Book Review: The Galaxy, and the Ground Within - Becky Chambers


Book cover with a starscape.

When a freak technological failure halts traffic to and from the planet Gora, three strangers are thrown together unexpectedly, with seemingly nothing to do but wait.
Under the care of Ouloo, an enterprising alien, and Tupo, her occasionally helpful child, the trio are compelled to confront where they've been, where they might go, and what they might be to one another.

And so we come to the end of the remarkable Wayfarers series. It is a lovely conclusion - full of alien weirdness and bizarre practices. It is a bit of a "bottle episode". A bunch of random strangers find themselves stranded together - and have to make their own entertainment with no outside help.

It's a great book - but does have a small flaw; nothing happens. I was expecting there to be a unifying event. Perhaps a murder to solve, or a puzzle to work through, or an alien menace to fight against. Instead, it is a small and personal novel about trying to conquer inner-demons rather than outside peril. Towards the end there is an "event" - but it feels a little late.

It is a gorgeous wander through alien cultures, and a fitting end to the series.


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