A Closed and Common Orbit (Wayfarers, #2)
Lovelace was once merely a ship's artificial intelligence. When she wakes up in an 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.The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet introduced readers to the incredible world of Rosemary Harper, a young woman with a restless soul and secrets to keep. When she joined the crew of the Wayfarer, an intergalactic ship, she got more than she bargained for - and learned to live with, and love, her rag-tag collection of crewmates.A Closed and Common Orbit is the stand-alone sequel to Becky Chambers' beloved debut novel The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet and is perfect for fans of Firefly, Joss Whedon, Mass Effect and Star Wars.

A Closed and Common Orbit (Wayfarers, #2) Details

TitleA Closed and Common Orbit (Wayfarers, #2)
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseOct 20th, 2016
PublisherHodder & Stoughton
ISBN-139781473621442
Rating
GenreScience Fiction, Fiction

A Closed and Common Orbit (Wayfarers, #2) Review

  • carol.
    January 1, 1970
    I understand that some people weren't fans of The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet. Personally, in my heart of hearts, I kind of suspected they might be suffering from Grinch syndrome,* but I respected it, because there were indeed a few flaws.This time, I won't keep my suspicions to myself: if you do not find this book enjoyable, you need to witness a little village of Whos holding hands and singing even though you just stole their Christmas Beast.** Or, just possibly, it is completely not you I understand that some people weren't fans of The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet. Personally, in my heart of hearts, I kind of suspected they might be suffering from Grinch syndrome,* but I respected it, because there were indeed a few flaws.This time, I won't keep my suspicions to myself: if you do not find this book enjoyable, you need to witness a little village of Whos holding hands and singing even though you just stole their Christmas Beast.** Or, just possibly, it is completely not your style of book. I'm fairly certain those are the only two choices here.Don't get me wrong as this by no means a sugary-sweet, singing festival: there is a lot more edginess, with subsistence living and even a touch of horror, but there's something equally wonderful--or better--in the story as a whole. It isn't at all a direct sequel to A Long Way, although the ending of that book does go a long way (I couldn't help myself) towards explaining the premise of this story. No matter, as Chambers is kind enough to start just twenty-eight minutes after the last book, although without the Wayfarer crew. It begins with Lovelace the AI program, fresh in her new synthetic body, which she continually refers to as her 'kit.' It's a brilliant little device that constantly distances both the former Lovelace and the reader from her new housing. Eventually she picks a name, Sidra. Narrative then jumps into the story of Jane 23, a young female who works first cleaning then repairing parts with her clone-sisters. Chapters go back and forth between the two, but are occasionally interrupted by a type of underground message boards where less-than-law-abiding citizens talk shop. Often I dislike this narrative technique, but there's solid continuity as well as thematic parallels. As both were written well but with different plotting tensions, I found myself both eager and reluctant at the end of each chapter to resume the other story. In a way, both are stories of survival and of identity, and they dovetail beautifully. I do have a lingering question or two, primarily Sidra's solution (view spoiler)[ of installing herself in the walls of a bar. I thought it was reasonably clear from the AI manual that she might grow bored being in one place, and that a variety of customers does not seem adequate stimulus, Linking available or not (hide spoiler)]. Like A Long Way, there was a couple of very rapid plot developments near the end (view spoiler)[ particularly the installation of Owl and the use of the pet-bots as extended networks. (hide spoiler)] While they do serve to nicely wrap things up, the pacing and resolution felt pressured. I felt a little like, once again, someone told Chambers to get a move on and finish up. Not that I would have said that, mind you. But that's the impression I was left with in both books. Well, whatever; I'm no Grinch*** to quibble the minor details. I'm very glad I added this one to my own physical library, as I think it will hold up well to a re-read. I strongly recommend it.*(view spoiler)[ (hide spoiler)] **(view spoiler)[ (hide spoiler)]***(view spoiler)[ At least when it comes to books (hide spoiler)]
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  • Gary
    January 1, 1970
    Now that A Closed and Common Orbit has received a Hugo nomination for Best Novel, it would seem that Becky Chambers fandom is inescapable. That’s really not such a terrible thing. She’s basically invented an entirely new sub-subgenre of science fiction – the Rainbows & Hugs Space Opera (RHSO, for short) – in which most people are basically good and decent and want nice things to happen to each other; in which no conflict cannot be resolved, no obstacle not overcome, if there is an understand Now that A Closed and Common Orbit has received a Hugo nomination for Best Novel, it would seem that Becky Chambers fandom is inescapable. That’s really not such a terrible thing. She’s basically invented an entirely new sub-subgenre of science fiction – the Rainbows & Hugs Space Opera (RHSO, for short) – in which most people are basically good and decent and want nice things to happen to each other; in which no conflict cannot be resolved, no obstacle not overcome, if there is an understanding to be reached between folks who recognize each other’s innate humanity; in which no amount of meanness by the mean meanies who do mean things to people cannot be endured and transcended by the kindness of the kind.Becky Chambers leaves no sentiment unexpressed, and is unafraid to yank mercilessly at your heartstrings until you either submit to her gentle, benevolent will, or die of myocardial infarction.There’s absolutely nothing wrong with writing, reading, or being a fan of RHSO – rainbows are pretty, hugs make you feel all warm inside. If you don’t like rainbows and hugs, you’re probably kind of a shit, and no one wants you around anyway.And herein lies the problem. A Closed and Common Orbit is full of all sorts of pleasant things: pleasantly competent writing, pleasantly likeable characters, pleasantly imagined settings. Enough unpleasantness arises to generate the struggles and stumbling blocks necessary to qualify this as an actual story, but nothing that can’t be conquered with a little plucky determination and a helping hand from a friend, just like your parents and teachers and every children’s book you’ve ever read won’t stop telling you. It’s not a bad book, I guess, but it is a mediocre one: predictable, safe, reassuring. But it’s also a novel that you can’t actively dislike without being the asshole in the room, and honestly, I think I like that even less than a novel that I can just go ahead and dislike for being mediocre.So I’m with you, Becky Chambers fans. You are good people, who want to believe in a better future full of better people, where decency and graciousness and magnanimity will carry us all through this life. I want to believe in those things, too. Sadly, I’m the jerk who wants better fiction to take me there.
