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The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet

Wayfarers, Book 1
Narrated by: Patricia Rodriguez
Series: Wayfarers, Book 1
Length: 15 hrs and 41 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (1,219 ratings)

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Summary

Shortlisted for the Arthur C. Clarke Award 2016.

Longlisted for the Baileys Women's Prize for Fiction, 2016.

Firefly meets Mass Effect in this thrilling self-published debut!

When Rosemary Harper joins the crew of the Wayfarer, she isn't expecting much. The Wayfarer, a patched-up ship that's seen better days, offers her everything she could possibly want: a small, quiet spot to call home for a while, adventure in far-off corners of the galaxy, and distance from her troubled past.

But Rosemary gets more than she bargained for with the Wayfarer. The crew is a mishmash of species and personalities, from Sissix, the friendly reptillian pilot, to Kizzy and Jenks, the constantly sparring engineers who keep the ship running. Life onboard is chaotic but more or less peaceful - exactly what Rosemary wants.

Until the crew are offered the job of a lifetime: the chance to build a hyperspace tunnel to a distant planet. They'll earn enough money to live comfortably for years...if they survive the long trip through war-torn interstellar space without endangering any of the fragile alliances that keep the galaxy peaceful. But Rosemary isn't the only person onboard with secrets to hide, and the crew will soon discover that space may be vast, but spaceships are very small indeed.

©2014 Becky Chambers (P)2015 Hodder & Stoughton

Critic reviews

"A joyous, optimistic space opera.... Although it isn't shy about tackling Big Questions, Planet is a heart-warming debut novel that will restore your faith in science fiction (specifically) and humanity (in general)." (Tor.com)
"One of the most enjoyable, brilliantly realised spacey SF novels I've read in ages." (James Smythe, author of The Echo)

What members say

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for young adults

Any additional comments?

This book is warm, earnest and full of wise moral advice. Its a book for young people or people young at heart. All about how externals are not important only what you feel on the inside. Its a lovely story, (I am a huge Firefly fan) and sometimes I wanted to join the crew but being 56 I would get bored with all the dope smoking and tattooing and hair braiding. Its about finding yourself. I am over half way through and think I might need to skip some bits as its wandering all over the place. Its more of a social documentary than a story. Nobody seems to go to the toilet, (the Star trek problem), they all eat bugs and drink coffee and tea. I keep expecting Louis Theroux to pop in to see how its going. I hope the next novel has more bones inside the meat.

30 of 33 people found this review helpful

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Ernest and joyful

A young adult novel, full of good advice and admirable characters struggling to define themselves - a little prurient, but there isn't much ambiguity, this prevents you from loving the characters the way you'd like to. It ends a little too abruptly also, there are good ideas that aren't fully developed. I bet it was as fun to write as it was to read. Wonderful narration.

12 of 13 people found this review helpful

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Well intentioned but uninvolving

Strange one this, good world building, stereotypical but likable characters, reads like a young-adult novel but with interspecies love, drug use, ladies loving ladies , swearing etc... A bit like the expanse novels, or a Star Trek spin off, (political intrigue meets crew politics, meet human looking aliens or 'rubber suit' aliens... Eg six hands) but without the peril, action or tension. It's difficult to recommend unless you are a open minded late teen who doesn't want space battles and shoot outs... and who needs to learn that different people / races / should be tolerated not feared... Mid western types I suppose. Will not be reading follow ups I'm afraid, not my bag, it's all a little too 'lovey'.
The narration is annoyingly upbeat, as if meant for a 9 year old.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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Entertaining

I'm a great fan of Firefly and heard that this novel contained some of that humour and energy, and to a certain extent it does.

But I found it lacking in actual plot. It raced along, ticking hundreds of PC boxes on the way, overt nods to inclusion, gender politics, all well and good, but, I felt anyway, it was at the expense of a compelling story.

It was entertaining and I would recommend a listen, but it wasn't quite the space opera I had been led to believe.

This reads like a first novel and I hope the next in the series builds on the promise of the first.

I would certainly recommend it, maybe my expectations were too high.

14 of 16 people found this review helpful

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Great book

I loved the book very well written and narrated. I was looking for something just like the firefly series and this is it.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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An epic space road trip, for firefly fans

loved it. easy to pick up and follow, great characters and plot. can't wait for becky's next book.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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I enjoyed this very much

what a charming little book focusing mainly on the relationships between different alien species in a far reaching galaxy.

this book depicts a mish mash of unusual friends and builds great character / reader emotion.

You have the feel of Star Trek crossed with the Enid Blyton.

weird, but true. and a great read

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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Lovely story, pleasantly different sci-fi

A lovely well-imagined universe. It took me a while to get used to the narrator and she seems to stress the wrong part of some sentences (as if she was not reading ahead and planning when to take a breath).

The story is great and focuses much more on interpersonal relationships than most sci-fi. The cultures, both alien and human, are well developed and believable - I would love to see a sequel to explore some parts in more depth.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Very engaging tale, well read.

Great story with likeable characters, enjoyable storyline and believable details. Nicely brought to life by the reader too.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Virtually plotless. Intensely boring.

I'm a third of the way through and literally the only thing that has happened is that someone has bought a bar of soap. Really, really tedious so far unfortunately.

