CBR 13 Bingo: Book Club – Cannonball Book Club, I wish I had read this last year instead of An Unkindness of Ghosts
Last year many of y’all raved about The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet, I seem to recall comparisons to “Firefly”, and I agree! I also saw similarities with “Farscape”, a fish out of water story with a planet bound human now exploring space aboard a ship with aliens. If neither of those TV shows are a frame of reference for you, this book has a mixed species misfit crew, that behaves very much like a family, taking jobs that send them round the galaxy. Like many great sci fi that came before it, this book examines the human condition and is the most inclusive book I’ve read so far this year.
This is not action heavy, bombastic sci fi, it moves at a leisurely pace as the Wayfarer makes it’s way across the galaxy to connect via wormhole the central hub of the Galactic Commons with the far flung reaches of Toremi space, an alien species in talks to join the GC. When action does come, it has repercussions for everyone. No one ends the book where they start, and some will have a harder time than others picking up the pieces to move forward in the future books.
I loved everything about The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet, from the characters and their personal struggles to the creative and inclusive galaxy setting. Chambers writes so many beautiful passages about love, life, and how to be a better person. There is a particularly touching chapter between Rosemary and Dr. Chef that had me telling my husband this book should be taught in high schools. And I look forward to the day that a book with same sex couples and different species partners, with strong respect for bodily autonomy and the beauty of a variety of bodies, and understanding that love comes in many different forms can be taught without challenge. On a personal level, I deeply resonated with Dr. Chef on his feelings about tea.
A solitary cup of tea required more care, a blend carefully chosen to match his day. He found the ritual of it quite calming: heating the water, measuring the crisp leaves and curls of dried fruit into the tiny basket, gently brushing the excess away with his fingerpads, watching color rise through water like smoke as it brewed. Tea was a moody drink.
In the comments of a recent review, Emmalita used the phrase “dudes duding dudely IN SPACE” and I howled in laughter because a chunk of my sci fi reading has been made up of books like that, and I am over it. This book couldn’t be further away from that style of sci fi and I am here for it! Now to go get the subsequent books in the series 🙂
Note: An Unkindness of Ghosts has a lot to say and was a good choice for “The Future is Queer” book club, however last year for me it was not ideal reading material and it weighed me down. Mentally, The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet would have been a better choice in retrospect.