The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet

Wayfarers - Book #1


Honestly, I picked this up a few weeks ago because the cover looked cool. Later, I learned it was nominated for a Hugo, so I actually started reading it.

The Long Way to a Small, Angry, Planet is a sci-fi novel. I kind of think of it as Firefly meets Star Trek, in that Star Trek had some crazy aliens, but Firefly had the small crew dynamic. The plot revolves around the Wayfarer, a tunneler ship, being sent on a mission to the aggressive Toremi homeworld. Along the way, a new crew member, Rosemary, becomes part of the new family. We are introduced to the entire misfit crew in rapid fire: Lovey the AI, Ashby the captain, Sissix the pilot, Corbin the scientist, Kizzy the engineer, Jenks another engineer, Dr Chef the... chef, and Ohan the navigator. One by one, we learn their backstories, sometimes through Rosemary's eyes, sometimes through other eyes.

One thing I really appreciated about this novel is the variety of life. These aren't humanoid aliens like on Star Trek, nor do they necessarily harbor any humanoid tendencies. Chambers did a wonderful job of thinking up cultures and motivations for these alien races that, while identifiable by humans, are also wildly different and unique. I thoroughly enjoyed the world-building here.

This novel is far and away about the characters. The plot is just a convenient vehicle to introduce us to these fascinating characters and to add a little tension and drama. That doesn't take away from the story at all. There were certain scenes where I was on the verge of tears, empathizing greatly with the tragedy that befalls one of the crew toward the end of the story.

If you're a Star Trek fan, you'll enjoy this, for sure.