last posted Sept. 17, 2017, 7:33 p.m.
30 earlier thoughts
- The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet and A Closed and Common Orbit by Becky Chambers.
- The first was a re-read, prompted by the second in the series now being out. I enjoyed the first one, as I did the first time I read it. Same-sex relationships just normal and happening and not being either remarked on or a plot point! Descriptions of delicious-sounding alien-but-very-plausible food! (I did a websearch to see if anyone had come up with a recipe for smoky buns — sadly not, since they sound amazing.)
- The second was... OK. A lot of it was written from the perspective of a 10-year-old, and that has to be done really really well if it’s going to work for me. This didn’t, quite. There was also a pretty jaw-dropping exchange which went basically: “Person A: [speciesist remark] / Person B: That’s a bit speciesist. / Person A: It’s OK, we’re in the Human carriage! / [all laugh]” (and these were characters who we’re supposed to like) (the “Human carriage” part is iffy in itself — the idea is that the carriages on a train are segregated because different species have different physical needs for their seats, but [a] what are you supposed to do if you’re travelling with someone of a different species — just split up? what if the other person is a child?, [b] part of the explanation is that one species travels on little carts instead of walking but hello we already have a solution for making public transport accessible both to people who travel in their own seating and people who need it to be provided and [c] just a couple of chapters later there’s a tattoo parlour with a seat that’s explicitly described as adapting itself to different species).
- Actually very little of this second one works for me. The conflicts feel forced, and most of the explanations of how things work seem implausible. Lovelace is essentially a perpetual-motion machine. The non-human species apparently have one culture and one language each. Consent is a key virtue of the galactic cultures, yet when one character is on a dancefloor and fondled unexpectedly by a stranger who approaches them from behind, their being freaked out by this is treated as something shameful that needs to be concealed by pretending that the freakout was caused by them having taken drugs. I am disappoint! Because I did like the first one.
31 later thoughts