to name in case you have yet to read the first book – come from worlds of nothing and are built- literally and figuratively- by the nurture and care around them. Sometimes that cares comes from organic beings, and sometimes it does not. Who are we to decide what a family can be and who can be a person? It can be terrifying, deep, delightful, and utterly frustrating- but the story of these two (and those around them) was fulfilling, affirming, and not at all disappointing.
I have no idea what to expect from the third entry, but I am sure that I will be surprised and delighted by whatever comes next.