RogerBW's Blog

To Be Taught, If Fortunate, Becky Chambers 18 April 2022

2019 science fiction novella. Four interstellar explorers discover wonders.

And to say much more than that would be to spoil this rather fine character-driven short work: these are slower-than-light explorers, who hibernate not only for the long haul from Earth but between the planets in the system they're exploring, and have their bodies lightly remade to minimise the amount of life support equipment they'll need and impact they'll have on the worlds they visit.

This is not an adventure story, though there are some moments of peril and some fateful decisions; it's much more like watching a group of (real) scientists at work. But there's also a pervasive attitude that these are explorers, not colonists, that they're here for the knowledge not the exploitable resources; and, isolated from Earth by a 14-year signal lag, they must make their own microcommunity, and if that isn't exactly what Earth now wants, well, too bad.

It is thoroughly inconclusive, and I found that unfortunate; I like resolution in stories, even if as here posing the question may be considered rather more important than answering it. But in spite of that, something that usually puts me off a work, I very much enjoyed it. If you've read other Chambers, this is probably closest to Record of a Spaceborn Few in that not a whole lot actually happens, but the things that do happen are of great importance to the people they happen to.

What is space, to you? Is it a playground? A quarry? A flagpole? A classroom? A temple? Who do you believe should go, and for what purpose? Or should we go at all?

[Buy this at Amazon] and help support the blog.

Comments on this post are now closed. If you have particular grounds for adding a late comment, comment on a more recent post quoting the URL of this one.

Search
Archive
Tags 1920s 1930s 1940s 1950s 1960s 1970s 1980s 1990s 2000s 2010s 3d printing action aeronautics aikakirja anecdote animation anime army astronomy audio audio tech aviation base commerce battletech beer boardgaming book of the week bookmonth chain of command children chris chronicle church of no redeeming virtues cold war comedy computing contemporary cornish smuggler cosmic encounter coup covid-19 crime cycling dead of winter doctor who documentary drama driving drone ecchi economics espionage essen 2015 essen 2016 essen 2017 essen 2018 essen 2019 essen 2022 existential risk falklands war fandom fanfic fantasy feminism film firefly first world war flash point flight simulation food garmin drive gazebo genesys geocaching geodata gin gkp gurps gurps 101 gus harpoon historical history horror hugo 2014 hugo 2015 hugo 2016 hugo 2017 hugo 2018 hugo 2019 hugo 2020 hugo 2022 hugo-nebula reread in brief avoid instrumented life javascript julian simpson julie enfield kickstarter kotlin learn to play leaving earth linux liquor lovecraftiana lua mecha men with beards museum music mystery naval noir non-fiction one for the brow opera parody paul temple perl perl weekly challenge photography podcast politics postscript powers prediction privacy project woolsack pyracantha python quantum rail raku ranting raspberry pi reading reading boardgames social real life restaurant reviews romance rpg a day rpgs ruby rust science fiction scythe second world war security shipwreck simutrans smartphone south atlantic war squaddies stationery steampunk stuarts suburbia superheroes suspense television the resistance the weekly challenge thirsty meeples thriller tin soldier torg toys trailers travel type 26 type 31 type 45 vietnam war war wargaming weather wives and sweethearts writing about writing x-wing young adult
Special All book reviews, All film reviews
Produced by aikakirja v0.1