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Publisher's Summary

Embark on an exciting, adventurous, and dangerous journey through the galaxy with the motley crew of the spaceship Wayfarer in this fun and heart-warming space opera - the sequel to the acclaimed The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet. Lovelace was once merely a ship's artificial intelligence. When she wakes up in a new body, following a total system shut-down and reboot, she has no memory of what came before. As Lovelace learns to negotiate the universe and discover who she is, she makes friends with Pepper, an excitable engineer, who's determined to help her learn and grow. Together, Pepper and Lovey will discover that no matter how vast space is, two people can fill it together.

©2016 Becky Chambers (P)2017 Tantor

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
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    747
  • 4 Stars
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  • 3 Stars
    83
  • 2 Stars
    11
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    4

Performance

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
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    269
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    42
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    4
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Story

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
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    257
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Sort by:
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Bob
  • Morrisville, PA, United States
  • 01-31-17

Good story, bland delievery

This follow up to Chambers excellent debut, is a sweet change of pace novel. Instead of interstellar action, Chamber slows it down with an intimate tale of interspecial social adaption and friendship. Chambers takes two characters with unique worldviews and allows us to see their often parallel development. If your looking for more action Fireflyesque space daring-do, you'll be disappointed, but you'd be pretty heartless if you didn't fins yourself caring for these characters. Narrator Rachel Dulude has a nice pleasant voice that would be perfect for a nice American standard coming of age tale, but here I was left wanting more. Despite characters like sexual morphing aliens, artificial intelligence, and cloned humans, the reading lacked much diversity. In scifi I love when you can tell a species by a narrators change of accent and cadence, here, outside of a bit of studder and minute vocal changes, all the characters sounded dissapointedly alike.

10 of 10 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

No drive in the story

I loved the first book in this series, it was like reading a book about an episode of Firefly. This book did noe really have a story, or a problem that needed solving. No one was going anywhere, and i was often a bit bored reading it, sadly. Nothing much happens until the last 3 hours of the book. I was disappointed with the book and missed the wayfarer crew.

7 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Joel
  • Chicago, IL, United States
  • 02-17-17

Good enough. Some cliches, some fresher ideas.

Good enough. Some cliches, some fresher ideas. Narrator pretty solid with some questionable pronunciations. A direct sequel, but with mostly new characters

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Riveting tale. Get it? Riveting...

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

Expert narration that captured the characters spot on. I loved the stories and how they gradually became interwoven.

What other book might you compare A Closed and Common Orbit to and why?

The same kind of conundrum is found throughout science fiction: when artificial intelligence meets or exceeds human intellect, what rights are due and how will these be protected. When does a machine become a person? If there is a moral here, it's that we had better be ready to face this issue, and it's probably going to happen earlier than we think. Westworld. The story line doesn't compare to Wayfarers in quality, but is an example of how wrong things could go if AIs were not given an immigration pathway into human communities.

In terms of impact and exposing social injustice, I would put this book on the top shelf next to Margaret Atwood's The Handmaiden's Tale.

Have you listened to any of Rachel Dulude’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

Just the one. Fantastic. Slight extra emphasis on words that should be elided, is the only comment I have, and it's barely noticible. You truly are immersed in the story. I want this series to never end!

If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

Bootstrapping freedom, one little bit at a time

Any additional comments?

Lots but I'll spare you. Just read it, even if audiobooks aren't your thing. There is something for everyone - girl nerds, xenophiles, philosophy majors, history buffs. A sad and happy celebration of jumpy, irritable likeable introverted spacefarers and their extremely special AIs. A book to remember and cherish for keeps.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Diana
  • Antelope Valley, CA, United States
  • 02-07-17

Enjoyable. Very enjoyable.

This author is talented. Her imagination and ability to include so many interesting details make her world building exceptional. Looking forward to the next book to see what else she comes up with.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Matthew
  • Kansas City, MO, United States
  • 02-17-17

Comforting and Enjoyable Sci-Fi

Any additional comments?

