Welcome to The Geek Embassy Reads! In this episode, we discuss Becky Chambers’ novel, “The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet.” *
Follow a motley crew on an exciting journey through space — and one adventurous, young explorer who discovers the meaning of family in the far reaches of the universe — in this light-hearted debut space opera from a rising sci-fi star.
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 who learned early to keep to herself, 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.
This book was quite the divisive read for our ambassadors. Two of us loved it, two of us hated it, and one was in the middle. We wrestle a bit with the discussion, bouncing back and forth between each outlook. Although we are divided about the book, everyone could at least come up with a few positives for the characters, story, and universe Chambers created.
Most of the tension came from the different expectations we had as readers. Evan and Dante both felt the plot lagged and didn’t enjoy the vignette storytelling approach. Isabela, Max, and I all fell in love with the characters and the world Chambers built. The choice to have the plot more as background to the characters didn’t offset our expectations as much because of that affection, but it is definitely not a traditional style of storytelling.
Favorite Angry Planet Quotes
- You’re the only thing that makes sense.
- I’ve never coupled with a human before.
- I may not understand what (Jenks) is going through, but I know he’s hurting.
- It’s okay to be scared. Scared is good, it means we want to live.
- What a quintessentially human thing, to express sorrow through apology.
- This crew’s been through enough, and I won’t allow you to put them through more.
- Potatoes are such a waste. They serve as a vehicle by which to consume salt and butter. Why not just buy a salt lick and skip the potato?
Although having both is ideal, would you rather read a book with excellent character development or a pressing and prominent plot?
Until next time, get your geek on!
Regina, Isabela, Dante, Max, and Evan
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Regina is a gamer, writer, teacher, and podcaster living in the Pacific Northwest. She completed her Ph.D. in 2011 from Washington State University in Vancouver and continues to teach there part time. Regina’s research interests focus on women and technology, and her dissertation discusses female gamers and identity in digital role playing games. A lifelong geek and technology enthusiast, Regina recently started a Girls Who Code club in support of their mission to close the gender gap in technology.
To continue the conversations about gender and gaming that Regina started during her research, she started a podcast called Game on Girl. Called the “NPR of game podcasts” by Chris Brown of The Married Gamers, the podcast features women involved in the game industry, and tackles some of the complicated issues in the gaming community. Season 2 began in the spring of 2018 and will premiere new episodes monthly.