The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet
1, Wayfarers - A Novel
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The acclaimed modern science fiction masterpiece, included on Library Journal's Best SFF of 2016, the Barnes & Nobles Sci-Fi Fantasy Blog Best Books of 2015, the Tor.com Best Books of 2015, Reader’s Choice, as well as nominated for the Arthur C. Clarke Award, the Kitschie, and the Bailey's Women's Prize.
Follow a motley crew on an exciting journey through space—and one adventurous young explorer who discovers the meaning of family in the far reaches of the universe—in this light-hearted debut space opera from a rising sci-fi star.
Rosemary Harper doesn’t expect much when she joins the crew of the aging Wayfarer. While the patched-up ship has seen better days, it offers her a bed, a chance to explore the far-off corners of the galaxy, and most importantly, some distance from her past. An introspective young woman who learned early to keep to herself, she’s never met anyone remotely like the ship’s diverse crew, including Sissix, the exotic reptilian pilot, chatty engineers Kizzy and Jenks who keep the ship running, and Ashby, their noble captain.
Life aboard the Wayfarer is chaotic and crazy—exactly what Rosemary wants. It’s also about to get extremely dangerous when the crew is offered the job of a lifetime. Tunneling wormholes through space to a distant planet is definitely lucrative and will keep them comfortable for years. But risking her life wasn’t part of the plan. In the far reaches of deep space, the tiny Wayfarer crew will confront a host of unexpected mishaps and thrilling adventures that force them to depend on each other. To survive, Rosemary’s got to learn how to rely on this assortment of oddballs—an experience that teaches her about love and trust, and that having a family isn’t necessarily the worst thing in the universe.
Decent characters but no plot.
The book has a promising premise for a sci-fi adventure story, but the author misses the opportunity to develop it. Instead she spends the entire book developing characters and exploring their relationships, ignoring the overall plot that could have brought compelling conflict to those very same characters.
Unfortunately, while her characters are distinct they are also superficial and predictable.
This book would be better for a young adult market, ages 13 to 16. For anyone older looking for something more developed regarding a good plot, thought provoking themes, and entertaining adventure, I recommend you look elsewhere.
An excellent debut...
Of all the SciFi novels I read this year, this may well be my favorite (though others are close). It’s particularly good at roping the reader in to like and love the various characters. It’s also great at developing alien cultures whose richness competes with that of the humans (all to often in space operas “space aliens” end up being superficially-described “others”; that’s not the case here). The actual plot and its denouement are fairly simple and secondary to establishing the characters, which I expect (hope!) to see in sequels. The interpersonal issues tackled in the novel have plenty of parallels in our own timeline.
If I had to point out a negative, it’s the “physics” of the universe developed by Chambers. It's not so bad as to detract from the ability to suspend disbelief, but it’s not _great_ either. The idea that wormholes at the main avenue to get around in the galaxy is fine (better than fine, really; it’s my preferred paradigm), but some of the details in how those wormholes are set up bother me. Then again, it’s probably better than just ignoring that issue altogether.
Delightful and original!
A fantastic, original read, with faint echoes of Lois McMaster Bujold and CJ Cherryh. Narrative so good I reread whole sections, funny but naturalistic dialogue (how can one not enjoy Kizzy), and decent character development (although I never felt like I got to know Ashby). Best of all, very original alien species (again, I catch just a hint of Vernor Vinge and David Brin). I thoroughly enjoyed the concept of the Whisperer. I look forward to more political intrigue and descriptions of advanced science.