The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet is Becky Chambers debut novel; a science fiction space opera that follows the crew of the tunneling ship, the Wayfarer, as they embark on a long journey to help build an alliance between the GC and an alien species new to the space alliance. Along the way, Rosemary Harper, gets to know the crew – a mix of different species with altering religious views and cultures, and some possessing secrets.
As is common knowledge now, a lot of the books I have been reading recently have stemmed from social media and the hype surrounding these new and interesting novels. The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet (which I will now reference to as TLWSAP) is one such novel that I have found frequently cropping up on Twitter and I have to admit, I’m damn glad I bought and picked up this book!
For a debut novel, Chambers has hit the nail on the head. Her style of writing is impeccable bringing perfecting pacing to a genre that can sometimes seem long-winded and drawn out with the amount of information needed to build the world. The world-building is brilliantly descriptive with no major infodumps, the information being provided as and when needed in regards to the “main character”, Rosemary Harper and her lack of knowledge regarding species, culture, religion etc. We are presented with a galaxy filled with a variety of species, some of which are subspecies of Humans with different traits, morals etc – whilst others are lizards or strange fluffy aliens that can comprehend space travel far better than anyone else. And by “main character”, I mean one of many…
I love the diverse range of characters that are presented within the narrative and the ways in which they all interact with each other. The way we are introduced to them, and how the characters react brings many themes to the novel such as race, discrimination, culture, ethics, religion, and I found it all very interesting to see how Harper responds to all of this. Regardless of that fact that our characters are, to all intents and purposes, aliens, it really does not come across. All characters are relatable with all too real issues reflective of our own society and culture, and the ways in which they develop throughout the novel are gratifying to say the least. Each and every character changes for the better by the end of the novel and there is an almost relaxing calm about the ending of the novel.
I have to say that I am extremely impressed by this debut and would place it amongst my favourite books of all time. Towards the end of the novel I was hoping for a sequel, and was presented with an excerpt for that sequel – something I am extremely happy about. It will be interesting to see how Chambers goes about this next novel and what plotline this narrative will follow; and, above all, I seriously hope that her amazing ability to write continues on through!