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, 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.
©2014 Becky Chambers (P)2016 Tantor
At first I wasn't sure if I was going to like this. It starts off very preachy and within the first few chapters there is: an inter-species love affair which is forbidden, a sexually liberated female from an even more sexually liberated species, a woman with two Dads, a little person who remains little by choice, a cook/doctor whose species starts out female but becomes male, the use of the pronoun "ze", a "privileged" human feeling guilt over her wealthy upbringing who leaves it all behind and the only white guy on the ship is a total dick. All of this diversity converging into one crew felt very contrived and I was getting annoyed but I stuck with it and I was pleasantly surprised. This is a very warm novel with exceptional character development. I'd almost call it a sci-fi cozy, but that wouldn't do it justice.
You can't help but love and feel for all of the crew of the Wayfarer. I was choked up several times and longed to have a cup of "Happy Tea" at the crew's kitchen table. Everyone (for the most part) is very accepting of each others' differences. I came away from the book feeling uplifted. If I could give this 4.5 stars I would. I will definitely continue the series.
I need more ears!
Lately, I've needed an escape from Planet Earth, given all the insanity of the last few months, (still ongoing). Science fiction has become my go-to therapy because it lets me experience vicariously all the amazing alternate futures that so many sci fi authors have imagined. Authors like Stephen W. Bennett, and Michelle Diener, write the kind of books I love, and now I've found a new author! Yeah, me!
Great tech, great aliens and alien worlds, and humane humans who are just a bit different, gathered together in my virtual fox hole. The books let me breath, let me imagine that we're all going to survive this crazy current reality, somehow. And in the meantime?
What a fun way to travel!
Long Way is the story of a species-diverse crew who consider each other family. They work and travel together on a spaceship that punches new wormholes through subspace to make interstellar travel faster, and they visit planets along the way. Easy, peasy, until something goes wrong. Well, a few things go wrong, actually.
This is people oriented sci fi, often referred to as a "sci fi soap opera" -- a term I hate -- because relationships drive the plot instead of war. (We get enough of that in the real world, am I right?).
I loved taking the trip with Rosemary, Ashby, Sis, Kizzy, Jenks, Ohan, Dr Chef and Lovey. In fact, I loved this book, and can't wait for book 2 to come out on Audible!
Highly Recommended: For people who love character driven sci fi with lots of aliens, loads of action, and lots of space travel -- but who don't necessarily want or need a military style sci fi story.
A great ensemble cast with beautiful dynamics among them. Fun, comforting. But no real plot! Lots of little episodes, but tension never develops except for short, half-chapter intervals.
The author uses alien species to view humanity from an outsider's perspective. Many of the main characters are alien, and I was fascinated with how they had to alter their natural behaviors and instincts to interact with humans. It was also very entertaining to learn how funny and/or odd they thought some of our ways were.
I loved the fact that the story was about the characters and their relationships with each other. Sure, there's plot and world building and all that. But the story's focus is on the crew, and the bonds they share. By the time you finish, you'll feel that bond too, and you'll be sad to see your time with them come to an end.
She gives each character a unique voice, and uses them to convey emotions with honesty and depth. She also never brings attention to herself. You'll forget that she's even there.
It's the journey that matters.
Buy this book. It's like the best parts of Firefly and Mass Effect have been put together to create something more than the sum of its parts. Prepare to laugh out loud. Prepare to cry real tears.
From the first 30 minutes I knew ,because of the amazing narration, that this was going to be one of those stories that would have me making a bee line for my ear buds as soon as I had any and all free time. As an avid Sci-Fi enthusiast I was gripped by the colorful and memorable characters who's personal stories were interwoven into a thought provoking interstellar journey through the emotions and morals of a galaxy that although set far in to the future, mirrors many of the same issues and feelings that we face everyday. Hilarious,touching, and at many times suspenseful this book does a fantastic job showing that no matter the differences between to entities, there are far more similarities that connect us. The narrator vocally weaves a tapestry of emotion and really beams her talent through with a imaginative blend of voices the seem to breathe life into the many species that grace this story. This is by far the best audiobook I've ever had the pleasure of listening to.
I understand that this book was meant more to be a slice of life book than an action packed adventure. However, the book is made virtually entirely of "side-quests stories." So little happens in most of the book and there is relatively little "on-screen" character development (note: this book does give every character a good background... but that is not the same giving them a character arc. More on each character "backstory" in my next section) in the characters that read the middle chapters of the book in any order in order without getting very lost in terms of what is happening and why characters behave the way that they do. A few side character change/grow a little... but most of the main character don't change/grow/fall throughout 90% of the book.
