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A Closed and Common Orbit

Wayfarers, Book 2
Narrated by: Patricia Rodriguez
Series: Wayfarers, Book 2
Length: 13 hrs and 4 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (104 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Lovelace was once merely a ship's artificial intelligence. When she wakes up in a new body following a total system shutdown and reboot, she has to start over in a synthetic body, in a world where her kind are illegal. She's never felt so alone. But she's not alone, not really.

Pepper, one of the engineers who risked life and limb to reinstall Lovelace, is determined to help her adjust to her new world. Because Pepper knows a thing or two about starting over.

Together Pepper and Lovey will discover that, huge as the galaxy may be, it's anything but empty. The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet introduced listeners to the incredible imagination of Becky Chambers and has been nominated for any number of awards and accolades, including the Baileys Prize for Women's Fiction, the Tiptree Award, the Kitschies Golden Tentacle and the Arthur C. Clarke Award.

A Closed and Common Orbit is the stand-alone sequel to The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet and is perfect for fans of Firefly, Joss Whedon, Mass Effect and Star Wars.

©2016 Becky Chambers (P)2016 Hodder & Stoughton

What members say

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  • Mim
  • HUGHENDEN, Australia
  • 09-11-17

Galactic Commons, interesting place

Enjoyed this story even more than the first one. I enjoyed the alternating P.O.V. along with the depth of description and world building. The interactions are well described and the planets and space-ship life are fascinating, even after all the years I have been reading this genre.

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Not compelling - plot lacks a reason to care

Where book one was successful at creating a broad universe and set of characters, book two failed at drilling down into the back story and day-to-day lives of a few, previously minor, characters.

What's disappointing is that there are some interesting sci-fi / AI ideas scattered in book two, so the failure wasn't on the sci-fi side, but just that the overall plot failed provide me with a reason to invest in the characters. I'm three quarters of the way through and going to return the book. I don't care about the fate of the characters, and I'm struggling to pay attention.

Also the repetition of the word 'real', becomes real tedious, real fast. I know there was a purpose to it, but I'm pretty sure everyone knew who Jane was upon our first introduction to her.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Profile Image for Dario Persechino
  • Dario Persechino
  • 12-24-16

Wonderful story wonderfully read!

A great follow on from Long Way To A Small Angry Planet. Not featuring the crew of the Wayfairer this time but related characters in the same universe, and what characters!
Chambers has a way of not only crafting s great and very tangible universe but also making rich characters that grow throughout the books.

The audiobook is magnificently performed by Rodriguez. She gives each character their distinct voices using subtle inflections that just make the character so unique and real to the listener.

I absolutely loved it!

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • J. Cornah
  • 11-16-16

A Closed and Common Review

What made the experience of listening to A Closed and Common Orbit the most enjoyable?

The themes, characters, and narrative style were all wonderfully drawn together. Becky Chambers continues to create the kind of science fiction I wish I was reading all the time. The tone, depth, and complexities of the worlds and societies she has built, coupled with a crisp, clear breath of optimism and hope make this a perfect read for these dark days.

Who was your favorite character and why?

I loved Sidra.
What I particularly enjoyed was the fact that she discovers her personhood through platonic relationships, through found family, and friendships. So often, in stories of robots or AIs where they are perceived as female it ends with them engaging in a sexual relationship with a - usually male - human. That was not the case here. Sidra develops close familial and platonic bonds with humans and aliens and through their shared experiences and love for one another, she grows. She gets to know her own personhood through her love and friendship, and it is not tied to sex, and perhaps it's my ace side making me biased, but I really thought that was a stroke of genius.

What about Patricia Rodriguez’s performance did you like?

It was a stellar performance (pun intended), though the moments where an online style text conversation is described tended to be a little tedious as the narrator had to read out every single identifying line, every single timestamp, and so on. Other than that, it was great.

Any additional comments?

Ideas like personhood are nothing new to the science fiction genre, and having an AI be the catalyst for such discussions and explorations are fairly common. But where Chambers takes a relatively lesser trod path is that much of the perspective on this is from that very AI, and how she navigates questions like 'am I a person?' Which feels very different to people asking 'is that a person?' in the more abstract. To make this a very personal journey, to put our eyes in that of a computer, does make the reader much more likely to empathise and to connect.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Martyn. R. Winters
  • 07-03-18

Something different

I don't normally like twin timeline, circular stories, but this one is done so well I couldn't help but like it. It's the story of the clone Pepper/Jane and a couple of AIs who form a deep friendship in a universe populated with many friendly species. One of them is lost and the others set out to find her.

Breathtaking in its brilliance and simplicity, with a satisfyingly warm ending.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Toni
  • 06-29-18

Loved it!