After sitting on it for a couple days, this is actually a pretty easy 5 star rating. And while this is technically part of a series, beyond the minor spoiler of one of the protagonist's backstories, it is an entirely self contained, stand-alone book. My review shall reflect that.

This is a story of two women. One who has to find her purpose and come to terms with what it means to be a sentient being in a physical body (she's an AI in a robotic 'kit') and one told through sequential flashbacks of survival and coming of age. It's all in the title folks. They are the same story these two women, but they are different, a closed, but common story.

The writing flows, so I can't say I ever really minded the shifting perspectives. Also, each of the protagonist's stories are both touching and so interesting that I loved them equally as well. Each character in this book, both primary and tertiary, just feel real. I don't see that often. Usually we get cardboard cutouts or one personality trait that stands out. Not here, it may be a spacey sci-fi, but I can see this happening just as easily anywhere else. It's a fantastical thing, light-hearted and funny at times, serious or introspective at others.

If you miss the days of good ol' sci-fi without all the space marines and ships going pewpew, or maybe you want a heart-warming tale of growth and success, I recommend this book to you. As for me, if there is another in the series, it'll be a day one purchase for me.

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Outstanding and emotional

4.5 stars. I simply adore this series. Chambers manages that precarious balance of weighty, existential topics (like sapience, purpose, survival, belonging) with a wholesomeness that is neither childish nor cloying. Even where characters might fit into well worn tropes, she gives them depth and individuality. The entire book just feels good-natured in a way that is hard to find without feeling like you're being patronized.

While the first book in the series (The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet) took place on a tunneling ship, the Wayfarer, this second book takes place mostly on Port Coriol. The link between the books is the Wayfarer's former AI, Lovelace (better known as Lovey). If you haven't read the first book stop right there because the next bit will spoil the ending. Anyway, at the end of the first book, Lovey had sustained major damage and the only way to perhaps restore her was a hard shutdown, with a 50/50 chance she would return to her Lovey personality as opposed to starting over from scratch. Sadly for the entire crew, she reverted to Lovelace. At the end of that book, friend of the crew Pepper (a skilled tech) had offered Lovelace the opportunity of entering into a body kit (highly illegal), and the chance to leave the crew who were mourning the loss of Lovey. Lovelace accepted and this novel explores her attempt to live in a body and find purpose beyond her specs.

This rebirth and self-discovery finds a very effective and heart-wrenching counterpoint in alternating chapters that explore Pepper's background. We got hints of this in the first book in the series--we know she was some kind of designed human, meant to fulfill very specific tasks and not to deviate, and that she endured a harrowing trip to escape her fate. Here her history is elaborated with poignant detail and, over time, we come to realize why Pepper was so determined to give Lovelace a chance at another life.

The highest compliment I can give this book is that, despite loving the first book and being anxious to hear what happens next with the Wayfarer's crew, it took me less than a chapter to be entirely absorbed and not at all resentful that the Wayfarer plays no meaningful role in this novel. Highly recommended.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Different from the first.

If you could sum up A Closed and Common Orbit in three words, what would they be?

Fun Parallel Stories

Who was your favorite character and why?

Pepper! She's a character with a mysterious background and motivations that get revealed at a slow and rewarding pace.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

I couldn't listen to it in one sitting, but it did hook me into coming back whenever I had the chance.

Any additional comments?

This book connects to the author's first book, but you would be fine to start here. I loved this book and the way the characters fit together. I enjoyed the universe that was created and am really waiting to listen to the next one. It made me cry for a little girl and her robot, and it doesn't get better than that.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Not complicated, still good

At times listening this book, I found it hard to get into the story which felt a little bit simplistic and uncomplicated. However, I came to really like the characters and care about them and so despite the lack of complexity or sophistication in the plot I still enjoyed listening to this work.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

I love this series

I would recommend this audible book to anyone who loves a feel good story. The characters struggle with understanding who they are and reach their answers by being present for each other.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful