In Her New Novella, Sunday Times Best Selling Author Becky Chambers Imagines A Future In Which, Instead Of Terraforming Planets To Sustain Human Life, Explorers Of The Solar System Instead Transform Themselves Ariadne Is One Such Explorer As An Astronaut On An Extrasolar Research Vessel, She And Her Fellow Crewmates Sleep Between Worlds And Wake Up Each Time With Different Features Her Experience Is One Of Fluid Body And Stable Mind And Of A Unique Perspective On The Passage Of Time Back On Earth, Society Changes Dramatically From Decade To Decade, As It Always Does.Ariadne May Awaken To Find That Support For Space Exploration Back Home Has Waned, Or That Her Country Of Birth No Longer Exists, Or That A Cult Has Arisen Around Their Cosmic Findings, Only To Dissolve Once By The Next Waking But The Moods Of Earth Have Little Bearing On Their Mission To Explore, To Study, And To Send Their Learnings Home Carrying All The Trademarks Of Her Other Beloved Works, Including Brilliant Writing, Fantastic World Building And Exceptional, Diverse Characters, Becky S First Audiobook Outside Of The Wayfarers Series Is Sure To Capture The Imagination Of Listeners All Over The World. Oh look another book I need to add to my ever growing TBR WOW, this reminded me so much of why I love sci fi and why I need to make it a priority to read of it Becky Chambers has such a knack for writing heartbreakingly human, character driven stories I loved this a whole heck of a lot. Since I first read Joanna Russ WE WHO ARE ABOUT TO I ve had a hole in my heart This book healed it This extraordinary novella proves that you don t have to write a long book to pack a big punch Becky Chambers writing gets better and better with everything she writes, and this is no exception Every sentence is perfectly balanced without attracting unnecessary attention characterization is subtle but effective and the impact of the ending is everything I hoped it would be A future sci fi masterwork in a new and welcome tradition. Becky Chambers is a freaking genius If you have any interest in speculative fiction about where we as a species could be headed then you really need to pick up any of her books To Be Taught If Fortunate is a short novella about longterm space mission to study four planets light years away from Earth There are four members of the crew of the OCA spacecraft Merian Ariadne O Neill, Elena Quesada Cruz, Jack Vo and Chikondi Daka But instead of getting caught up in stereotypical space opera style events this book takes the form of a message sent back to Earth from the viewpoint of Ariadne who is the flight engineer onboard And in this message are the details of their exploratory and investigatory mission so far But also it reveals so much about what it means to be human It poses probing questions asking about the importance of scientific research and whether a mission seeking knowledge is truly relevant to us as a species Ariadne s message is split into four parts as the crew of the Merian visit four different planets Aecor, Mirabilis, Opera and Votum And on each planet we are treated to both easy to understand and incredibly fascinating speculative science as the crew engage in their information gathering and laboratory research But we also get to delve into the psyches of these four people and how the mission affects each of them in different ways This book is truly brilliant Everything feels so authentic that I almost believed that I was reading a real space report But it s the humanity of the piece that really captured me So much so that I found myself crying at the end of the book because there was just so much heart and feeling in it It s a book about what it truly means to be a human and as a trained research scientist myself I was both deeply moved by and really emotionally connected with the hunger and thirst for knowledge that was illustrated in the book Highly recommendedfive stars As the Secretary General of the United Nations, an organisation of one hundred and forty seven member states who represent almost all of the human inhabitants of the planet Earth, I send greetings on behalf of the people of our planet We step out of our solar system into the universe seeking only peace and friendship to teach, if we are called upon to be taught, if we are fortunate We know full well that our planet and its inhabitants are but a small part of this immense universe that surrounds us, and it is with humility and hope that we take this step Former UN Secretary General Kurt Waldheim,1977,as recorded on the Voyager Golden Record. For reviews and book related chat check out my blog THE MARTIAN meets INTERSTELLAR, this is high concept speculative fic at its finest Rendered with startling clarity, Chambers latest offering is a short but fierce ode to humanity and all our reaches and flaws Unputdownable. This was just such a lovely novella about everything I d be laying if I said it didn t leave me wanting , but isn t that what a good book is supposed to do This is a SF space exploration novella in tradition of classic SF educaiment.People go to the stars And it is done not by a state or corporation, but by million of people across the globe giving money to a non profit that launches several spaceships with small crews 4 persons to stars with planets in a Goldilocks zone