Review by Catherine Stricklan
Early on in A Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet I read the line, “Building wormholes was not a glamorous profession” and I knew this was just the kind of science fiction I could sink my teeth into. Gritty, grounded and yet full of heart, this book by Becky Chambers follows the motley crew of a long-haul wormhole tunneling ship as they take on a risky job that they hope will bring them financial stability. The crew is a mixed group of humans and other sentient creatures, vividly described by the author, who must learn to communicate with new and old crewmates alike in order to be successful. Among these other creatures are lizard-like Aandrisks, furry virus-infected Sianats, an almost extinct otter-like species called the Grum and the ship’s surprisingly gentle Artificial Intelligence. Through the crew’s interactions, Chambers explores the necessity of forming community on a long-haul spaceship, interspecies romance and relationships and what it means to be human. The next two books in the series, A Closed and Common Orbit and Record of a Spaceborn Few, are equally charming and challenging, and follow characters introduced in the first book. This Hugo Award-winning series continues with the fourth book, The Galaxy, and the Ground Within, coming out in February of 2021.