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 28-07-17

Can't say enough good things about this

Many reviewers have commented that this book seems to be plotless. I disagree. Though yes, it certainly focuses more on the characters and their relationships rather than the traditional plot, it still has a beginning, middle and end and is incredible. I never wanted to press the pause button. The performance was great as well, and I was at first glad to see she reads the next book, a closed and common orbit. I just pray audible gets the rites to sell it in Canada, because I very much want to read it and would rather not read the IBook. I fact I don't think I will.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • Ben
  • 04-03-17

Good little sci-fi book, more about relationships

Good little sci-fi book that deals more with the relationships between people (and species) than with space battles or even space travel. While yes, it all happens in space and is about space travel, it was a really interesting look into how a crew of very mixed characters would get along and make it through challenges together. The narrator for this book was also a major factor of me rating it this high. She did the human voices exactly as I'd imagine them and the alien ones were funny and strange, just like sci-fi should be. One good thing about the book was it made me compare the situations in the plot to the real world I live in, which is what good sci-fi should do. There were a lot of easily-identifiable situations, relationships and choices. But there were also things that, when you read deeper, were great insights into life. Lots of things I could see related to Trump, or to the racial struggles around the world, to politics and economics. All in all a good listen, kept me entertained and even had me thinking at times!

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • Carry Crets
  • 22-06-17

loved it

I read this book a while ago and used the audiobook to refresh my mind before digging into the second one. I love it the first read through and I think I now live it even more.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • SilasFinch
  • 14-08-15

Best Sci Fi I have read in Ages

Where does The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

This is everything I hope for in a sci fi book. Bizarrely I would call this a cross between Firefly, Mass Effect (as noted by the publishers) and Sophie's World. Big questions and speculative science interlaced with great characters and humour. I have read countless sci fi and this ranks in my Top Ten for characterisation and philosophy

Who was your favorite character and why?

That is really hard to decide - the whole novel is structured around getting pretty equal insights into each of the characters and you become attached to each in different ways. If pushed I would say 'Doctor- Chief'

What about Patricia Rodriguez’s performance did you like?

She did an excellent job with all the different acents and candience. Moving easily between sexes, races and species.

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

Nothing particularly extreme but being along with The Wayfarer was just so much fun. The fate of The Navigator was especially touching.

Any additional comments?

Thank you so much to the people who crowd funded this novel - well worth it. This WON'T appeal to Hard Science fans (Peter Hamilton etc) but a safe fun bet for everyone else.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • JCRW
  • 18-10-17

An amazing breath of fresh air - sci-fi @ its best

Who should buy this book:
If you like Firefly buy this!
If you like Arthur C Clarke, buy this,
If you like Kim Stanley Robinson buy this.
If you are sick of reading Sci-fi books geared towards 14 year boys who want to read about soldiers in big bad space ships going pew pew pew all the time and flexing their male organs then you will love this.

Who should not buy this book:
If you are a 14 year old boy(or one trapped in the body of a man) that wants to read about space soldiers in big bad ships flexing their male organs while going pew pew pew, then you probably should skip this one and buy Columbus Day instead

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Ashwin Kulothungun
  • 11-12-16

Beautiful!

The first audiobook I never wanted to pause. Non-operatic storytelling, a real universe, excellent narration.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Malcolm Wilson
  • 04-10-16

Just lovely

The book is excellent, wonderfully modern sci-fi set in an engaging and well-constructed new universe. The characters are memorable and lively.

The performance is also fantastic, and I will absolutely be seeking out more of Patricia Rodriguez's work. Her narration is excellent, and she does a great job making the character voices distinct and recognizable.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 13-09-19

very enjoyable, many good ideas

It took a little while for me to get into it but then I thoroughly enjoyed it. It's not too geeky on the tech but the future the author describes is well thought through and makes good sense. I particularly enjoyed the theme of inter cultural/inter species communication / interaction as well as the way the author looks at us humans and our peculiar ways through the eyes of other species. This book was entertaining, sometimes funny, sometimes moving and often thought provoking.

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  • Jim O'Neill
  • 10-04-19

A beautiful story

Very well worth the credit. A lovely story about a crew of people traveling through space and the relationships they form while having adventures. The genre needs more stories like this.

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  • marcus
  • 08-02-19

compassionate space drama

This book is great. It's as if the crew of Firefly was multi-species instead of just human and lived in something like the Star Trek universe but populated by aliens as diverse and creatively done as those in Star Wars.

The aliens here are portrayed well. Each species is distinct and not just a human analog. The world comparison to the Star Trek universe is only in the broadest most general sense; this book definitely does it's own thing as far as showing new ideas on what a galactic alliance of intelligent species might look like. For starters, humans are not the dominant species, which was interesting and refreshing.

The characters are very enjoyable and well developed. I haven't liked a group of characters this much in awhile. The writer really does a good job at bringing out their identities and struggles and the dynamics of the crew that the story follows.

Since the focus is more on the characters and their journeys instead of any overall struggle or universe shattering plot some may find the book slow but I found the writing was so fun and there were so many interesting ideas and spending time with this crew was so enjoyable that the lack of a "save the galaxy" story was in no way a loss. I am very much looking forward to the sequel and seeing where the writer takes things next.