Review: Record of a Spaceborn Few, by Becky Chambers

I’ve been a bit quiet lately. On the one hand the weather’s been gorgeous, and on the other, I’m lacking the spoons to actually write… and that includes blogging :/ But I’ve still been reading, and I’m very happy to tell you more about the 3rd Wayfarers book today! Becky Chambers is one of my, if not the, favourite queer authors, or favourite authors altogether. Her scifi is very human and I just adore the worlds she builds!

The Story

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 stay home when her brother Ashby left for the stars, but has to question that decision when her position in the Fleet is threatened.

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.

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

What is the purpose of a ship that has reached its destination?

The Review

Rating: 5 out of 5.

I read this in preparation for the last of the series coming out (I already own it but I take forever to read at the moment).

I love every one of the books in this series – the first one maybe most of all – and this one was no exception. It really punched me in the guts at one point too, I had to put it down and take a few deep breaths, but I just couldn’t stay away from it for very long. Just be aware it comes with a TW for major character death.

It can easily be read as a standalone, although if you’ve read the previous ones you’ll be happy to meet Tessa, Ashby’s sister.

I sometimes have trouble with ensemble casts because there’s always one or two I don’t particularly like, but this wasn’t the case at all here. Just loved every single one of them, and was invested in all their stories. I also especially liked the diversity involved, from the unruly teenager to the mom of two, to the queer archivist in her 70s or 80s. It’s very rare to read about older queer people, especially, and it just warmed my little heart!

But most of all for me, with any Becky Chambers book, is the worldbuilding. Here, the Fleet is the perfect alternative to capitalism, a place where everyone has food and a place to sleep. It’s also a place where sex work is not taboo, where death is made meaningful… I have a lot of feelings about the Fleet, and most of them can be summed up as “I want this, for myself, like yesterday”.

It was a hard read at times, but it always felt just right and was very satisfying in the end. Just a perfect cosy, low stakes scifi novel about normal people trying to find their way in life.

The Links

Barnes & Noble | Waterstones (signed copies!) | Kennys | Portal Bookshop

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