⭑⭑⭑⭑½ (4.5/5 see book reviews)

Three sentence Short(ish) summary

I’ve opted out of my standard three-sentence book summary as I’ve read many novels with a fraction of the plot of a single chapter of this book.

The book opens on Rosemary Harper, escaping her past to work as a clerk aboard the Wayfarer, a spacer tunneling vessel. Faster than light travel is illegal (seemingly because it’s hard to think about), so to move through the vastness of space, you need wormholes. A tunneling vessel is a ship that punches wormholes through space’s sublayer.

Spacers/Exodans are the portion of humanity that set course for the great unknown after we’d destroyed the planet (and after the rich people bailed to colonize Mars).

Rosemary arrives on a ship peopled with myriad species:

Humans: Ashby Santoso, captain, all-around cool guy; Artis Corbin, irascible algaest – the ship runs on algae; Kizzy and Jenks, best friends and lovable mech techs (the Pippin and Mary to Ashby’s Frodo). Jenks is in love with the ship’s AI, Lovelace, who everyone calls Lovey.

The ship’s pilot’s Sissex – an andrisk woman (a feathered dinosaur species that seems to think humanity is a bunch of squares, an opinion possibly shared by every other species).

The ship’s doctor/chef, who has a name no one is physically able to pronounce since his species, the grum, have five sets of vocal cords. Everyone calls him Dr. Chef (this is endearing).

Finally, the ship’s navigator is a sianat pair – a species with a (possibly) symbiotic relationship with a virus that gives the host the ability to navigate in space’s “sublayer” enabling tunneling in the first place. No other species is able to navigate in space’s sublayer – only the sianat can do the math. The virus won’t pair with any other species, so the sianat see it as their sacred mission to show other species how to traverse the sublayer.

And that’s, like, chapter one.

Also noteworthy: I want to live inside this book forever.


  • Title: The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet
  • Author: Becky Chambers
  • Pages: 404
  • Format: EBook
  • Publisher: Hodder
  • ISBN: 1473619815
  • Genre: Science Fiction