Tuesday, August 6, 2019

To Be Taught if Fortunate by Becky Chambers Book Review

 Thanks to massive advancements in science and technology, Ariadne and her 3 colleagues are sent to study 4 habitable planet and their ecology 15 light years away. Somaforming is the means that allows them to do so, a process where the astronauts are put into a sleep-like state while travelling, that slows down their aging and delivers synthetic biological supplements to their bodies to help with each different environment. The novella chronicles their journeys and the problems that arise for the explorers. What it's like to leave your family and loved ones behind on Earth, how much will change while they're away, will their work still be relevant, will they be remembered? I really like Chambers' sci-fi, how things work and their descriptions. It's so believable and intriguing.

The heart of the story for me is the characters and their relationships. Chambers is so brilliant at writing characters, just like her other books these didn't disappoint. The smallest nuances and interactions speaks volumes. I swear she can express so much with just just a pat on the back as another author would need a whole paragraph to convey. I would have loved a longer book to explore Ariadne and the others more, both before and after their trip. That's the only reason I gave this 3 stars (really 3.5), because I selfishly wanted more! It is still satisfying for a novella though, perfect for the summer.

One of my favourite quotes from the story is

'This is what a forest is, after all. Don't believe the lie of individual trees, each a monument to it's own self-made success. A forest is an interdependent community. Resources are shared, and life in isolation is a death sentence'

Becky Chambers has such a beautiful way with words and the scene this quote comes from is beautiful. Becky Chambers could write a shopping list and I'd be clamouring to read it! The novella is out August 8th.

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