Lovelace was once merely a ship's artificial intelligence. When she wakes up in a new body following a total system shutdown and reboot, she has to start over in a synthetic body, in a world where her kind are illegal. She's never felt so alone. But she's not alone, not really.
Pepper, one of the engineers who risked life and limb to reinstall Lovelace, is determined to help her adjust to her new world. Because Pepper knows a thing or two about starting over.
Together Pepper and Lovey will discover that, huge as the galaxy may be, it's anything but empty. The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet introduced listeners to the incredible imagination of Becky Chambers and has been nominated for any number of awards and accolades, including the Baileys Prize for Women's Fiction, the Tiptree Award, the Kitschies Golden Tentacle and the Arthur C. Clarke Award.
A Closed and Common Orbit is the stand-alone sequel to The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet and is perfect for fans of Firefly, Joss Whedon, Mass Effect and Star Wars.
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Wonderful story wonderfully read!
- Dario Persechino
A Closed and Common Review
The themes, characters, and narrative style were all wonderfully drawn together. Becky Chambers continues to create the kind of science fiction I wish I was reading all the time. The tone, depth, and complexities of the worlds and societies she has built, coupled with a crisp, clear breath of optimism and hope make this a perfect read for these dark days.
I loved Sidra.
What I particularly enjoyed was the fact that she discovers her personhood through platonic relationships, through found family, and friendships. So often, in stories of robots or AIs where they are perceived as female it ends with them engaging in a sexual relationship with a - usually male - human. That was not the case here. Sidra develops close familial and platonic bonds with humans and aliens and through their shared experiences and love for one another, she grows. She gets to know her own personhood through her love and friendship, and it is not tied to sex, and perhaps it's my ace side making me biased, but I really thought that was a stroke of genius.
It was a stellar performance (pun intended), though the moments where an online style text conversation is described tended to be a little tedious as the narrator had to read out every single identifying line, every single timestamp, and so on. Other than that, it was great.
Ideas like personhood are nothing new to the science fiction genre, and having an AI be the catalyst for such discussions and explorations are fairly common. But where Chambers takes a relatively lesser trod path is that much of the perspective on this is from that very AI, and how she navigates questions like 'am I a person?' Which feels very different to people asking 'is that a person?' in the more abstract. To make this a very personal journey, to put our eyes in that of a computer, does make the reader much more likely to empathise and to connect.
- J. Cornah