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  • Melissa ♥ Dog/Wolf Lover ♥ Martin
    January 1, 1970
    Yes, I cried a little in the book! That's what I do people! Don't judge me! Lol, it was a good cry though =) I loved the first book and I loved this one too. Holy crow! This book starts off when Pepper and Lovey leave the Wayfarer together. Lovey is in an AI body and is not real happy because that's a lot to get used to when your used to being an AI of a ship and not in a teeny tiny person body! This book goes back and forth from when Pepper was a little girl to tell her story and the present wi Yes, I cried a little in the book! That's what I do people! Don't judge me! Lol, it was a good cry though =) I loved the first book and I loved this one too. Holy crow! This book starts off when Pepper and Lovey leave the Wayfarer together. Lovey is in an AI body and is not real happy because that's a lot to get used to when your used to being an AI of a ship and not in a teeny tiny person body! This book goes back and forth from when Pepper was a little girl to tell her story and the present with Pepper, Lovey, Blue and Tak. Now Pepper told Lovey to pick a name for herself and Lovey came up with Sidra so I'm going to use that from now on. Pepper's name when she was young was Jane #23. I'm not going to talk a lot about Jane/Pepper's childhood because I don't want to give that away. It's sad and good and something you just have to read for yourself. I enjoyed those parts the most in the book until things changed at the end and a great big wonderful thing happened. Jane/Pepper was raised by an AI from age 10 to 19 and that's all I'm going to say. Reasons behind it are horrible and stuff. Pepper gets Sidra back to her home where she lives with Blue. Pepper has a shop where she fixes stuff and what not, I mean she is an engineer/tech - a little bit of everything! Blue decides to spend his time at home with his painting while Sidra works with Pepper. Sidra is still not having a great time being in a body. She just wants to be what she was before. And let me just say that this story has such a happy ending that it made me feel all fuzzy inside and I needed that right now =)MY BLOG: Melissa Martin's Reading List
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  • Chelsea (chelseadolling reads)
    January 1, 1970
    Re-read 8/28/18: I loved this even more the second time around, oh my lanta. Even though I knew what was going to happen I found myself tearing up because I just love these characters so much. I need 73823628 hugs. Original read 10/12/17: This book felt like a hug. So satisfying and lovely and warm. I never ever want Becky Chambers to stop writing this series. I just want it to go on and on for the rest of my life.
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  • Emily (Books with Emily Fox)
    January 1, 1970
    (4.5) I need to third one!
  • Philip
    January 1, 1970
    4ish stars.Just as cute as the first book but with its own emotional depth, this goes further into exploring some interesting themes giving it a greater, more focused sense of purpose than TLWTASAP (whoa that's an intense acronym). Even more so than the first book, there's not much excitement. There are no villains. It's the opposite of a nail-biter. It's more of a coming-of-age novel with a few existential crises thrown in.It's cute in the same way a lullaby is cute. It's not saccharine, gag-in 4ish stars.Just as cute as the first book but with its own emotional depth, this goes further into exploring some interesting themes giving it a greater, more focused sense of purpose than TLWTASAP (whoa that's an intense acronym). Even more so than the first book, there's not much excitement. There are no villains. It's the opposite of a nail-biter. It's more of a coming-of-age novel with a few existential crises thrown in.It's cute in the same way a lullaby is cute. It's not saccharine, gag-inducing sweetness. It's comforting, reassuring. It's all going to be okay because there are good people in the world and good things can happen sometimes. Some great character work makes up for the fact that we don't ever see our favorites from the Wayfarer crew. The heavier philosophical questions make up for the much smaller scope. Though at first glance it doesn't seem to push any boundaries or tread particularly new ground, I think in some ways it actually expands the scope of what it means to be 'science fiction.' Obviously there are aliens, and it's the future and it takes place in space, but all of that is mostly happenstance, tangential. It explores culture and humanity the same way the best social sci-fi novels do, but without seeming like it's trying to make a statement. It utilizes inclusion and gives voices to atypical characters without making a particular point to do so. When it comes down to it, honestly not much actually happens! It just is. It just floats along and asks a question we all kind of wonder about and tells a story in the process just as naturally as our lives tell a story. It's about who we are and where we come from, about what we do next and what the future will hold, and isn't that okay? Does it need to be exciting or satirical to be 21st century sci-fi? Trippy or challenging? Does it have to be new to be progressive? This makes a great case that the answer is no, which sort of makes it new in the process. :)Posted in Mr. Philip's Library
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  • Charlotte May
    January 1, 1970
    "The planet was beautiful. The planet was horrible. The planet was full of people, and they were beautiful and horrible too." I enjoyed this visit back into Becky Chambers' wonderfully optimistic science fiction, but it wasn't quite up there with The Long Way to a Small, Angry PlanetWe don't join the crew from the previous book, but instead we pick up with two of the minor characters mentioned - Lovelace and Pepper. The ending of The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet was pretty dramatic - and t "The planet was beautiful. The planet was horrible. The planet was full of people, and they were beautiful and horrible too." I enjoyed this visit back into Becky Chambers' wonderfully optimistic science fiction, but it wasn't quite up there with The Long Way to a Small, Angry PlanetWe don't join the crew from the previous book, but instead we pick up with two of the minor characters mentioned - Lovelace and Pepper. The ending of The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet was pretty dramatic - and this book picks right up where that one left off.I enjoyed reading about Lovelace/Sidra's struggles to adapt to her new environment, and we also got numerous flashbacks to Pepper's childhood trauma which was so interesting to read about!Overall, it still had the positive vibes that were rife throughout the first book, but I was a bit sad we didn't get to see any of the old gang... Roll on book 3! "No matter what happens next, she said, "no matter where we go, we're all going together."
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  • Bradley
    January 1, 1970
    I've been looking forward to this sequel for some time and I feel kind of sad it STILL took me so long to get a copy of it! It follows two of the most interesting characters from The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet, Lovelace and Pepper, but it does so by filling in the gaps, jumping from the past to the future following the end of the first book.Do not expect a straight continuation of it, though. This is more of a very interesting dual-character study full of straight commentary and rather in I've been looking forward to this sequel for some time and I feel kind of sad it STILL took me so long to get a copy of it! It follows two of the most interesting characters from The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet, Lovelace and Pepper, but it does so by filling in the gaps, jumping from the past to the future following the end of the first book.Do not expect a straight continuation of it, though. This is more of a very interesting dual-character study full of straight commentary and rather interesting AI/Alien/Human interactions.Lovelace/Sidra and Jane/Pepper are both outcasts and are hiding from the law for what appear to be very stupid reasons from the reader's PoV, but it's all about context. It might as well be about same-sex relationships, but indeed, this is much more interesting for a SF fan: a love story for an AI in an illegal puppet body and the intense relationship she has with an outlaw techie. :)Their histories are quite the ride. Don't let me simplify this too much for you because we've got a huge cloning consortium, continuing tragedy, loss, starvation, and love for the only friend, an AI, who is lost... on one side of the coin.And then we have the search for identity and sensation and the deepest need to be free to reprogram oneself and live the fullest life that one can.Together or separate, I think I could follow these two character arcs forever. It's the writing more than anything else. The world-building is fantastic, the kinds of aliens diverse, but it's the depth of character exploration than cinches the deal.
