That title is the long way to a book, but it is worth it. Becky Chambers’s space romp is one of my favorite audiobooks now. The book focuses on a crew aboard a spaceship called the Wayfarer. It’s a little bit 2001: A Space Odyssey meets Firefly because it covers psychological implications of being in a spaceship for long periods of time with an AI while also focusing on the fun and family aspects of the crew. Chambers did a lot with her novel that lines up with other space sci-fi, but she focused on ideas of her own and went completely against genre standards in some ways.
The ship is a tunneling ship, which basically means their job is to go around punching wormhole highways in space. I really liked this aspect of the story because they weren’t the typical discoverers or merchants. They are doing something much more dangerous. Not to mention, Chambers didn’t use the all-too-easy faster than light drive or warp-speed idea. In fact, she gives reasons about why that wouldn’t work. I am all for FTL and warp-speed, but it is refreshing to see an author do something different. She has fun with the science, and I did too.
I was very appreciative of the crew’s love lives as well. There is a big one that I will avoid talking about because spoilers go to the 14th circle of hell. But I will tell you that bi, homo, or straight sexuality don’t seem to be things in her universe; rather, sexuality is just sexuality, and typical male/female roles/relationships do not apply to all of the alien species. I was most appreciative, however, that the main heroine (well, the one who introduces us to the story) does not end up with the captain of the ship. FINALLY.
Chambers’s portrayal of different alien cultures makes me want to high five her and buy her a cake. Each culture is distinctly different, and we get amazing backstories for the aliens we meet. I also like her different ideas about them physically. She even admits that there are different sects of humans and that many moved to different areas and began distinct lives. It’s a big universe, and it’s silly to assume that everybody would be the same; thankfully, she doesn’t put us through that.
I loved this story. But wait…THERE’S MORE! It’s a series. YAY! The sci-fi gods have blessed me. Needless to say, I will be listening to those as well, and I will tell you about them when I get there.