Sci-Fi Month 2015 is a month-long event to celebrate science fiction hosted by Rinn Reads and Over the Effing Rainbow. You can view the schedule here, follow the event on Twitter via the official @SciFiMonth Twitter account, or the hashtag #RRSciFiMonth.
I’m reading The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet by Becky Chambers and participating in this Read Along for Sci-Fi Month. It’s hosted by Over the Effing Rainbow. This week we’re taking a look at Part 1 – “Transit” to “The Job.” And Over the Effing Rainbow is asking the questions this week.
Note: if you haven’t read the book, there will be spoilers!
- First things first, we get to meet the central cast – the crew of the Wayfarer. What are your first impressions of this crew? Which members, if any, stand out the most to you and why?
We meet Rosemary in the first few pages though we don’t know who she is…only that she’s in a pod asleep waking now and then when she shouldn’t. So we don’t know whether it’s an escape pod from a ship or what.
We see the rest of the crew through her eyes and figure out Rosemary hasn’t been far from Mars before. Even though several of the people on the people on the ship are human, several aren’t and each of them are from a different species.
- Rosemary Harper–human, from Mars, new clerk for Wayfarer, hiding her true identity, seems to come from a wealthy family and running away from Mars.
- Ashby Santoso–human, Captain of Wayfarer. Wayfarer is his ship. He probably knows Sissix from even before he was Captain. He’s in a relationship with someone. The crew knows, but have never met her because it’s too dangerous for her.
- Artis Corbin–human, the algaeist for the ship “and a complete asshole.” Few social skills. Interested mostly in his algae.
- Lovelace–“Lovey”, Wayfarer’s Artificial Intelligence computer–she seems self-aware.
- Kizzy Shao–mech Tech, human, dresses very colorfully, very enthusiastic. Made curtains for Rosemary’s room.
- Jenks–comp tech, human, but smaller than most humans. Seems in love with Lovey.
- Sissix–an Aandrisk, one of Galactic Common’s three founding species, ship’s pilot, described by Rosemary as “striking.” A head taller than Rosemary, cold-blooded, lithe and lean with moss-green scales from top of her head to tip of her tail, smooth face with just holes for eyes and ears and slit for mouth, feathers cover her head, fingers and toes end with thick, blunt claws.
- Dr Chef–a Grum, ship’s doctor and cook, rotund and fleshy, with balloon-like cheeks, broad split upper lip, Rosemary thinks to herself he looks a little like an otter crossed with a gecko and walks like a six-legged caterpillar. Very few of his species left.
- Ohan–a Sianat Pair, male, but specified as “they.” Navigator, can conceptualize multidimensional space and other species can’t. Their society is built around a neurovirus called the Whisperer. Sianats are infected with the virus as children and then begin thinking of themselves as two individuals. The virus only infects Sianats. It’s as a Sianat Pair they can Navigate multidimensional space.
Dr Chef seems really interesting and I want to know more about him and his people. I like that everyone is very distinct and well described. I look forward to finding out more about them. As I was reading I thought of both Firefly and Star Trek at various times.
- Rosemary gets a rather entertaining physics lesson regarding space tunnelling from Kizzy, upon her first full day as a crew member. What are your thoughts on the science part of the fiction?
I’m not an expert on science and don’t usually require explanations to be completely possible. I appreciated the information because it does explain what the crew is doing when they’re tunnelling. When I first heard that I thought they were mining. However, as I understand it they’re creating black holes which seems pretty risky to do. Even when the other end is anchored and even when they have a Sianat Pair.
- We go into the story aware that Rosemary is hiding something from the rest of the crew, and that she’s gone to great lengths to do so. Any ideas/suspicions/speculation you’d like to share on what her secret might be?
I’m not sure if it’s something Rosemary did or something her family did. Though it doesn’t seem like the rest of her family are running away from it. I wonder if it has something to do with one of the news stories Ashby reads about in a newsfeed he receives. I suspect her problems might become the crews’ problems at some point.
- Ashby scores a huge job – and a huge potential payout – for the Wayfarer, but it means possibly having to get mixed up in a violent civil war. What do you make of what we know so far about the Toremi?
We know the Toremi are very reclusive, seem to fight among themselves, don’t let any non-Toremi into their space–either killing them or expelling them. They were discovered by the Harmagians about 500 standards ago. They live in a ring of territory surrounding the galactic core. But little else is known about them. Except now one of their clan has now been granted GC membership. It sounds like a prescription for trouble. I would guess the galactic core is something everyone wants to know more about and have access to. And that Wayfarer is heading into trouble and probably the civil war.
I like how the author gives us information about humans and how they left Earth and different factions of humanity. It sounds like humanity is lucky to still be alive. Earth is slowly being reclaimed so something can live there again. We don’t find out a great deal about the rest of space outside the Solar System and exactly what and who make up the Galactic Common.
What are all of your thoughts about the book so far?