“From the ground we stand. From our ships we live. By the stars, we hope.”
Record of a Spaceborn Few is the “third” book in the Wayfarers series by Becky Chambers. the long way to a small angry planet was my second favourite read of 2017, and I recently went to a “Conversation with Becky Chambers” at my local Waterstones where I picked up a closed and common orbit (#2) and this one. This one is in hardcover and it’s beautiful and I love it.
“Centuries after the last humans left Earth, the Exodus Fleet is a living relic, a place many are from but few outsiders have seen. Humanity has finally been accepted into the galactic community, but while this has opened doors for many, those who have not yet left for alien cities fear that their carefully cultivated way of life is under threat.
Tessa chose to stay home when her brother Ashby left for the stars, but has to question that decision when her position in the Fleet is threatened.
Kip, a reluctant young apprentice, itches for change but doesn’t know where to find it.
Sawyer, a lost and lonely newcomer, is just looking for a place to belong.
When a disaster rocks this already fragile community, those Exodans who still call the Fleet their home can no longer avoid the inescapable question:
What is the purpose of a ship that has reached its destination?”
blurb from goodreads
Spaceborn Few starts a few standards before angry planet, at the cataclysmic event of one of the Fleet ships being destroyed in an accident. It then jumps a few standards to parallel the end of angry planet, but on the opposite side of space. There are about five or six points of view – Tessa, a woman who has never questioned her place in the Fleet until suddenly she does; Kip, a teenager desperate to get off the Fleet and figure out how he fits into the universe; Eyas, a caretaker of the dead; Isabel, an archivist, with blog posts from her Harmagian visitor – and Sawyer, a grounder looking for a better future in the Fleet. Each of them offer a completely different perspective of life in the Fleet – ordinary everyday life with everyday people.
My particular favourite was Isabel and her relationship with her wife. They were simply great, and I loved turning to a new Isabel chapter. I loved all of the perspectives, and it was fascinating how different people saw the same things in different ways. I confess it took me about a third of the way into the book to get a grasp on the story and really start to feel invested, and this may have been because of the alternative perspectives, but I got hooked and thoroughly enjoyed the story (even the sad bits).
One of the things I love about the Wayfarers series is that they all happen within this speculative spacer future, governed by the Galactic Commons, where humans live alongside other sapiens and alien cultures. But, each book focuses on a completely different aspect of GC life, because space is huge and crazy and there are humans living alongside other species all over the galaxy. Some live on ships (angry planet), some live planetside, in a multicultural society (common orbit) and some live on the original spacecrafts that humans used to flee Earth generations beforehand, known as the Fleet (spaceborn few). It’s a thoughtful series of identity, what it means to be human and what it might look like to other species. In each book we learn more about another species; the Aandrasks in angry planet, the Aeulons in common orbit, and the Harmagrians in this one. The interspersion of these alternative views help to shape how each set of humans live, and what it means to them. It’s absolutely incredible!
If you are interested in a series of hope, belief, friendship, found family ect then I completely recommend Becky Chambers Wayfarers series, because it is just that. The science is accessible enough – but the sci fi is about how different people and cultures co-exist and work together. If you like your sci-fi fast paced with laser guns and rocket chases – you will probably find this incredibly slow. As I love people, I really love this series.