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  • Kaitlin
    January 1, 1970
    * I was sent this for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review *I flipping ADORED this. Once again, Becky Chambers has written a Sci-fi book which isn't about explosions and battles in space, but one which deals with many problems facing humanity today e.g. gender, equality, sentience, free choice, racism etc. Chambers has an innate understanding of how humans are flawed, and she applies this BRILLIANTLY to her works of fiction, making character that you can't help but love and r * I was sent this for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review *I flipping ADORED this. Once again, Becky Chambers has written a Sci-fi book which isn't about explosions and battles in space, but one which deals with many problems facing humanity today e.g. gender, equality, sentience, free choice, racism etc. Chambers has an innate understanding of how humans are flawed, and she applies this BRILLIANTLY to her works of fiction, making character that you can't help but love and root for, and characters who you know you'll not forget.This story is a companion to Becky Chamber's earlier book, The Long Way To A Small Angry Planet (which I also thoroughly enjoyed). It picks up after the ending of TLWTASAP and we follow a character called Lovelace who quickly changes her name to Sidra. Sidra is an AI who is sentient. She's never had much of a life, but immediately she's thrust into a body which doesn't feel 'right' to her and she has to adapt to it. Luckily she's helped along by Pepper, someone we met in TLWTASAP.The second storyline takes place many years before we meet Sidra, and this follows a young girl named Jane who is part of a system she doesn't even know exists. Jane's story was moving right from the start becuase she's being controlled and forced to do things, without even knowing what she's missing. Of course these two stories do intersect and they come together in fabulous ways later on. I think that there were some excellent moments in the story which made me both tearful and happy, and filled with joy. One thing I don't often say when reading SF is that I'm filled with joy after reading it, but Becky Chambers has a way of writing that feels human, intellectual, but also really raw and fun. She 'gets' how to write a feel-good story and she knows how to confront topics we don't see as much as we should. She's pretty much just excellent in my opinion!Moving onto the pace I read this at. This book arrived at my house yesterday afternoon, I then finished it this morning. If that doesn't show you how much I enjoyed this then nothing will, becuase this book was the one I chose to read over everything else I had ongoing. It took priority, and it was SO WORTH IT. If you've never read TLWTASAP then GO READ IT. If you have read it an you're awaiting this one eagerly until October, then I say don't worry, it will be worth the wait... It's fantastic, brilliant and just plain wonderful. I hope Becky Chambers continues to write within this universe again and again, as I think I could read her books forever! 5*s - highly, highly recommended :)
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  • Michael Finocchiaro
    January 1, 1970
    “Life is terrifying. None of us have a rule book. None of us know what we are doing here. So, the easiest way to stare reality in the face and not utterly lose your shit is to believe you have control over it. If you believe you have control, then you believe that you’re at the top. And if you’re at the top, then people who aren’t like you...well, they’ve got to be somewhere lower, right? Every species does this. Does it again and again and again.” (P. 326)The second book of the Wayfarer series “Life is terrifying. None of us have a rule book. None of us know what we are doing here. So, the easiest way to stare reality in the face and not utterly lose your shit is to believe you have control over it. If you believe you have control, then you believe that you’re at the top. And if you’re at the top, then people who aren’t like you...well, they’ve got to be somewhere lower, right? Every species does this. Does it again and again and again.” (P. 326)The second book of the Wayfarer series by Becky Chambers is a big departure from the first book. Where A Long Way was more of a voyage story with questions of gender, this book is more of a personal quest or bildungsroman that questions the ideas of self and autonomy. We follow Lovey, the AI from Wayfarer that was destroyed in an accident and reverted to her previous default personality of Lovelace, who is moved (illegally) into a kit (read a female body host) by Pepper whose story constitutes half of the book. Lovelace changes her name to Sidra while she moves to Port Coriol (we discovered this magical outpost in the previous book) and spends the book trying to deal with having a body (rather than taking care of a ship) and learning about friendship and love. Meanwhile, we get the backstory of Pepper as Jane 23, a cloned child on a factory planet - well the part she was on anyway. Like in her first book, the female characters are all brilliant and independent, the male characters are pliant and generally pretty nice - the bad guys are the machines, Mothers, that run the factory planet. I enjoyed how the question of gender was addressed again but especially how she dealt with the consciousness of Sidra and how the story of Jane 23/Pepper dovetailed into that of Sidra's quest for self. It will be really interesting to see where she takes the story in the third volume due out later this year.The 3rd book of the series was great too but does not talk about these characters.
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  • Hannah
    January 1, 1970
    I absolutely adore Becky Chambers’ brand on optimistic science fiction. It is filled with wide-eyed, immersive, positive energy and I LOVE that. I love how inclusive her imagination is and how thoroughly thought out her world is. The aliens feel exactly that: alien. They are different not just in the way they look but in the way they think and behave and in the way their societies are structured. But still, the different races exist more or less peacefully and most people we meet along the way d I absolutely adore Becky Chambers’ brand on optimistic science fiction. It is filled with wide-eyed, immersive, positive energy and I LOVE that. I love how inclusive her imagination is and how thoroughly thought out her world is. The aliens feel exactly that: alien. They are different not just in the way they look but in the way they think and behave and in the way their societies are structured. But still, the different races exist more or less peacefully and most people we meet along the way do their damned best to be nice to others. I find this so very refreshing.This is a stand-alone follow-up to The Long Way To A Small, Angry Planet (which I enjoyed immensely) that is very loosely connected. Here we see Lovelace trying to adapt to her new life with Pepper, as well as learning more about Pepper’s childhood. However, much like the first book, the plot is rather incidental and for a very long stretch this feels more like a series of vignettes where Becky Chambers shows off her impressive imagination. Unlike the first book, this got a bit slow for me in parts. Maybe because the cast of characters is not as big or maybe because the novelty wore off a bit. But in the end, she combines the different stories so skillfully and with such an emotional punch, that I cannot begrudge her the way of getting there.I love stories centering on identity (this comes as no surprise), and Chambers does this skillfully and as I said thoroughly optimistically. I adore her ruminations on what makes somebody a person and how this might change as technology adapts. Her themes of belonging and family (born and found) are important. I love how at the core this is not about science as much as about sociology. And I love the warmth her stories have. I cannot wait for the third part to release later this year.First sentence: “Lovelace had been in a body for twenty-eight minutes, and it still felt every bit as wrong as it had the second she woke up.”You can find this review and other thoughts on my blog
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  • Phrynne
    January 1, 1970
    A wonderful sequel to The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet, this tells the ongoing story of Lovelace. She is the only character from the first book who plays a real part in this one but that does not matter because both books are so good in their own right.Lovelace quickly becomes Sidra and the story follows her progress as she attempts to act like a human and play down her characteristics as an artificial intelligence system. Sounds weird? I promise it is not. The author has a talent for makin A wonderful sequel to The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet, this tells the ongoing story of Lovelace. She is the only character from the first book who plays a real part in this one but that does not matter because both books are so good in their own right.Lovelace quickly becomes Sidra and the story follows her progress as she attempts to act like a human and play down her characteristics as an artificial intelligence system. Sounds weird? I promise it is not. The author has a talent for making it all seem perfectly logical and understandable.Alternate chapters are given to Jane 23 who escapes incarceration on some distant planet. Her story is brilliant and I had trouble not speed reading the Sidra chapters in order to get back to Jane! There is another artificial intelligence here called Owl who helps while Jane grows up alone and then repairs and escapes on an old space ship. Eventually of course the two stories wrap around each other and all the loose ends are tied up to this reader's total satisfaction. This is an excellent book, original in its ideas and beautifully written. It raises issues which translate into our real life society as well as the fictional one we are reading about. Easily worth five stars.
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  • Mogsy (MMOGC)
    January 1, 1970
    4 of 5 stars at The BiblioSanctum https://bibliosanctum.com/2016/12/29/...In the same spirit of The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet, its sequel A Closed and Common Orbit likewise tackles the themes of life, love, and the exploration of interpersonal, social, and cultural ideas. However, if you’re jumping on board this one immediately following the first book, you might also find yourself surprised by the many differences. The greatest departure is perhaps the novel’s format and style, which tig 4 of 5 stars at The BiblioSanctum https://bibliosanctum.com/2016/12/29/...In the same spirit of The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet, its sequel A Closed and Common Orbit likewise tackles the themes of life, love, and the exploration of interpersonal, social, and cultural ideas. However, if you’re jumping on board this one immediately following the first book, you might also find yourself surprised by the many differences. The greatest departure is perhaps the novel’s format and style, which tightens the scope of the story to focus on the only two characters returning for this follow-up (explaining its standalone status and why reading the first book is not a requirement before tackling this one). In spite of this though, I have to say I most definitely enjoyed this book even more than its predecessor.We first met Lovelace and Pepper from The Long Way, and while they might not have been among the key perspective characters, they nonetheless quickly won over readers’ hearts. Now through their eyes, we get to experience another chapter of the Wayfarers saga, continuing the story from another point of view. Without going into too much detail, Lovelace was once the A.I. of a starship, but due to complicated circumstances her programming had to be transferred into a highly realistic (and also extremely illegal) synthetic human body called a “kit”. Having been “reborn” into this new life, she also decides to take on a new identity, adopting the name Sidra. With her friend Pepper, the tech wizard who helped download her consciousness into her body kit, the two of them begin to work out how they will go about integrating Sidra into the greater galactic society without setting off suspicions or attracting attention from the law.At the same time, this present narrative is interspersed with another story from the past, one following the incredible journey of a young girl named Jane 23. This was Pepper’s childhood, which began in a facility whose sole purpose was to churn out bio-engineered clones for use as cheap and disposable labor. The clones are treated poorly, kept sheltered and ignorant, and only taught enough to perform their functions. Though eventually Jane manages to break free of the factory, her struggles continue as she learns the hard way about the truths of the galaxy.As much as these two narratives may differ on the surface, beneath them lies several unifying themes. The parallels are ultimately what makes this book so meaningful. Both Lovelace/Sidra and Jane/Pepper came into this world as creations, meant to serve a purpose. There are also those in the galaxy who don’t consider them human, or at least deserving of the full rights granted to citizens of the Galactic Commons. And yet, as we read of their hopes and desires, it is clear there’s more to being an artificial intelligence or a clone. As soon as Sidra and Jane are freed from their respective constraints, they face that age-old question that has been asked by sentient beings since the beginning of time: “Now what?”This book is about learning who you are. It is also about taking control of your own destiny. It is about family, friendship, and finding a place to belong. In a galaxy so large, where aliens of all different shapes and sizes mingle, where all kinds of cultures and traditions co-exist, you would think it should be easier for those who feel on the outside to find acceptance, but the reality is much more complicated. Sidra and Janes’ stories illustrate how personal contentment also first needs to come from within, and I loved how their experiences mirrored and played off each other as they both reached to gain a deeper understanding. It’s touching and heartbreaking at the same time–a lot like the tone of the first novel.Furthermore, even though the original crew of the Wayfarer do not return, I think readers will be equally charmed by the wonderful personalities of Sidra and Jane. Admittedly, there wasn’t as much to see or take in as the first book, and we followed only a few characters rather than an ensemble cast, but to tell the truth, Closed and Common worked better for me. Granted, The Long Way was arguably more about the character relationships than the overarching plot, but I had wanted more in terms of story and conflict. This sequel gave me a lot more of both, in addition to being more focused and coherent. In my opinion it’s also more cleverly written because of the connections and shared themes in the two narratives, leading to more reflection and feeling.If you’re looking for feel-good science fiction, look no further than Wayfarers. Even though A Closed and Common Orbit is a standalone, I’d still strongly recommend reading The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet first. This will, after all, be a universe you’ll want to visit again and again, and it only makes sense to begin with the phenomenon that started it all. I can’t wait to see what Chambers has in store for the future of this series.
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  • Apatt
    January 1, 1970
    “What was the difference between strung-together neurons and a simple bundle of if/then code, if the outward actions were the same? Could you say for certain that there wasn’t a tiny mind in that bot, looking back at the world like a beetle might?”There are quite a few existential questions in A Closed and Common Orbit, the second book of Becky Chambers’ Wayfarers series, which hit the ground running with the award winning The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet. I read “Angry Planet” in Septembe “What was the difference between strung-together neurons and a simple bundle of if/then code, if the outward actions were the same? Could you say for certain that there wasn’t a tiny mind in that bot, looking back at the world like a beetle might?”There are quite a few existential questions in A Closed and Common Orbit, the second book of Becky Chambers’ Wayfarers series, which hit the ground running with the award winning The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet. I read “Angry Planet” in September 2016, now it is only about nine months later and I have forgotten much of the details and characters’ names! This is not to say that book is forgettable it just a demonstration of my sieve-like memory. Certainly I remember liking it very much, otherwise, I would not have read this second volume.Actually, you can read and enjoy A Closed and Common Orbit even if you have not read the preceding volume. Two books in and this is beginning to look like an open ended series, with a self-contained story arc for each book; more akin to the Vorkosigan Saga than Lord of the Rings or The Night's Dawn Trilogy. While the series is a space opera it is (so far) not an epic, the storylines of both books concern a limited number of central characters who are not trying to save the universe from an all consuming evil. The Wayfarers series also looks like it will have different protagonists for each installment. In fact, the Wayfarers spaceship does not appear at all in this second book (it is mentioned occasionally); which makes the name of the series a bit odd, but perhaps that will make sense down the line.image purloined from The Guardian's review.The two main characters were introduced in The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet in supporting capacity. The first is Lovelace/Sidra, an AI from the previous book who had a kind of hard reset at the end of that, so she is now a new entity, the second is Jane/Pepper, a mechanic who was a peripheral character in the previous book, she is also a clone. Lovelace was originally the Wayfarers’ resident AI software, serving and protecting the crew, after her hard reset* she decides to leave the Wayfarers crew in a human-like artificial body and move in with Pepper at a planet called Port Coriol, she changes her name to Sidra, as Lovelace is the software package’s name. As for Pepper, about half of the narrative is a flashback to her childhood as Jane (a Jane among other Janes), on an unnamed planet where she was created to work alongside other clones in a factory, sorting and recycling scraps. The Sidra side of the narrative concerns her adaptation into a life as a mobile sentient entity. Basically what we do on a daily basis, and it is much harder than it seems. As a ship AI she has cameras all over the ship, flying off into space with a crew inside her. As Sidra, her perspective is radically different, she is limited her eyes field of vision. The social mores of the multi-species Galactic Commons takes getting used to, the “honesty protocol” programmed into her greatly adds to her difficulties. Soon she begins to develop an existential crisis, feeling alienated, not fitting in anywhere, fumbling around without any defined purpose. The Lovelace software was designed for controlling a spaceship and now she is not installed in a ship; what is she to do with her life? This then is her journey of self-discovery.In the present day storyline Pepper is living a contented life and is taking care of Sidra. However, her backstory depicts a very hard life of slavery, prior to escaping from the factory she had no idea there is anything beyond the factory walls and no conception of sky, stars, or planets. After an accident at the factory she escapes, was chased by starving dogs and fortunately runs into “Owl” an AI housed in a small space shuttle. Owl immediately decides to take care of her and she lives with Owl inside the little spaceship for eight years; subsisting on old rations and dog meat. Owl educates her over the years and she is eventually able to repair the ship and leave the planet. Her dream of living a better life with Owl crumbles when they become separated after landing at their destination.The theme of what makes us human is not uncommon in sci-fi, however, I have seldom seen it explored in such depth as in this book. As an AI Sidra is designed for a specific function, as a faux-human, she is no longer able to perform this function and has to grapple with the concept of finding a purpose in life rather than having such a purpose hardwired into her and getting on with it. Another salient theme is friendship and love, how they transcend age, species and time. The maternal relationship between Owl and Jane (as Pepper was called during her formative years) is touching and manages to resonate even though the mother is a piece of software. The dual timelines of the narrative are meticulously constructed by Becky Chambers; I admire the way they start off as two very distinct scenarios and smoothly move toward each other to eventually form a very satisfying denouement. There is no cliff hanger to frustrate the reader, yet the charm of the Wayfarer universe means that I will certainly come back for more. A Closed and Common Orbit is by no means perfect, Sidra’s exploration of the minutiae of daily life becomes a little mundane and dull to begin with, only when her existential crisis kicks in that I began to appreciate what Ms. Chambers is trying to do with this plot strand. The Jane backstory is engrossing from start to finish. In spite of the safety of Owl’s ship life on that planet is very dangerous as Jane cannot spend her entire time in there, she needs to forage for food and water, the wild dogs want her for dinner and she needs them for dinner; meanwhile the ship is deteriorating and they need to get off that planet before the ship breaks down beyond repair. A Closed and Common Orbit is more of a character study than a sci-fi adventure (though the adventure side is quite lively when the narrative switches into that mode). In some ways, it reminds me of Station Eleven even though the plotlines are not in the least similar. Personally, I much prefer this book to Station Eleven, which is a good novel but not really a good sci-fi novel. The sci-fi element in Station Eleven feels rather like a prop whereas "Orbit" is unabashedly sci-fi, stuffed to the gills with aliens and high tech. Without the sci-fi component, the story would not make any sense. There is some hard science there that is convincingly written, the computer science is particularly well applied, with all the coding, the hacking, the modifications, and the disadvantage of an artificial brain in term of data storage (fixed capacity) compared to our more flexible cerebellum. The narrative of A Closed and Common Orbit is so compelling because it has such a big heart and I felt invested in the characters. A character study in a space opera setting is unusual and something to be treasured† and I am looking forward to seeing what she will do for the next volume.Notes:* Read The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet to see why she was hard reset.• Station Eleven is not too shabby, but as sci-fi nerd, I cannot help but focus on the sci-fi side of it.† I don't want all space opera to be done this way, there is a ton of fun and thrills to be had from the likes of Alastair Reynolds and Peter F. Hamilton, but I am glad Becky chambers is doing it her way.• If you want to quickly refresh your memory of who the characters from The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet are you can refer to the Wayfarers Wiki fan site.Quotes: “She pulled up the repository of technically- true responses she and Pepper had prepared together.”“I have a fixed limit on hard memory. I was designed to have constant Linking access at all times. I wasn’t meant to store everything.”“So… you can copy your code, and edit that. But you can’t edit the code inside your own core.”
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  • Auntie Terror
    January 1, 1970
    What would happen if you gave an AI a body? This is the question which basically is at the heart of this book when deceased Lovey's new installation Lovelace is downloaded into the artificial body once supposed to hold Lovey's consciousness and taken to Port Coriol by Pepper. In this case, the AI, now an illegal entity, isn't happy and excited about it. Sidra, as she now calls herself, is frightened, insecure, and even angry because she was ripped out of what she felt was her place. At first, sh What would happen if you gave an AI a body? This is the question which basically is at the heart of this book when deceased Lovey's new installation Lovelace is downloaded into the artificial body once supposed to hold Lovey's consciousness and taken to Port Coriol by Pepper. In this case, the AI, now an illegal entity, isn't happy and excited about it. Sidra, as she now calls herself, is frightened, insecure, and even angry because she was ripped out of what she felt was her place. At first, she is sure she'll never fit in - and falls into something very closely resembling puberty. But then she makes her first very own friend, and finds out that there are others who also weren't meant for the life they lead.Like Pepper and Blue, both genetically edited: one to work in factories sorting and repairing discarded thecnical devices until they vanish, raised first by unfeeling robot "mothers", then by Owl, a spaceship's AI, with whom she flees this harrible planet; the other designed to become part of the same planet's elite but perfect enough for his speech impediment.There are many crucial moments in this book that one day humankind might have to face in daily life, such as: Do you really have to feel cheated when an AI clearly passing the Turing Test befriends you but hasn't "come out" to you about what they are right away? If you gene-tweak a population, are they then your product to do with as you please? And can you be allowed to sell and buy AIs at all?Other than in many books dealing with the "uncanny valley" and AIs passing the Turing Test, Chambers allows to let the reader see multiple perspectives on theh topic: not only that of the AI's "caretakers" who are quite prepared to accept it as a person, not only that of the unknowing outsider who has to sort their feelings out once they are let in on the secret and find whether they can deal with it - but also from the point of view of the AI who never asked for any of this and has to deal with it anyway, or be deleted. Sidra's struggle with who she is is so very "human" that the reader cannot but feel with her.Of course, the reader also feels with Pepper who is basically one of Huxley's ananymous work forces who never get a word in within Brave New World, one the underdogs of her home world. And she also is a Robinson Crusoe, stranded in a world of junk and aggressive dogs, building herself a float to leave her island and see the stars. The difference being, her Friday is inbuilt into her float. It is amazing to see how this sad little runaway grows into the tough, outgoing techy the reader sees taking care of Sidra - all thanks to being raised by an AI herself who didn't even have a body. Pepper's pain in loosing Owl because others fail to recognise her as a person and thus discard her as tech-trash is real, as real as the crew's grief upon Lovey's death. In the end, Sidra manages to find her place in Port Coriol, together with Owl who is reunited with her adoptive daughter Pepper - who never gave up looking for her.I find that I can't explain the thoughtful magic of this book properly. It has to be read and engulf the reader on its own.
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  • Lee
    January 1, 1970
    Hmmmmm. I really don't know how to write this review, because I really don't know how I feel about it. Was it what I expected? No. Was the story developed how I would have hoped? No. Where the characters developed? Yes. Did I enjoy it? *Slight pause.. Yes.Ok, so if you have read other reviews, you will know this book is broken into 2 stories. Pepper as Jayne 26 and her early years and Pepper and Lovelace the AI and body kit from the first book. The young Jayne story was good, I enjoyed reading a Hmmmmm. I really don't know how to write this review, because I really don't know how I feel about it. Was it what I expected? No. Was the story developed how I would have hoped? No. Where the characters developed? Yes. Did I enjoy it? *Slight pause.. Yes.Ok, so if you have read other reviews, you will know this book is broken into 2 stories. Pepper as Jayne 26 and her early years and Pepper and Lovelace the AI and body kit from the first book. The young Jayne story was good, I enjoyed reading about her life on the scrapheap planet, her adventures and her development under Owl. It was written well and thoroughly enjoyable.The second half of the story, yeah, not so much. The best I can say about it, was that it filled space. I was expecting the story to revolve around Peppers business, high tech stuff and interesting customers and all that. But it was pretty much half a book on the difficulty of being AI and hiding the fact. A few parties, mixing it up with different species and the ongoing issue of an AI being 'stuck' in a body because humans think that that is what AI's would want. Does show how pretentious we are though.I am giving it three stars. Because it is definitely not a four star for me and the last 20% when the two stories meet drags it from 3 to 3.5.So over all it was......nice. But I wanted more. I am however, looking forward to Wayfarers 3.
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  • Evelina | AvalinahsBooks
    January 1, 1970
    I have this complicated relationship with sequels somehow. I don't know why it's always like this. I mean, I'm not saying that all sequels are bad. Of course not! I'm not even saying this one is. But I was just kind of hoping it would be better.(If the images don’t load, read this post here on my blog)That is to say, it's still a solid three stars. But after A Long Way To A Small, Angry Planet, I just… don't know what I expected. I mean, I knew I wouldn't really be reading another book abou I have this complicated relationship with sequels somehow. I don't know why it's always like this. I mean, I'm not saying that all sequels are bad. Of course not! I'm not even saying this one is. But I was just kind of hoping it would be better.(If the images don’t load, read this post here on my blog)That is to say, it's still a solid three stars. But after A Long Way To A Small, Angry Planet, I just… don't know what I expected. I mean, I knew I wouldn't really be reading another book about the wonderful crew of the Wayfarer that just runs away with your entire heart and soul. No, those hopes have been crushed ever since I heard about this one properly coming out (I mean, upon finding out that it's not about the Wayfarer), but… you know. One stupidly keeps hoping. Viewed as a standalone, this is not a bad book at all. We get to hear about the new Lovelace (Sidra, I love that name, by the way) and how her life is turning out. The struggles she goes through being something she wasn't meant to be. and all her soul-searching. Another great thing is hearing about Pepper’s childhood! Sidra and Pepper's stories are told separately and eventually brought together, and the ending is just adorable! But. I still could not grasp the spark. There were a few things I wasn't too happy about, and since I'm such a nerd, I'll just give you a list.First: where are all the species?If you remember the first book... It was plain swarming with Aandrisks, Aeluons, Sianat pairs and all the like. This one? Mostly humans. We have one Aeluon secondary character. A few cameos by the other people. Honestly, Sianat pairs are not even mentioned once throughout the book (I retain my right to have missed it! Although I doubt it.) ...Where is everyone? Second: I didn't love the characters.The charm of the first book mostly lay in the characters. In this one though? I can't say I really loved any of them. Sidra, the main character, seemed cold and offhand, at times just childish. Maybe she was meant to come across like that because she's an AI, and one fresh out of the box? But neither Owl nor Lovey ever was like that, although they're also AI. I also felt Pepper's character to be sort of flat. She was annoyed with someone for half the book. I know she's had it tough. But she didn't appear quite like that in the first book.Third: plot =/= spark?I will admit that this book had actually more plot than A Long Way! But even so, it just.. didn't do it for me. It's still a three stars for sure, but it just sort of passed me by. Comparing it to the blazing trail the first book left, like a comet passing through, this one would just qualify as a blink and a whimper. All in all, I don't regret reading it, and I will probably read the third one, as I hear it's coming up. But I know I won't read quite another book like A Long Way anytime soon. Some masterpieces are impossible to repeat.Read Post On My Blog | My Bookstagram | Bookish Twitter
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  • Trish
    January 1, 1970
    4.5 stars, but it's such a charming story about love and friendship and creating one's own destiny that I rounded upThis second volume of the Wayfarers series takes place immediately after the events of the first: Lovey is gone, Lovelace wiped her memory banks (no ill intent, just a protocol everyone hoped wouldn't get triggered) and because it is too sad and painful for Jenks, she left the ship with Pepper, who still has the illegal body kit.This book, then, is about how Lovelace (naming hersel 4.5 stars, but it's such a charming story about love and friendship and creating one's own destiny that I rounded upThis second volume of the Wayfarers series takes place immediately after the events of the first: Lovey is gone, Lovelace wiped her memory banks (no ill intent, just a protocol everyone hoped wouldn't get triggered) and because it is too sad and painful for Jenks, she left the ship with Pepper, who still has the illegal body kit.This book, then, is about how Lovelace (naming herself Sidra) tries to come to terms with the limitations of a body, no longer having her designed purpose, learning about life, people and everything, ... basically, it's a coming-of-age story but with an AI (teaching us what it is to be human in the process). But there is a second level to this: the story of Pepper, who started life as Jane #23 (a clone in a factory where she served as a work slave) and how she ended up in her repair shop.I'll admit that after knowing the story wouldn't move forward in this per se, I was a bit reluctant. Add to that that my audio version also had a different narrator (which makes sense, but I liked the first one so much). Nevertheless, considering the quality of the first volume and the fact that this is nominated for no less than a HUGO, I wanted to read it.In general, there were less quote-worthy parts in this than in the first. Less grave ones too, despite the revelations about where Pepper and Blue come from. After all, the scope is much smaller here. And while many events in Pepper's past were less than pleasant, there wasn't that much at stake since we already knew where she'd end up. Thus, this (like the first) was fluffy in its execution, which is nothing bad, not in the least (it's refreshing even, because most SF nowadays is dark and dystopian-like), while also being a bit less thrilling than the first. However, the quality of this book was wonderful again, with the characters all being distinct and realistic, the dialogues natural, real development for all, a great way of bringing the two story threads together, and the world-building was detailed and therefore working fantastically.Thus, my doubts were unfounded, the author certainly delivered. Although I still have to say that this was not as enjoyable as the first. Not quite. Maybe I was just missing Kizzy and Dr. Chef too much. *lol* There was just nothing too much out there, everything was more ... toned down. I don't need great explosions and stuff and this author is impeccable at making characters carry the story (time flew by while reading this), but there is characters and then there is CHARACTERS. ;)I'll leave you with a few quotes that touched me:"I don't require participation in order to be enjoying myself. Company and interesting input, That's all I need.""You should talk to a real person when you can, but it's okay to make yourself feel better with imagination, too.""Just because someone goes away doesn't mean you stop loving them.""Possessing knowledge and performing an action are two entirely different processes."It was a mean way to keep someone from running, tied up with an extra layer of "we really don't care, go ahead, starve out there, you're totally replaceable"."Life is terrifying. None of us have a rule book. None of us know what we're doing here. So, the easiest way to stare reality in the face and not utterly lose your shit is to believe that you have control over it."
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  • ✨ jamieson ✨
    January 1, 1970
    “She felt as though she could reach out to that little girl and pull her through the years. Look, she’d say. Look who you’re gonna be. Look where you’re gonna go." I read The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet late last year and absolutely loved everything about it. It's truly one of the most joyous and beautiful books I've ever read, and I loved the cast so much. A Closed and Common Orbit is a companion novel, and I was a little war about it because it features different characters and a differ “She felt as though she could reach out to that little girl and pull her through the years. Look, she’d say. Look who you’re gonna be. Look where you’re gonna go." I read The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet late last year and absolutely loved everything about it. It's truly one of the most joyous and beautiful books I've ever read, and I loved the cast so much. A Closed and Common Orbit is a companion novel, and I was a little war about it because it features different characters and a different setting. I wasn't sure if I would enjoy the AI elements of it and the main character. Turns out I had nothing to worry about. I loved A Closed and Common Orbit so much as well (by ssuccubitch on tumblr)A Closed and Common Orbit follows Lovelace 2.0 (who renames herself Sidra) and Pepper as they navigate Sidra's new body kit and role in the world. It flips between Sidra's perspective in current time, and Peppers as a child. I worry about alternate chapters because I always tend to like one of the perspectives more then the other. With A Closed and Common Orbit it was actually pretty close! I think I did like Peppers chapters just a tiny shade more, but I really enjoyed both Pepper and Sidra's chapters and was invested in both the current and past time periods. My favourite thing about these books is definitely the world. The galaxy that these people live in is the kind of one I want to live in too. I love the different kinds of aliens that populate this series, and the diversity of people racially and sexually. This world is my happy place, it's impossible not to read about these characters filled up with so many hopes and dreams, with stars in their eyes and purpose in their heart and not feel some kind of intense moving joy.the characters are incredibly real and complex. They feel like tangible people, and even though I haven't struggled with what some of them have done personally, the human concerns and worries that underpin their problems make their characters realistic. The characters, and these books in general, very much explore the human condition and how characters exist in their spaces and I personally really enjoy those themes. Thematically this book held up for me much more then the first. While I adored what the first book did, I liked the issues and discussion around personhood that A Closed and Common Orbit Explored. The only reason I rate this lower then The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet is because I personally didn't like the characters as much and I missed some of the aspects of the first book that I loved - like the space travel and varying species. But, I do think this book is more exciting and fast paced then the first, and there is a greater emotional depth to the characters relationships so that counteracted what I missed from the first book. This is definitely a very strong sequel that stands up on it's own “Life is terrifying. None of us have a rule book. None of us know what we're doing here. So, the easiest way to stare reality in the face and not utterly lose your shit is to believe that you have control over it. " A Closed and Common Orbit picks up right where The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet left off and carries on the threads that were already established in the first book. This is true joyous sci-fi, with relatable characters who struggle everyday, but also try so hard to do their best and develop and grow in positive ways. Reading these is such a calming experience, and makes me feel happy and hopeful which I absolutely love. Another 4.5 stars to Becky Chambers, she's a true genius and I love her so much for these books. Cannot wait for Record of a Spaceborn Few in 2018!
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  • Helene Jeppesen
    January 1, 1970
    It was fun to be back in this unique, humorous sci-fi world that Becky Chambers has created with her first novel "The Small Way to a Long Angry Planet". Like many other people, I loved that first novel and was intrigued to dive into this companion one. It has to be said, though, that "A Closed and Common Orbit" is very different in both its plot as well as its tone of voice. To start with, it is more serious and doesn't have as much humour in it as we get in the first book. Also, it doesn't deal It was fun to be back in this unique, humorous sci-fi world that Becky Chambers has created with her first novel "The Small Way to a Long Angry Planet". Like many other people, I loved that first novel and was intrigued to dive into this companion one. It has to be said, though, that "A Closed and Common Orbit" is very different in both its plot as well as its tone of voice. To start with, it is more serious and doesn't have as much humour in it as we get in the first book. Also, it doesn't deal with a variety of characters as we mainly focus on two characters and their two POVs. I still liked this book and was very much engrossed in especially Jane's life (without spoiling anything). Jane was innocent and so interesting to follow in her observations as she grows up. She was endearing and identifiable, and I couldn't help but love her and the dramatic changes that she goes through. I did feel, though, that the novel as a whole lost me somewhere halfway when I felt like things were dragging a bit too much; maybe because I was missing more characters and more activity on that front. It also didn't helt that I wasn't particularly interested to read about Sidra (which means half of the book!). BUT all in all, this was still a great read because Becky Chambers has created a unique story which still has an important focus on how different we all are and how we should still be able to accept each other - no matter the species. I liked it, and I will never forget that Chambers was the author who REALLY got me into sci-fi.
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  • Emma
    January 1, 1970
    Feel good fiction at its best. I enjoy the world she has created and the characters too.
  • Jenny (Reading Envy)
    January 1, 1970
    I think I liked this stand-alone followup to The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet even more than the first. The cast is much smaller, but because of this the reader is let in much more closely to a few unique lives - the AI formerly known as Lovey as she adjusts to living within a bodily form, and a small child named Jane who repairs scrap for robots. There are many comments about humanity and identity, destruction of natural environments, autonomy, and friendship.
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  • K.J. Charles
    January 1, 1970
    Good grief this made me cry. Huge snotty sobs of happy-crying, the kind where people ask you what's wrong and you sob out "Nothing, everything's just so perfect!" between howls. This series is just...I need a better word than "nice", but it is. People are kind. People form families. People are understanding, and if they don't understand they try. It's inclusive and open-hearted and generous. Not soft and soppy, not Pollyanna--Jane's backstory is terrifying and dreadful in what it says--but hopef Good grief this made me cry. Huge snotty sobs of happy-crying, the kind where people ask you what's wrong and you sob out "Nothing, everything's just so perfect!" between howls. This series is just...I need a better word than "nice", but it is. People are kind. People form families. People are understanding, and if they don't understand they try. It's inclusive and open-hearted and generous. Not soft and soppy, not Pollyanna--Jane's backstory is terrifying and dreadful in what it says--but hopeful that we can do better by and for one another. That's what it is, it's hopeful. This is SFF that looks at stars and doesn't add wars. All the points for diverse rep, including humans of all hues, and an alien of a species that changes gender on a monthly basis whose pronouns go from his to xyr to her and back again without any fuss at all. Also, funny, highly readable, well constructed and hugely engaging. I just feel better for reading these books, or I will do once I've stopped crying.
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  • April (Aprilius Maximus)
    January 1, 1970
    At first I wasn't sold because first third of the book was pretty slow and honestly didn't live up to the first book (which is the greatest book ever written, let's be real), but oh man I grew so attached to these characters and I loved how the two stories finally merged together and it was just a beautiful story :')
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  • Lindsay
    January 1, 1970
    Lovelace, the AI of the spaceship Wayfarer, has left the ship to inhabit a highly illegal "body kit". In the company of Pepper and Blue, side characters from The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet, she has come to Port Coriol. She left because her purpose had been to protect the crew and look after the ship, but she now has neither and she's a bit lost.The book progresses through interweaving chapters with the ongoing story of Sidra (Lovelace's new name) and the story of Jane (Pepper's original n Lovelace, the AI of the spaceship Wayfarer, has left the ship to inhabit a highly illegal "body kit". In the company of Pepper and Blue, side characters from The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet, she has come to Port Coriol. She left because her purpose had been to protect the crew and look after the ship, but she now has neither and she's a bit lost.The book progresses through interweaving chapters with the ongoing story of Sidra (Lovelace's new name) and the story of Jane (Pepper's original name) from years ago as they both break free from their previous lives. Jane was originally Jane 23, one of a cohort of bio-engineered clones bred as slave labor. Her story is absolutely harrowing, but where she finds the help she needs has a wonderful tie-in with Sidra's story.This book, like the previous one, is very much about family. What it means, what you will do for it, how it supports you and how it can provide meaning in an otherwise purposeless existence. Meaning and purpose are a recurring theme throughout this, with both Jane/Pepper and Lovelace/Sidra having been through the experience of having their purpose decided by others and then having to reclaim that and deciding for themselves.This wasn't as much fun as the first book; it didn't have the everything-and-the-kitchen-sink feel of the that one. However, this is very much the superior book in terms of craft and story. The interweaving storylines are a wonderful way to tell this story with both the past and present plotlines providing contrast and crashing thematic echoes. One of my criticisms of the first book was the weak through-plot, which is just not an issue with this book. When one plotline seems to get caught in a static spot, the other one relentlessly pushes on, and this switches a couple of times in the book. There's at once a sense of existential ennui that the characters are struggling with, and at the same time, solid progress towards the end of the characters' stories.A really good book from a writer who's just getting better.
