Review: RECORD OF A SPACEBORN FEW by Becky Chambers

Publisher: Harper Voyager
Page Count: 358
Release Date: July 24th, 2018
Series: WAYFARERS, Book 3
Rating: 4/5 Stars – Really Liked It

Centuries ago, the Exodus Fleet left a dying Earth in search of a new place to live. The fleet was meant to sustain human life over the many generations it would take to find new planets and establish colonies for the last remnants of humanity. But even after making contact with other aliens, integrating into intergalactic society, and establishing both human and mixed-species colonies, many humans still live aboard the Exodus Fleet. Dozens of ships still congregate in a space-faring community, carrying on the traditions of their ancestors. But are these citizens preserving an important way of life, or are they stuck in a past they need to let go of?

If you are looking for a completely chill, slice-of-life sci-fi tale, please pick up RECORD OF A SPACEBORN FEW at your earliest convenience. This is not a high stakes adventure. This is a look at “ordinary,” every day life in circumstances both very different and very similar to our own. The setting may have changed (giant space station) but some of the aged old problems have not (“Is this the best place to raise my kids?”). While a couple terrible things happen over the course of the book, they are small blips on the radar; you won’t find a giant thrilling climax, but simple sudden realizations from characters as they decide what’s best for their lives. I enjoyed it for that immensely, but this kind of story may not be for everyone.

The narrative is told from the point of view of about a half-dozen people, some of whom have stories that intersect, while others will never meet. Each is wrestling with their own conflicted feelings about their future. Kip is a teenager who wants to leave the Fleet and find a better, more exciting life planetside. Tessa’s daughter young daughter Aya is terrified of space life after watching a ship depressurize a few years earlier, and Tessa doesn’t know how to help work through those feelings. Isabel is an archivist hosting an alien researcher who is curious about human life in the Fleet. All those characters and more are going about their lives, mostly dealing with domestic dramas.

It should be noted that while this is technically the third book in a series, it’s largely a standalone story, with minimum reference to the other books. If this story sounds like something that would appeal to you, but you don’t want to commit to a series, you can likely dip in, read this, and bounce. But I do highly recommend all three currently released books in the WAYFARERS series, and have high hopes for the fourth and final entry coming in 2021.

RECORD OF A SPACEBORN FEW is a fascinating walk in the lives of others. It’s a very human tale that also examines how history and tradition can both ground a culture, and potentially hold it back if they don’t examine why traditions were created and if they’re still relevant. It’s also about the more personal struggle people have of being stuck in a rut, continuing to stay where they are because it’s familiar, even if it’s not ideal. If this kind of tale appeals to you, RECORD OF A SPACEBORN FEW is absolutely worth the read.

10 thoughts on “Review: RECORD OF A SPACEBORN FEW by Becky Chambers

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  1. Yaaaaaassssss! This is one of my favorites of hers in a sea of amazing Becky Chambers’ books that’s saying something LOL. It’s just so…….lovely the way she allows us a window into humanity in the vastness of space. And I think there’s a lot she is bringing up about preserving culture, but also at the expense of what? She always gives me so much to think about.

    Liked by 1 person

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