Becky Chambers is a science fiction author based in Northern California. She is best known for her Wayfarers series, which currently includes The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet, A Closed and Common Orbit, and Record of a Spaceborn Few. Her books have been nominated for the Hugo Award, the Arthur C. Clarke Award, the Locus Award, and the Bailey’s Women’s Prize for Fiction, among others.
I was given an ARC by Hodderscape Publishers in exchange for a fair review
To be Taught if Forunate is my first proper sci-fi novella. In esscance, it’s like as if you combined the Expanse, Farscape, and the Orville altogether, and just examined at the roots of an alternate reality.
What I like is that the realism aspect of four astronauts wondering into space and having then discover that their Earth as we know it is destroyed. In some way, I almost felt this was a different world than ours. Although the setting is the same, could this have been alternate earth where we discovered how to travel to space? I applaud the decision made by Becky to make sure that we were terraforming planets than living in space. Even living in Space is difficult enough already.
But this book is not an adventure, nor an action action orientated novel. It is one of those books that makes you question your humanity. Are we really that cruel that in order to surive we do everything that is needed? One of the most refreshing things I loved about the novel was when the crew didn’t matter about what happened in politics as they were light years ahead.
Chikondi was one of my favorite characters because he seemed the most human out of them all. Pizza, pets, heck anything that could resemble Earth was a plus point. I didn’t feel Jack got much scenes, and so I wished he would have gotten more scenes. The description of the alien animals was also wonderful, but sad when Chikondi had to shoot an animal that he didn’t want too. Otherwise it was game over for the crew.
And they left their families, to return to an earth that is destroyed. At the end, it was a difficult choice. The culture you’ve existed for in thousands of years has now become pointless, and you either spend your time in space or what is the point?
I make a historical comparison to the Romans. Even though they were Christians, I almost felt that when their Empire fell, they were probably shocked. Rome had existed for thousands of years despite so many frequent civil wars. If you were a Roman wandering through the ruined city streets of Rome after Belisarius left, after Stilcho died, you would have felt like moving. Your entire culture was gone. Everything you knew and loved was gone. The days of when Ceasar and the Republic seem like a long time ago.
And that’s what I felt with Adriadne and the crew.
A fantastic novella, one of the best. I loved this.
Thank you to Hodderscape for allowing me to review this.