THE LONG WAY TO A SMALL, ANGRY PLANET

PrintE-mail Written by Fred McNamara

Stories that span entire galaxies, cross-reference multiple civilisations, and do a bit of general world-building on a J.R.R. Tolkien scale rarely have such a homely, compact atmosphere. Becky Chambers’ debut novel does just that. The fact that this novel was initially funded through Kickstarter, where novels are notoriously unsexy, is an appetising enough hint as to how gosh darn lovely this book is.

The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet tells the snapshot, anthology-esque story of Rosemary Harper, who joins the space-tunnelling crew of the Wayfarer as their new admin girl. Hoping to start afresh with her life, her efforts in leaving a troubled past behind become all the more real when the crew bag an immensely dangerous tunnelling job involving faraway worlds, villainous species, and deep secrets that are in fear of running amok within the cramped, battered confines of the Wayfarer.

Reading The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet feels less like taking part in an epic space saga and more like snuggling up with a well-worn diary that has that sensuous, old book smell. Throughout, Chambers commands a gentle, near-perfect sense of pace that favours dipping in and out of Rosemary and the other characters’ exploits than telling a full-blown story. Granted, the basic plot of the Wayfarer crew tunnelling through space in order to reach a seemingly dangerous world anchors the novel, but the joy here is the sweetly compelling nature of the characters, the worlds, and their exploits that Chambers conjures.

The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet is brimming with quiet hooks, a sharp, witty attitude and a waltz-like rhythm that almost never loses interest. Chambers paints a gorgeous tale of personal struggles and companionship, making The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet a novel to warm your very soul.

THE LONG WAY TO A SMALL, ANGRY PLANET / AUTHOR: BECKY CHAMBERS / PUBLISHER: HODDER PAPERBACKS / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW (HARDCOVER), DECEMBER 31ST (PAPERBACK)

 


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