Book Review: Record of a Spaceborn Few (Wayfarers 3) – Becky Chambers

by @edent | # #

A human staring up at the stars.

Hundreds of years ago, the last humans left Earth. After centuries wandering empty space, humanity was welcomed – mostly – by the species that govern the Milky Way, and their generational journey came to an end.
But this is old history. Today, the Exodus Fleet is a living relic, a place many are from but few outsiders have seen. When a disaster rocks this already fragile community, those Exodans who have not yet left for alien cities struggle to find their way in an uncertain future. Among them are a mother, a young apprentice, an alien academic, a caretaker for the dead, a man searching for a place to belong, and an archivist, who ensures no one’s story is forgotten. Each has their own voice, but all seek answers to inescapable questions:
Why remain among the stars when there are habitable worlds within reach? And what is the purpose of a ship that has reached its destination?

More of the same from the exquisite universe created by Becky Chambers. Unlike the previous book, which felt limited in scope, this is a set of interlinking stories from a diverse crew.

We’re born alone, we die alone. While we’re alive, we want to be anywhere other than where we are. We can’t wait to grow up, but we fear growing old. And the only way we can understand our own culture is through the eyes of a stranger.

It’s… Well, it is pretty bleak at times! The novel is tinged with hope – hope for individuals and for humanity. But it is suffused with a depressing longing for change.

I prefer my Sci-Fi to be slightly more expansive. There are some neat concepts here – but nothing particularly exciting. The first book gave such a wonderful array of cultures – so this feels a little pedestrian.

It is, like her previous books, an emotional roller-coaster rather than an action thriller. A good, rather than great, sequel.

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