Also... while this book is superficially a Firefly-esque novel... it lacks the snappy dialogue and one liners that what make Joss Whedon written stories memorable. Seriously... why to half a dozen characters from different species and difference parts of the galaxy all use the phrase "Oh Stars!" as an exclamations of surprise/frustration.
"There are only two things I can't stand in this world: People who are intolerant of other people's cultures, and the Dutch."
Virtually all sci-fi novels contain a bit of the author's personal politics and viewpoints on the human condition. However, the author crams this book full of her viewpoints on tolerance, alternative lifestyles (both LGBT and body modification as well as intentional/alternative communities), religion, inter-racial relation, war vs pacifism, ADHD vs neurotypical, capitalism/colonialism, abortion vs right-to-life vs right-to-die, sentience/sapience, vaccinations, religion, etc.
A lot of these are interesting topics worth writing about. However, there are so many topics that the author doesn't really devote enough time to explore them fully in a organic and considerate way. Instead she uses a really heavy-handed technique of using a lot of infodump monologues to present an alien culture or situation as a thin-veiled metaphor with such a weakly established strawman that show of very definitely opinion on the each matter.
Even agreeing with many of the viewpoints, I still see this deus ex machina as lazy storytelling. In most cases, a character (typically the naive Rosemary) is challenged with these new viewpoint for maybe about a paragraph of two... before quickly agreeing to "the view" and then nothing more is devoted to it for the rest of the book.
In fact, despite "tolerance" of other people's lifestyles and beliefs being such an important theme in the book... she has no qualms about having her characters reject opposing viewpoints when they don't agree with them and then makes the story to show that they were right all long. I also dislike the continual explicit emphasis on the characters avoiding "human centric" thinking, I mean I understand the point and agree with it... but the way the author shoehorns it in comes off as very overly-PC... especially since despite explicit saying this multiple times, the humans still never the less judge all the other aliens for their culture/beliefs anyway. Maybe this was satire and it just went over my head.
Disappointment. The description. setup was promising... but I feel like the book either just wasn't for me... or wasn't edited very well (this book as self-published).
This book felt more like a companion short stories anthology that fills in stuff from a main series of books. If it had been that, I think I would have enjoyed it a lot more as there would have been a better foundation of plot and character development to hang these "filler" chapters on.
Because of a review by my friend, Cheryl, I couldn't wait to read this book! And it was everything she said it was and more!
I picked up the Kindle copy from Amazon and the Audible version to go with it. It made a perfect go to sleep book at night. I was able to have my girl dreams of space travel and meeting new creatures. Oops! If there's one thing I learned from this book is that we don't consider the aliens creatures. They are just beings that are different than us. Often in many ways, they are superior to us that we should expect that. But as the author points out just because this being looks like maybe, um, a giraffe from earth, doesn't mean it has the intelligence of a giraffe from earth. It may actually have the abilities to move back and forth in time or travel in a different dimension. This was a good lesson for me as I like to write science fiction about other beings on other planets.
The narrator, Rachel Dulude, brought this book to life in ways I don't think could have been possible to just read or even with the text-to-speech. She was able to separate the characters and beautiful ways, so you knew exactly who is talking without even reading it.
I do want to read this book again. Maybe when I'm more awake, to see how it is she actually built these characters and her plot and her worlds. It was very well written! And I can hardly wait to be able to afford and read her next book in the series!
If you like science fiction that isn't all men and war. If you like science fiction that uses imagination with science possibilities, this book is for you! Well done, Becky Chambers!
Chambers's world building and character building is solid, but the plot is episodic. There were a lot of little adventures that all resolved quickly, taught us something new about a character and was neatly resolved (kind of like a TV show). She doesn't devote enough time to the main over arching journey (in my opinion), and so the end result is a softer version of Star Trek.
Still, the book was feel good and enjoyable, and refreshingly light compared to much of the sci-fi I've read. I chalked it up to an excellent beach read/listen.
I struggled to finish this as there is not much story there. The characters are cool, but the hole thing seems like the first two chapters of a much larger story.
I enjoyed listening to this book: it got me through two long days of cross-country driving. The various alien races and people are possibly the most interesting (and central) part of the book, but overall the story didn't have a lot of emotional depth or lasting power.
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