The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet by Becky Chambers
A Recommended Book of the Month
As the title suggests this book is about a long journey to a small angry planet, following the lives of the crew of the ship The Wayfarer. The book is about much more than this journey, which has many layers to it. The journey to Hedra Ka (small angry planet) allows for the growth of the characters and is also a good starting point to this well realised universe.
The science of this novel is truly compelling and when mixed with the politics of the Galactic Commons (GC), it makes for a very interesting novel and transcends the usual sci-fi genre. It has a lot of really innovative ideas such as the fact that travelling faster than the speed of light has been banned due to its similarities to time travel. Even from the beginning of the novel we are able to see through the group’s dynamic that there are still problems of racism between different strands of humanity and other races throughout the GC.
The book starts with a new crew member about to arrive on The Wayfarer. Rosemary seems quite enigmatic when we first meet her, as she is running away from her past, and compared to the other crew members has lived a very sheltered life, never having been on a ship before and not knowing what to expect from the experience. The book changes between different character perspectives and by the end of the first few chapters we have met the rest of the crew of The Wayfarer.
The crew of The Wayfarer consists of the following: Ashby, the Captain of The Wayfarer, a human Exodan, he is the friendly head of the crew that knows when his ship needs their captain and when they need a friend. Sissex is the pilot; she is an Aandrisk which is a reptilian like species who have scales and feathers. The Aandrisks have a very interesting culture, whose family structure is very different from that of humanity. Kizzy is one of the ships technicians; she is impetuous and very animated in everything she does. Jenks is the other tech, he is more considerate than Kizzy but they make a great team. Dr. Chef (his real name is too long to pronounce) is the ships healer as well as cook, hence the name. Dr. Chef is a Grum, a non GC species that when Rosemary joins The Wayfarer she has never heard of. Lovey is the ships A.I. but for most of the crew she is just another member of the team. Corbin is the ship’s algaeist, whose job involves maintaining algae as this is what powers The Wayfarer. The last member of The Wayfarer is Ohan, who is the ship’s navigator and is essential to The Wayfarer’s job of punching holes in space through the sub layer to create wormholes.
There is no main character per se, although some characters perspectives are given more time and consideration, but everyone gets their time to shine. The characters, even secondary characters, have well thought out back stories. The crew of The Wayfarer feel like a family you want to be part of, and through Rosemary’s perspective we get to see how the crew’s dynamics work and whether they will accept her into their home. Each character is so well written that even if Becky Chambers never revisits them you feel like their lives would continue after the end of the book.
Humanity is one of the newer members of the GC having been found by accident after some of humanity known as Exodans had left the solar system. The other half of humanity; those who made their home on Mars are known as Solans. The GC are made up of a number of different sentient beings of all shapes and sizes, in some ways it reminds me of the United Nations, over a much larger space and a much longer history. The GC is also the cause of The Wayfarer’s journey to the small angry planet of the title, which appears as the GC is in talks of an alliance with one of the clans of the Toremi, a warlike species who settle all ideological disagreements by killing the weaker idea.
Becky Chambers manages to cram a lot of information into the story without the reader ever being overwhelmed or impatient to find out more. The book deals with a lot of issues that are relevant now such as cloning, sexuality across gender (and species in this context), artificial intelligence, guerrilla warfare, euthanasia and the right to choose how you live.
From the moment I picked up this novel, I didn’t want to stop reading it, which gave me a small dilemma as I also didn’t want it to end. It is a very rare feeling when reading a book that you are being given a hug, this is due to the characters with their trials and tribulations really making me feel like I wanted to be there with them. There are so many amazing things about this book which I have tried to cover in my review, but to sum it up in one word I found this book to be: Perfect!
This The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet book review was written by Michelle Herbert
Have you read The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet?
We've found that while readers like to know what we think of a book they find additional reader reviews a massive help in deciding if it is the right book for them. So if you have a spare moment, please tell us your thoughts by writing a reader's review. Thank you.