My first reaction in beginning to listen to this was I would have liked there to be more characters common with first book but as I got further into the book I began to fall in love with the new characters, I grew to love them all but I especially loved Tak.

Another great character driven story from Becky where I cared about every one of the characters that the book focused on and that's rare for a book to do. The narration was once again great. I can't wait to read/listen the next one when it comes out and probably anything else Becky writes after that.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Thez
  • 08-10-19

Great sequel to an amazing series

I would not wish to spoil the book for potential future readers so will just say it did not go in the direction I thought it would but was such a pleasure to listen to.

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  • Mrs U
  • 05-02-19

No as good as first

The story was good overall, thouhg I do believe part one was better. I preferred the parts of the story relating to Jane and Owl over those about Sidra and Pepper. I just felt they were more engaging.

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  • MAdShopper
  • 04-17-19

Brilliant follow up book.

I was disappointed initially with this book as it wasn't about the Wayfarer and it's crew. Instead about peripheral characters from the first book. This book somehow manages to mix events in current time with a back story of one of the characters. Usually this is irritating and loses the momentum of the story, but not in this case. The two stories are intertwined, and have excellent character development.

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  • A R Holding
  • 03-26-19

AI story telling at its best

I was a bit taken a black when i found out this was not direct follow on from the first book. However, as an avid fan AI stories it was a delightful surprise to find that this was the central core (no pun intended) of the two stories within this book.
Using the first book to lay the foundations of a complex cosmos teeming with life, Chambers has the time to go into the complexities faced by an AI in an organic dominant world, where their discoveries add extra flavour to the universe.
Excellent performance by Patricia Rodriguez once again she breathes life into every character.

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  • Mike
  • 01-23-19

Clever and personal.

If you are looking at this as the follow up to "A long way to an angry planet" then that's kind of what this is. It follows on from the first book, but focuses in on two lesser characters. But this is a far more thoughtful book than the first. It follows the story of pepper and Lovelace, and how their individual journeys are strangely connected. It took a while, but in the end, I loved the balance.

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  • M. P. Caley
  • 01-02-19

Gentle feel great SciFi

Loved the book, character lead story with real emotional reach. This is not like any sci-fi novel I have read (unless it's by Becky Chambers). I love the gentle pace and the character development. I want to read more.

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  • lavender
  • 10-05-18

Sci Fi for the thinker

a gripping tale that confronts the true meaning and value of sentience. Humanoids and AI find a purpose beyond their genes and code while breaking laws but not rules to form aand redefine family

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • corydora
  • 06-27-19

Interesting exploration of artificial intelligence

This was well-narrated, with Rodriguez clearly differentiating the characters, and obviously adding a lot of emotion throughout the whole book. The book is related to the first Wayfarers in that it takes some minor characters on their own journey, and explores how they relate to each other and the world. Two stories are told in parallel -- Jane, a genetically engineered child who escapes from the factory she is enslaved in, and Sidra, an AI who lives in an illegal "body kit" -- and their experiences finding themselves and constructing their identities are compared. At times it does get a little didactic/preachy, but that's a fairly minor flaw in what is otherwise an enjoyable listen.

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  • jmattx
  • 03-27-19

Fun but not as good as the first in the series

Enjoyed this book with all the aspects it’s explored around d AI and what it means to be human. But the story can plod in places and it’s doesn’t have the spark of the first book.

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  • Peter Bondy
  • 09-26-18

SF doesn’t get better than this.

Well that’s true if you don’t mind a lack of laser guns and space battles. It’s a real breath of fresh air to have a SF novel that deals with the humanity of the future rather than potential conflicts or crises.

Beautifully paced and an intriguing story give this novel a really emotional core.

Patricia does an impeccable job as narrator and I have to say her work for s perfection and caps off a very entraining audiobook that I can’t recommend highly enough.

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  • phoebe
  • 09-08-18

unfortunately not up to the first book

Still has the warm heart of the first novel which carries it through. Yet the story is far simpler and slower and not in the way you'd like. If you removed the sex talk it would be make a good book for pre-teen audiences. Rather than adults who can handle more complexity, maturity and finesse.

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  • Honor McGregor
  • 08-19-17

just loved this story

just loved everything about this story, such a joy in so many ways. highly recommended.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 12-23-16

Hope there's more to come!

Thoroughly enjoyed both books in this series so far.
There are some interesting issues tackled but not to the detriment of the narrative or the development of characters you can care about.

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  • Natasha
  • 05-24-17

There's nothing common about this book

There were less character is A Closed Orbit than Wayfarer 1, which was nice, you got to know each character individually rather than rushing between multiple story arcs. Like Wayfarer 1 Chambers uses a story style that strings together vignettes of her characters lives rather than a single, unbroken plot. Personally I like the style, it's a relaxing wonder through another universe, but I can see that those looking for an action driven plot would find it frustrating.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful