I have hardly read books in the sci-fi genre, except for a few Asimov books which I read a long long time ago and don’t quite remember if I enjoyed it. I picked this up based on recommendations from a few booktubers I follow and this book was absolute perfection.
This is a story which kind of combines everything I could ever wish for from a sci-fi novel. It’s set way in the future where humans no longer live on Earth and the story follows the crew of the Wayfarer, a tunnelling ship that creates intergalactic wormholes. The crew is a mix of humans and different alien races which are fleshed out incredibly well. Each of the species that you encounter in this book are highly diverse with their own quirks, behaviour, languages and culture. They vary in their sexual preferences, beliefs, gender, deformities, ideals and so much more. This book deals with issues relevant in today’s world, but at a cosmic level. It handles the taboo of interspecies love, love between a human and an AI with incredible deftness. It’s got some really wonderful and thought provoking dialogue. The complexity of the story and the characters are handled so well, I was completely absorbed in it.
Overall, the plot is so much more than just a settling-in-story. The dangers of a long haul mission, the grit and endurance of the crew are all described so well. We see the relationships and governments of this fictional society which feels so thought-out, it could be real. Questions of morality, sexuality, equality and other issues are seamlessly weaved into the story.
While the book has so much to offer, it never gets overwhelming. And I can’t fathom how Becky Chambers actually managed to do that within this 400 page novel. This book would definitely appeal to even non sci-fi readers, for all the reasons mentioned above (it worked for me and I am not huge on sci-fi). Avid sci-fi readers would definitely enjoy it as its the top of its game. I definitely intend to pick up her companion novel to this, A Closed and Common Orbit sometime in the near future.