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Record of a Spaceborn Few: Wayfarers 3 by…

Record of a Spaceborn Few: Wayfarers 3 (edition 2019)

by Becky Chambers (Author)

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Title:Record of a Spaceborn Few: Wayfarers 3
Authors:Becky Chambers (Author)
Info:Hodder & Stoughton (2019), 368 pages
Collections:Your library
Tags:science fiction

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Record of a Spaceborn Few by Becky Chambers



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Showing 1-5 of 11 (next | show all)
Chambers' Wayfarers stories are set in the Galactic Commons, a galactic federation of intelligent species, most of them significantly older than the newcomer humans. Each has looked at a different part of life in the Galactic Commons. This one is set in the Exodus Fleet, the fleet carrying the descendants of the last humans to leave Earth, fleeing its environmental collapse.

They're a distinctly different culture from the humans who settled Mars and the outer planets prior to that final collapse. Originally, they were looking for an Earthlike planet to start over on, and they wanted their descendants to be prepared for planetary life. In addition to their quite functional food- and oxygen-producing farms, they have decorative oxygen gardens, theaters that show nature videos of Earth, murals on the walls that, functionally, don't need to be anything but bare metal.

They also guard against the development of the competition and divisions that helped destroy Earth. Everyone has windows onto space in their living quarters. Everyone is guaranteed "if we have food they will eat, if we have air they will breathe, if we have fuel they will fly." Their economic system is barter.

And membership in the Galactic Commons has brought changes, changes that can disrupt this system.

Tessa is a supervisor in salvage operations--managing and sorting what comes in, sending it on to where those materials are most useful, making sure nothing goes to waste. She has two children, a husband with his own ship and work that takes him and that ship out of the fleet for extended periods, and an aging father. Her husband, George, is earning the Galactic credits the Exodan fleet didn't need before joining the Galactic Commons. Her father has failing eyesight and needs an eye replacement that is Galactic tech, not fleet tech--and which will need those credits George is earning.

Those credits, in larger context, may also be about to buy AI technology that will eliminate the job Tessa has been doing for twenty years, and which she loves. If it happens, she'll find other work, and the security of her family won't be threatened, because this is the Fleet, but...it's making her uneasy, and restless.

Isabel is an archivist. This means the obvious keeping and preserving of records, but it also mean being the officiant at weddings, births, and funerals. She has a love of history and knowledge; she corresponds with scholars outside the fleet. One, a Harmargian, a member of a species that was distinctly divided on whether humans should be admitted to the Commons, has come to visit and observe.

Eyas is a caretaker; she prepares the bodies of the deceased for composting and return to the soil that helps the fleet live, and counsels the families of the deceased. It's work she loves, finds meaningful, and always wanted to do. Yet she fells there's a piece missing, something more she could be doing as well.

Sawyer is a young man descended from a family that left the Fleet, to settle on a planet. They moved around, never really staying on one planet, and then an epidemic struck for which Galactic medicine didn't yet have proper treatment for humans. They developed it quickly, but Sawyer was the only survivor. At 24, he's decided to go check out his family's original home, try something new to him. He meets Eyas, who impatiently gives him a little advice about how to start fitting in with the Exodans. And he meets a man who connects with with job salvaging materials from a wrecked ship.

Kip is a teenager feeling restless and dissatisfied. He has no idea what he wants to do, he's not sure he wants to stay in the fleet, and he has a friend with perhaps more intellectual firepower (not that Kip isn't smart), but perhaps not as good judgment or concern for others.

They're all trying to find their way, all being affected by the changes that are coming to the fleet, now that they're part of the Galactic Commons and have been settled, not on planet, but around an otherwise unused star. Their culture is surviving, but also growing and changing. This is a story about how they cope, how they adapt, what they feel and think and do. It's about decent people trying to make the right decisions, for themselves and those they care about, in changing circumstances.

For me, that makes it the best kind of story. Chambers makes these people you can care about, and want good outcomes for.

Highly recommended.

I bought this book. ( )
  LisCarey | Sep 19, 2018 |
Character driven sci fi, exploring a multigenerational fleet of humans after Earth is no longer habitable. What kind of ship and culture will allow humans to thrive in such close quarters? And what happens when they encounter other species and places to live? Is their fleet and culture still relevant? Thoughtful, warm-hearted, and a good read. ( )
  JanetNoRules | Sep 17, 2018 |
I've been looking forward to reading Record of a Spaceborn Few ever since Becky Chambers first revealed that she was working on a follow-up to A Closed and Common Orbit, and I'm happy to report that it doesn't disappoint.

The latest installment of the Wayfarers series focuses on the Exodans, descendants of the humans who originally left Earth to find a less broken home. The Exodans of the present have chosen to stay on their ships in space, in orbit around an alien sun, rather than settle on a planet.

Chambers returns to the structure of A Long Way… with chapters that alternate between various characters, who include an archivist, a cargo worker with a young family, a caretaker of the dead, a new immigrant from the colonies, and a teenage boy, as well as reports from a visiting Harmagian looking to study the Exodans from an anthropological perspective.

I think this structure works really well to offer different perspectives on Exodan life, humans’ place in the universe among other species, life and death, and - a favourite theme of this series - the very nature of humanity itself. I enjoyed all of the characters’ stories, which are sensitively told with plenty of love, some sadness and lots of humour.

I absolutely loved reading this novel, and tore through it in 2 days. I really hope there's another installment on the way, because I can't wait to visit the Wayfarers universe again! ( )
1 vote mooingzelda | Sep 3, 2018 |
Loved it. First class world-building with great characters. Read my full review here http://shinynewbooks.co.uk/record-of-a-spaceborn-few-by-becky-chambers/ ( )
  gaskella | Sep 1, 2018 |
About as absorbing an fast moving as a novel with 6 viewpoints can get. This is an exploration of the changing culture that developed on the generation ships that were the final flight of humans from a devastated earth. 4 of the narrators are local, a grandmother, a mother, a caretaker for the dead, and a teenage boy, one is an alien essentially blogging it's visit, and the third is an immigrant looking for something new. The slight connection to earlier books is Wayfarer Captain's sister Tessa. The characters are interesting and well developed and the conflicts do not seem at all artificial. I wasn't really into the teenage angst bits, but they support the the work in it's entirety. ( )
  quondame | Aug 31, 2018 |
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For Anne, who showed me I could.
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'Mom, can I go see the stars?'
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Book description
Centuries after the last humans left Earth, the Exodus fleet is a living relic, a place many are from but few outsiders have seen. Humanity has finally been accepted into the galactic community, but while this has opened doors for many, those who have not yet left for alien cities fear that their carefully cultivated way of life is under threat.

Tessa chose to say home when the brother Ashby left for the stars, but is forced to question that decision when her position in the Fleet is questioned.

Kip, a reluctant young apprentice, itches for change but doesn't know where to find it.

Sawyer, a lost and lonely newcomer, is just looking for a place to belong.

And when a disaster rocks this already fragile community, those Exodans who still call the Fleet their home cam no longer avoid the inescapable question:

What is the purpose of a ship that has reached its destination?
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A young apprentice, an alien academic, a caretaker for the dead, an archivist, and others wrestle with profound questions after their evacuation ship, carrying the last humans on Earth, finally reaches its destination.

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