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  • William
    January 1, 1970
    So full of heart and love and a deep understanding of what it means to be human, and to become human. Ms. Chambers is a joy. Her writing expresses what we feel inside, the hidden truths, the mystery. The Long Way... is also so full of heart and joy and friendship, and A Closed and Common Orbit carries this forward.This is a tale of the very young Jane who becomes Pepper, and Lovelace who becomes Sidra. Their stories are interwoven, and in many ways reflect each other across time and space. They So full of heart and love and a deep understanding of what it means to be human, and to become human. Ms. Chambers is a joy. Her writing expresses what we feel inside, the hidden truths, the mystery. The Long Way... is also so full of heart and joy and friendship, and A Closed and Common Orbit carries this forward.This is a tale of the very young Jane who becomes Pepper, and Lovelace who becomes Sidra. Their stories are interwoven, and in many ways reflect each other across time and space. They are struggling to survive and grow and learn to love.The young Jane faces almost insurmountable difficulties in becoming Pepper, and in becoming Pepper and Blue together.The AI Lovelace is given a gift of love by Pepper, a chance to become a truly independent person, and to grow out of "programming" and into freedom. The pace is slow and thoughtful at first, and then more intense in the past and the present of the book, in parallel. And as the pace increases, so do the thoughts of what it means to be human, and the responsibilities we take on when we begin to love.Some might see this as a lovely little space opera, but the author gently encourages us to feel the realities of our lives; it is far more than a little space opera.In A Closed and Common Orbit, we see the common orbit of hearts growing towards each other. Wonderful.Notes:4.0% "Holy crap this is WRONG. "Already, Sidra preferred Coriol’s dark side. It was a curious astronomical phenomenon –a planet tidally locked with its sun, a moon tidally locked with its planet, each with a day and night that never shifted across their respective surfaces."" 54.0% "Very different from "Long Way..." but very good. Really enjoying it a lot" 79.0% "Wonderful. Better and better each page. "Life is terrifying. None of us have a rule book. None of us know what we’re doing here. So, the easiest way to stare reality in the face and not utterly lose your shit is to believe that you have control over it."
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  • Kai
    January 1, 1970
    “Life is terrifying. None of us have a rule book. None of us know what we're doing here.”2.5/5 StarsI'm a huge fan of Wayfarers #1. It wasn't perfect but overall it was wonderful. I knew from experience that, going into Wayfarers #2, it wouldn't be the most exciting story ever. I'm afraid to say that it was downright boring, though.I don't want to be mean or hurtful. I know that Becky Chamber's fans love this world she created, and so do I! The creativity behind all this is mindblowing. The work “Life is terrifying. None of us have a rule book. None of us know what we're doing here.”2.5/5 StarsI'm a huge fan of Wayfarers #1. It wasn't perfect but overall it was wonderful. I knew from experience that, going into Wayfarers #2, it wouldn't be the most exciting story ever. I'm afraid to say that it was downright boring, though.I don't want to be mean or hurtful. I know that Becky Chamber's fans love this world she created, and so do I! The creativity behind all this is mindblowing. The work and devotion that was put into these books is clear to see. But I still struggled with this second installment. For several reasons.This books is divided into two timelines, two characters. I connected with Jane, but not with Sidra. I even disliked Sidra sometimes. Jane's story was an exciting, frightening and emotional one. Sidra's was anything but. Worst of all however, Jane's story was cut short. Several important plot and character developements were completely left out, never to be elaborated any further. Or, you know, at all. (view spoiler)[For example: How did Pepper and Blue come to their names? How did they fall in love? What exactly happend on their journey, after they left their planet? So many details just got lost. (hide spoiler)]For me there was so much more potential in Jane's story than in Sidra's. And while we're at it, let's talk about potential: this world she created is so vast, and so big and I wish she had focused on more than the four "main characters". That's what I loved about The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet: it was so rich of detail and diversity, the cast was big and they all had their own stories and their history. This book seemed a little grey in comparison.Towards the end, everything suddenly moved too fast. The plot was rushed, forced into the last few chapters and solved even quicker than that. The book left me with feelings of disconnect and dissatisfaction. And while I initially wanted to give three stars, I might have to take yet another star away. The cover promised such a beautiful story, but it was an empty promise.Find more of my books on Instagram
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  • Joanne Harris
    January 1, 1970
    For once, I bought this one myself, rather than picking it up from a pile of requests for blurbs and reviews. I loved the previous one in the series, and I wanted to see how the author had managed to follow up on her initial success. I have to say I'm seriously in love with the way in which Becky Chambers manages to weave themes of inclusivity and diversity into her sci-fi, along with representations of mental illness, body dysmorphia, depression, gender fluidity and so on - all with the most de For once, I bought this one myself, rather than picking it up from a pile of requests for blurbs and reviews. I loved the previous one in the series, and I wanted to see how the author had managed to follow up on her initial success. I have to say I'm seriously in love with the way in which Becky Chambers manages to weave themes of inclusivity and diversity into her sci-fi, along with representations of mental illness, body dysmorphia, depression, gender fluidity and so on - all with the most delicate touch, and in a way that feeds directly into the plot, rather than appearing pasted-in for the sake of political correctness. This is the real deal emotionally: the characters are well-rounded, original and relatable, and the underlying ideas are compassionate and true. It's also a cracking story, well-paced and compelling, with more than enough action to satisfy, but with a nice, grown-up element of personal and emotional growth, too. I'm wholly on board with this terrific, mature and original series - and I'll be pre-ordering the next one as soon as I can...
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  • Brierly
    January 1, 1970
    Orbit is the companion novel to The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet. Towards the end of Planet, Lovelace and Pepper leave the main crew to start a new adventure. This adventure is significant because Lovelace was previously an airship AI who sustained significant damage and now resides in an illegal body kit, passing as a human. From there, Orbit weaves identity narratives of these two individuals: Lovelace/Sidra and Pepper/Jane 23.Like Planet, Orbit is a character study, exploring identity an Orbit is the companion novel to The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet. Towards the end of Planet, Lovelace and Pepper leave the main crew to start a new adventure. This adventure is significant because Lovelace was previously an airship AI who sustained significant damage and now resides in an illegal body kit, passing as a human. From there, Orbit weaves identity narratives of these two individuals: Lovelace/Sidra and Pepper/Jane 23.Like Planet, Orbit is a character study, exploring identity and humanity through the ethics of AI and cloning. But unlike the former, this novel functions on smaller scale. Chambers is building for extended universe, and when I first started the second novel, I did briefly wonder if it would be better as a short story. Orbit lacks the adventure of Planet; however, by the time I finished, I had a stronger emotional affect. I actually cried with this one. It was understated, beautiful, etc.I would recommend reading both novels in publication order, because Chambers lays out her universe in greater detail in Planet. I will refine this review at a later date—I’m dealing with a fractured thumb. Bless you, dictation.
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  • Tasmin
    January 1, 1970
    Hach <3Ich glaube ich bin ein bisschen geblendet von meiner Liebe für Becky Chambers Geschichten. Weil wenn ich ehrlich bin, ist in dem Buch nicht viel passiert. ABER ICH LIEBE ES TROTZDEM.
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