The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet reader reviews
Anon from UK
Kizzy is the most obnoxious character I've ever come across in a book. That girl needs Zanex. If the author can evoke a feeling of annoyance from me then the book must be good.
10/10 from 2 reviews
Write a reader review
Thank you for taking the time to write a review on this book, it really makes a difference and helps readers to find their perfect book.
More recommended reading in this genre
Marjorie B Kellogg
Set in the future on a distant world, Lear’s Daughters tackles the issues of global warming, pollution, exploitation of resources, and disastrous climate change. Long...
Iain M Banks
It begins in the realm of the Real, where matter still matters. It begins with a murder. And it will not end until the Culture has gone to war with death itself. Lededje Y&...
The burgeoning new economies in near-Earth space are fuelled by a steady stream of comets, steered back home by huge nuclear-powered mining ships like Bella Lind’s Ro...
The Naked God
Peter F Hamilton
The Confederation is starting to collapse politically and economically, allowing the 'possessed' to infiltrate more worlds. Quinn Dexter is loose on Earth, destroyi...
The very far future: The Galaxy is a drifting wreck of black holes, neutron stars, chill white dwarfs. The age of star formation is long past. Yet there is life here, feedi...
When Streaker - the first starship designed and crewed by dolphins - discovers a derelict ancient armada with evidence of the first sentient species ever, she sets off a wa...
James SA Corey
Humanity has colonized the solar system - Mars, the Moon, the Asteroid Belt and beyond - but the stars are still out of our reach. Jim Holden is XO of an ice miner making r...
An Ancient Peace
The centuries-long war between the Confederation and The Others, a group of violent alien species, is over. Intergalactic peace is finally restored. Torin Kerr and her crew...
During all recorded history, the Moon has hovered above our heads, a timeless symbol for lovers' ecstasy. Goddesses & Gibson Girls have tripped the light fantastic ...
Ensign Andrew Dahl has just been assigned to the Universal Union Capital Ship Intrepid, flagship of the Universal Union since the year 2456. It’s a prestige posting, ...
James SA Corey
On Ganymede, breadbasket of the outer planets, a Martian marine watches as her platoon is slaughtered by a monstrous supersoldier. On Earth, a high-level politician struggl...
The Uplift War
As galactic armadas clash in quest of the ancient fleet of the Progenitors, a brutal alien race seizes the dying planet of Garth. The various uplifted inhabitants must batt...
Old Man's War
John Perry did two things on his 75th birthday. First he visited his wife's grave. Then he joined the army. The good news is that humanity finally made it into interste...
The Dreaming Void
Peter F Hamilton
The year is 3589, fifteen hundred years after Commonwealth forces barely staved off human extinction in a war against the alien Prime. Now an even greater danger has surfac...
Khesh City floats above the surface of the uninhabitable planet of Vellern. Topside, it's extravagant, opulent, luxurious; the Undertow is dark, twisted and dangerous. ...
Looking for more suggestions? Try these pages:
Books of the Month
A selection of books - old and new alike - that were a joy to read.
When Vivian is evacuated from London in 1939, she expects to be staying in the countryside. Instead, she is whisked away to Time City – a place that exists outside time and space. It is a strange and remarkable place, where technology rules – yet important events of both past and future are marked by the appearance of mysterious Time...
The Guns of Empire
As the roar of the guns subsides and the smoke of battle clears, the country of Vordan is offered a fragile peace... After their shattering defeats at the hands of brillian...
At the Convent of Sweet Mercy young girls are raised to be killers. In a few the old bloods show, gifting talents rarely seen since the tribes beached their ships on Abeth....
Events are coming to a climax in the Banished Lands, as the war reaches new heights. King Nathair has taken control of the fortress at Drassil and three of the Seven Treasu...
For Kivrin Engle, preparing an on-site study of one of the deadliest eras in humanity's history was as simple as receiving inoculations against the diseases of the four...
The Banished Lands are engulfed in war and chaos. The cunning Queen Rhin has conquered the west and High King Nathair has the cauldron, most powerful of the seven treasures...