The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet Read Along, Wk 2

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.

the-long-way-to-a-small-angry-planet-read-alongI’m reading The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet by Becky Chambers and participating in this Read Along for Sci-Fi Month. The Read Along is hosted by Over the Effing Rainbow. sci-fi-month-badge

This week we’re taking a look at “Port Coriol” to “Cricket.” And Chris over at Galleywampus is asking the questions.

Spoilers below!

There has been significant conversation about AI, what it means to be alive, whether or not AI should have rights, whether or not a person can fall in love with a specific instance of AI, etc. This is a bit of a sticky situation. After the discussion between Pepper and Jenks, how do you feel about Lovey’s and Jenks’ relationship? Should they move forward with their plan?

I think this will be a problem for Lovey and Jenks. Lovey has never had a body so that is going to be very strange plus it’s illegal so they will have to hide her. Another problem could be the mechanics of the body, the tech. It may not work as it’s supposed to. It could fail and Lovey could die. Also the tech selling the body may blackmail them. All sorts of things can go wrong.

There is also the idea which has been written about in science fiction for years: what happens when an Artificial Intelligence is smarter than humans and thinks they can make better decisions than humans. Especially if they’re tired of being treated as slaves or second-class citizens.

In the chapter “Intro to Harmagian Colonial History,” we see Dr. Chef’s perspective of having been a mother, though he is currently male, and Sissix’s perspective that children aren’t people yet. Ohan is referred to as they/them. The Akarak are referred to as xyr/xe. These perspectives and preferences are perspectives actually held by different groups of humans in our own world. Do you think assigning these perspectives to aliens rather than humans make them easier or harder to sympathize with?

I think it’s easier to sympathize with alien perspectives. We expect aliens to be different and maybe strange, but we usually expect humans to follow our rules and morality.

How might the ship robbery have been different if the Wayfarer were armed?

People would probably have died. If Wayfarer had weapons she would have fired on the other ship when it first appeared. If the crew of Wayfarer had weapons with them ready to fire there might have been a shoot-out with people from both sides getting injured or killed. Considering the crew had never encountered pirates before they would probably have hesitated to fire their weapons, but the pirates wouldn’t have hesitated.

If Rosemary hadn’t been able to speak to the pirates some of the crew probably would have died and would have starved or run out of fuel if the pirates had stolen everything.

As I finished the fourth chapter in my section, “Cricket,” I thought it might be a good place to stop and talk about some of our favorite humorous moments so far. What scenes really tickled your funny bone? Who makes you laugh the most and why?

These are two of the scenes I thought were funny. I think most of the funny moments for me are when the different species try to understand each other.

The different species trying to understand the food of others:

I thought it was some sort of spicy potato.”

“I have never understood potatoes,” Sissix said. “The whole point of a potato is to cover it with salt so you don’t notice how bland it is. Why not just get a salt lick and skip the potato?’

“Don’t ask me,” Ashby said, standing up. “Potatoes are a grounder thing.”

 

When Sissix is moulting and irritated and angry about everything:

“Do you ever get tired of Humans?”

“On occasion. . . .”

“I’m definitely tired of them today.” Sissix said, laying her head back. I’m tired of their inability to smell anything. I’m tired of how clingy they get around kids that don’t even belong to them. I’m tired of how neurotic they are about being naked. I want to smack every single one of them around until they realize how needlessly complicated they make their families and their social lives and their—their everything.”

Dr Chef nodded. “You love them and you understand them, but sometimes you wish they—and me and Ohan, too, I’m sure—could be more like ordinary people.”

“Exactly.” She sighed. . . . But today . . . I don’t know. It feels like having a mess of younger hatchmates who won’t stop playing with your toys. They’re not breaking anything and you know they’re only trying to please you, but they’re so little and annoying, and you want them all to fall down a well. Temporarily.”

I’m looking forward to what everyone else thought about these questions!

The Christmas Joy Ride by Melody Carlson

the-christmas-joy-ride-by-melody-carlsonThe Christmas Joy Ride by Melody Carlson
Series: None
Genre: Christmas Fiction (Inspirational)
Setting: On the road between Chicago and Arizona
Published by Revell
Format: e-Arc (Release Date: Sep 1, 2015)
–I received a review copy of this book from the Publisher in exchange for an honest review. The opinions stated here are entirely my own.
176 pages
Grade: B
Synopsis: Miranda did not put adventure on her Christmas list, but thanks to her eighty-five-year-old neighbor Joy, that’s exactly what she’s getting this year. When Joy tells Miranda that she plans to drive an old RV decked out in Christmas decorations from their Chicago neighborhood to her new retirement digs in Phoenix–in the dead of winter, no less–the much younger Miranda insists that Joy cannot make such a trip by herself. Besides, a crazy trip with Joy would be more interesting than another Christmas home alone. Unemployed and facing foreclosure, Miranda feels she has nothing to lose by packing a bag and heading off to Route 66. But Joy has a hidden agenda for their Christmas joyride–and a hidden problem that could derail the whole venture.

No one captures the heartwarming fun of the Christmas season quite like Melody Carlson. Fasten your seat belt, because it’s going to be an exciting ride!

Initial impressions

  • Lots of Christmas cheer! A feel-good book.

Cheers

  • I chose the book totally based on the cover. I thought it looked like a fun Christmas book and it was. I love the cover!
  • I didn’t realize it was an inspirational (Christian fiction), but though God and Jesus are talked about I didn’t think it was too much. After all, the book is about Christmas!
  • This is a road trip book which is always fun. And Joy has planned her trip stops to spread her Christmas joy to people who need help.
  • The author is good at creating unique situations and characters. I like that Joy who is 85 years old has a blog! And that Miranda who is Joy’s neighbor helps her with the blog. Joy has a motor home she plans to drive from Chicago to Arizona! Not many 85 year olds would plan a trip like that. Miranda steps in and insists on going with her to help.
  • I like that Joy doesn’t spend time feeling sorry for herself–her husband died, she had to sell the home she shared with her husband, she’s going to Arizona where her sons live to live in an assisted living facility. Instead she thinks about others and spreads Christmas joy wherever she goes.
  • Miranda is in worse trouble than Joy since she’s losing her home after her husband left her. She has little money and no job. But she’s willing to put her problems behind her to help Joy with her trip. (And it helps Miranda think about something besides her problems.)
  • There’s a bit of romance in the book.

Jeers

  • All the people Joy picks to visit based on a contest on her blog are truly in need of help. There are no scams. I don’t think that’s realistic. However, the book is set at Christmas so it’s nice for that to happen.

And a few thoughts . . .

  • This was a quick read and a nice book for Christmas. A good reminder to think about others and not so much about ourselves.
  • I’m reviewing the book during the Ho-Ho-Ho Read-a-Thon for people looking for a Christmas book to read.

Have you read this book? How did you like it?

Author info

–about Melody Carlson
  • “My husband Chris and I live in a cabin-style home next to the National Forest in the beautiful Cascade Mountain area of the Pacific Northwest. Our two grown sons and granddaughter live nearby and we try to see them as often as we can. We also have two “re-homed” pets to make life more interesting–our yellow Labrador retriever Audrey and a Maine coon cat named Harry.”

Reading Challenges

  • 2015 Goodreads Challenge
  • New Author Challenge–hosted by the Literary Escapism blog
  • Ultimate Reading Challenge–hosted by the Popsugar blog (a book set during Christmas)
  • Ho-Ho-Ho Read-a-Thon–hosted by Kimba @ Caffeinated Book Reviewer and Jennifer @ The Book Shelfery–a Christmas book review for people to enjoy during the Read-a-Thon.