| Week 3 |
Welcome back to the Sci-Fi Month Read Along of The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet by Becky Chambers, organised by Lisa at Over the Effing Rainbow. Hurrah! I’ve almost caught up! I finished reading this section late last night so there wasn’t much time to write a post… but a day out isn’t so bad! Here’s the schedule:
Week 1 (Friday, November 6th):
“Transit” to “Port Coriol” – hosted by Over The Effing Rainbow
Week 2 (Friday, November 13th):
“Port Coriol” to “The Last War” – hosted by Chris @ Galleywampus
Week 3 (Friday, November 20th):
“The Last War” to “Heresy” – hosted by Claire Rousseau
Week 4 (Friday, November 27th):
“Heresy” to the end – hosted by Over The Effing Rainbow
| The Questions |
| 1. |
There is a lot of focus on some of the different alien races in this section, from Dr Chef recounting the story of his people’s decline and Sissix introducing Rosemary to her families, to the surprise visit from the Aeluons and the much less welcome search by the Quelin. What are your thoughts on the various beliefs systems we encounter? Does anything specific pique your interest more than the rest?
As I’ve said before, I absolutely love all the different alien races; they bring such vibrancy to the storyline and a cultural backdrop which lends weight and depth to the universe Chambers has created. This is a novel which is driven by its characters and the character developments within this section made for an enjoyable read and showcased what ‘family’ really means to each of them.
Dr Chef is such a lovely character and displays a great deal of strength and morality through his tale of his people’s past and the inevitable extinction they face, and the choices this has consequently led him to make. He has chosen to be something other than what was expected of him and become someone who can do good and help people who are not lost in hopeless war. However, he brings such comfort to those on board the Wayfarer that I can’t help but feel sad for the demise of his people.
Sissix is still one of my favourite characters and I absolutely love the detail Becky Chambers has put into the Aandrisk culture. The Aandrisk are completely open with their emotions and their interactions with one other, and their concept of family is completely different to that which we know that it all makes for fascinating reading. The Aandrisk are so completely different to humanity and so uninhibited that they make humans look stuffy and prudish by comparison!
Getting to know more alien races is always an interesting, if not always good, thing – The Aeluons are an intriguing race who appear on one hand to be fragile and beautiful and on the other silent and deadly. I already think Pei is a fantastic character and shows herself to be more than just the sterotype of an Aeluon, and her crew also seem to prove that she’s not just a one off. But the Quelin… oh dear, they’re not very likeable are they? Poor Corbin.
| 2. |
Ashby gets the chance to give Pei a tour of his ship and introduce her to his crew, meanwhile Jenks and Lovey decide not to risk transferring the AI into a body just yet, and Rosemary initiates a relationship of sorts with Sissix. Were you happy to see any of these developments, or not so fussed?
I loved all these developments and thought they contributed well to the storyline. It was great to see more Aeluons and how they interact with both their own species and others, and it was also good to see Pei as worried for Ashby’s wellbeing after the run in with the Akarak pirates as he constantly is for her. Kizzy also had the opportunity to show off her impressive skills to quite literally defuse the situation.
The Jenks and Lovey storyline has developed in a very sweet way after Lovey admitted that she had been lying when she said her desire for a body was for herself; she had wanted it to please him. Jenks also tells Lovey that he doesn’t think having a body is worth the risk of losing her altogether. This interaction was lovely but it also highlighted the great unfairness with which intelligent AIs are denied a body. When compared to some of the other violent and dangerous alien races, how is an AI within a body any more of a risk?
I also love the developments with Rosemary and Sissix. Rosemary has found herself running away from her family and their reputation on Mars (and throughout the Universe!) and has found a new family on the Wayfarer. This corresponds with what Sissix tells us about the Aandrisk beliefs about what family really is and her Feather Family aboard ship. Their relationship is written well and is something both the characters seem to need at this point in the storyline. It’ll be interesting to see where it goes!
| 3. |
Cloning technology exists and is used in many sci-fi universes, but the GC does not look kindly on it and it is abomination to the Quelin. Did the reveal of Corbin’s nature change your view of the character?
In some ways it does yes. He is still an insufferable and mean character but the section where he speaks to his father really shows how his upbringing has contributed to this. Even if I don’t particularly like him, I understand him a lot better now. I felt very sorry for him both for the way he was treated by the Quelin and by the expectations his father had for him. As always, we are our own worst enemies and poor Corbin is a perfect example of this. His father, knowing Corbin was essentially himself, probably expected far more from him than he would have expected from his natural child had it survived.
| 4. |
Each chapter told a different and fairly self-contained story, without any big cliffhangers from one to the next. How did you feel about the pacing of the story so far? Are you satisfied with how long the long journey is taking or are you impatient for the crew to finally get to their destination and do some tunnelling?
I think it’s really the character development that drives the plot of this novel and I’m perfectly happy with the pacing and the form in which it takes. It’s through the characters that we learn about the universe and all the alien races it contains and it is mostly through the clash of these races that the conflict within the storyline is found. I think I would be happy reading about their long journey every week even if it took a whole Earth year to get there!