Our narrator, a female engineer Ariadne O Neill, aboard the spacecraft Merian, sent 14 light years from the Sol.The book starts with her note to the readers that she hopes that she won t be the last space explorer, which sets the tone for the whole story Each chapter is an exploration of one of the celestial bodies icy moon Aecor, and the terrestrial planets Mirabilis heavy jungle like , Opera a water world , and Votum a dirt world The exploration is extremely careful, quite unlike a lot of earlier SF, no threatening of native ecosystems with terrestrial biome A nice read with some interesting ideas and, like author s other books, it is not dry but full of emotions The unexpected final for me sounded not in the character, but this is a spoilery part, so no details So far quite likely nominee for Hugo Nebula. Guys, if you haven t read any of Becky Chambers uplifting solar punk see her Hugo award wining Wayfarers trilogy , then To Be Taught, If Fortunate is the perfect place to start Stuffed into less than 200 pages is a compelling, intelligent, and deeply humanistic science fiction yarn that is representative of what Chambers does best The story is told as a letter being sent back to Earth from Adriane, pilot of a OCA spaceship meant to categorize and study exoplanets These four pilots travel the stars, alter their physiology, and do massive scientific investigations of local flora and fauna The story s structure is roughly chopped into four planets that the team explores throughout their journey, with decades spent in suspended animation in the interim Chambers has a real knack for pulling the hope out of hopeless seeming situations The crew of Merian modify their bodies to be able to absorb the harsh radiation of the stars, manage 2G gravity, and prevent the blood in their veins from freezing This human ability to adapt and evolve is a constant in Chambers work, but is most prominent here Even though the wacky science transformations are cool, it is just as satisfying to travel with Adriane, Elena, Chikondi, and Jack through their personal hardships Their unbridled excitement for scientific discovery is heartening and captures both the mundane reality of benchwork with the exhilaration of uncovering something heretofore unknown.Overall, this is a super solid sci fi It is interesting, well constructed, and has that uniquely positive spin that makes Chambers work so satisfying This tends toward hard sci fi than Wayfarers fantastical alien civilization, but also touches on real world struggles of today climate change is a frequent talking point Again, if you haven t given Chambers solarpunk a try, To Be Taught, If Fortunate provides the perfect entry point. Originally posted to I Should Read That I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review This is a spoiler free review.You all know how passionately I love Becky Chambers books she s one of my favourite authors and consistently puts out incredible stories When her next release was announced, I was initially a little disappointed that To Be Taught, If Fortunate wasn t going to be a continuation of her Wayfarers books However I completely trust Becky to give me the gorgeous, quiet stories I crave My faith in Becky Chambers remains To Be Taught, If Fortunate is the beautiful, gentle tale of human exploration that I never knew I needed.To me, Becky Chambers s books have always represented what humankind could be if we stopped being awful and had consideration for each other and the universe around us To Be Taught, If Fortunate is the best example of this, particularly with the idea of somaforming the way in which astronauts adapt their bodies to their environments rather than terraform a planet to adapt to them This is the most beautifully human idea in science fictional space travel I ve read I absolutely love anything that deals with space exploration, hence my passionate love of Star Trek, but To Be Taught, If Fortunate blows all other works out of the water with its displays of unselfish compassion.This novella is a little like a combination of A Closed and Common Orbit s plot y structure and her slice of life masterpiece Record of a Spaceborn Few However, To Be Taught, If Fortunate is unlike her other books, which are probably best known for their deep character insights You don t get to know the characters in To Be Taught, If Fortunate as well as you do in her full length novels However, I didn t mind this as the story drew out enough of the characters traits, particularly Ariadne, to make them compelling and interesting I particularly enjoyed the subtleties that Chambers includes to help draw a picture of the way they live and interact, as well as how their mission so perfectly suits them To Be Taught, If Fortunate is like a warm hug It s a shorter story than we are used to from Chambers, however it features the heart and humanity that I ve come to associate with her work I couldn t recommend this book highly to fans of her Wayfarers series, as well as newcomers to her work that love science fiction that deals with space travel and exploration. This was fascinating and a very engaging concept It did not charm or entertain in the same way the Wayfarers did, but I did enjoy it.
- 138 pages
- To Be Taught, If Fortunate
- Becky Chambers
- 01 February 2017 Becky Chambers