Review | The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet


The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet - Becky Chambers - 2015 - Hodder and Stoughton

*Reading Copy kindly provided by the Publishers for Review*

"'I cannot pretend the war never happened, but I stopped fighting it long ago. I did not start that war. It should never have been mine to fight.' He sank down so that he could look Rosemary square in the eye. 'We cannot blame ourselves for the wars our parents start. Sometimes the very best thing we can do is walk away.'"

The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet is a masterful blend of sci - fi and literary fiction. It centers around a rag tag cast of characters that make up the crew aboard a ship as they complete their tasks of punching wormholes through space for intergalactic travel between worlds.

The sheer scope of the worlds created by Chambers was incredible. Our main focus is the crew of the Wayfarer but through their journey together, as their personal stories are unfolded we get glimpses into this enormous expanse of worlds full of diverse cultures, religions and moral values. Chambers does a beautiful job of painting each different species as diverse within itself, just as humans are, as opposed to the planets of hive minded beings often found in sci-fi. The depth of imagination that Chambers has is incredibly impressive and it was a delight to find out about each different planet and it's inhabitants.

The individual characters are the standout point for me. The Wayfarer's crew are all incredibly rich, interesting people, and come together to make a unit that is as much a family as it is a crew. They may butt heads and disagree, some of them straight up dislike each other but reading about the ways in which they share each others lives and look after one another is actually quite beautiful. The side characters are also incredibly fun and I want to throw this book at all sci-fi and fantasy writers who recycle the same character tropes for women over and over again because Chambers creates a multitude of complex female characters seen constantly throughout the novel and I fucking love it.

Ultimately, although this is without doubt a sci - fi book, it is so much deeper than your average pulpy action packed space mission. This book is, at it's core, about what it means to be alive. What it means to be a person and how a group, whether it's the crew of one pokey little space ship or the entire Galactic Commons, can come together as a family or break apart into chaos.

I feel like if you loved The Martian by Andy Weir, I feel like this is a natural next step. Sci - Fi written in a witty and unpretentious style but incredibly memorable and full of depth. This was my first five star review for 2016 and it's going to take something very special to meet the standard this has set. 

Thank you for reading! 



  1. I just finished reading this too. It's set the standard for space-travel science fiction for me, and I'm so glad I'll (eventually) get to spend more time with these characters when the sequel comes out. One of the best books I've read this year so far. Great review!

    1. Tell me about it! I'm so excited to see where the crew goes next. I would happily follow a much longer series about these guys I love them so much.


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