The Long Way To A small Angry Planet
They aim to behave
Release Date: 13 August
416 pages | Hardback/ ebook Author: Becky Chambers Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton
There can’t be many SF
fans out there who’ve watched Joss Whedon’s Firefly without the thought occurring that wheeling and dealing through space with a crew of misfits could be fun. Becky Chambers is here to scratch that itch for you.
Rosemary Harper, a young woman with a secret that she’s paid a lot to hide, gets a job as a clerk aboard Wayfarer, a rust bucket that’s home away from home for its multi- species crew. Through her eyes, and those of her new colleagues – world- weary captain Ashby, irrepressible mechanic Kizzy, lugubrious cook/ doctor Dr Chef, among others – we enter a universe full of life and colour, as the Wayfarer takes on the job of a lifetime. ( Maybe the end of its lifetime.)
The world is explored in lavish, loving detail, from physical environment to flavours to social customs. This is the book’s strength and its weakness. It all feels lived in, but often the story can’t breathe for infodumps – infodumps presented with personality and charm, yes, but infodumps nonetheless. This extends beyond the world, to the characters; Chambers can’t resist telling us how to read their every action, as if she doesn’t trust us to understand them properly. Also, while we have no objections to characters being nice, surely folks who live aboard a spaceship are going to have a few more disagreements? Nic Clarke Long Way was originally self- published, via crowdfunding: the writing time was supported by a Kickstarter campaign.