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A Closed and Common Orbit

(Wayfarers #2)

4.32  ·  Rating details ·  42,411 ratings  ·  5,442 reviews
Lovelace was once merely a ship's artificial intelligence. When she wakes up in an new body, following a total system shut-down and reboot, she has no memory of what came before. As Lovelace learns to negotiate the universe and discover who she is, she makes friends with Pepper, an excitable engineer, who's determined to help her learn and grow.

Together, Pepper and Lovey w
Paperback, 364 pages
Published June 15th 2017 by Hodder & Stoughton (first published October 20th 2016)
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Contrarius In addition to what Julie said -- there are two storylines followed throughout the book. The stories seem independent throughout most of the book, but…moreIn addition to what Julie said -- there are two storylines followed throughout the book. The stories seem independent throughout most of the book, but they are closely related thematically -- therefore the "closed and common orbit", meaning that both stories are following closely related paths. Both stories are about people who started out with little or no autonomy, who grow and learn to determine their own destinies and join "human" society as fully autonomous beings who integrate into their chosen families.(less)

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Average rating 4.32  · 
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Oct 29, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fans of sci-fi, character-driven stories
I understand that some people weren't fans of The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet. Personally, in my heart of hearts, I kind of suspected they might be suffering from Grinch syndrome,* but I respected it, because there were indeed a few flaws.

This time, I won't keep my suspicions to myself: if you do not find this book enjoyable, you need to witness a little village of Whos holding hands and singing even though you just stole their Christmas Beast.** Or, just possibly, it is completely not you
Mario the lone bookwolf
An amazing amalgation of AI, childhood, the rights of sentient beings, the pure evil of consumerism, and motherhood.

Chambers continues and expands social sci-fi ideas like a boss, switching between the past of a protagonist and the existential crisis of an AI reduced to a slow, boring, and inefficient human body with ridiculous mental and general abilities. Poor thing.

Selected thoughts and impressions that popped up during reading, as usual, a bit weird and confused (Seemingly the reviewer has
Melissa ♥ Dog/Wolf Lover ♥ Martin
Yes, I cried a little in the book! That's what I do people! Don't judge me! Lol, it was a good cry though =)

I loved the first book and I loved this one too. Holy crow!

This book starts off when Pepper and Lovey leave the Wayfarer together. Lovey is in an AI body and is not real happy because that's a lot to get used to when your used to being an AI of a ship and not in a teeny tiny person body!

This book goes back and forth from when Pepper was a little girl to tell her story and the present wi
Chelsea (chelseadolling reads)
Re-read 8/28/18: I loved this even more the second time around, oh my lanta. Even though I knew what was going to happen I found myself tearing up because I just love these characters so much. I need 73823628 hugs.

Original read 10/12/17: This book felt like a hug. So satisfying and lovely and warm. I never ever want Becky Chambers to stop writing this series. I just want it to go on and on for the rest of my life.
Emily (Books with Emily Fox)
Jul 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing
(4.5) I need to third one!
Jun 26, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
4ish stars.

Just as cute as the first book but with its own emotional depth, this goes further into exploring some interesting themes giving it a greater, more focused sense of purpose than TLWTASAP (whoa that's an intense acronym). Even more so than the first book, there's not much excitement. There are no villains. It's the opposite of a nail-biter. It's more of a coming-of-age novel with a few existential crises thrown in.

It's cute in the same way a lullaby is cute. It's not saccharine, gag-in
Charlotte May
Mar 06, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: sci-fi
"The planet was beautiful. The planet was horrible. The planet was full of people, and they were beautiful and horrible too."

I enjoyed this visit back into Becky Chambers' wonderfully optimistic science fiction, but it wasn't quite up there with The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet

We don't join the crew from the previous book, but instead we pick up with two of the minor characters mentioned - Lovelace and Pepper. The ending of The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet was pretty dramatic - and t
I've been looking forward to this sequel for some time and I feel kind of sad it STILL took me so long to get a copy of it! It follows two of the most interesting characters from The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet, Lovelace and Pepper, but it does so by filling in the gaps, jumping from the past to the future following the end of the first book.

Do not expect a straight continuation of it, though. This is more of a very interesting dual-character study full of straight commentary and rather in
J.L.   Sutton
Dec 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
“When I see the ocean, I feel calm. It makes me want to’ – to keep eating candy – ‘to keep going. To keep trying new things. To keep living.”

An engaging and beautifully written slice of life dive in Becky Chambers’ world of complex characters and newly imagined relationships between space faring species! I somehow feel like I should begin this review of Becky Chambers’ A Closed and Common Orbit with provisos even though I really enjoyed it. I went into this second book in the Wayfarer Series kn
Jun 29, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: my-sff-faves
* I was sent this for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review *

I flipping ADORED this. Once again, Becky Chambers has written a Sci-fi book which isn't about explosions and battles in space, but one which deals with many problems facing humanity today e.g. gender, equality, sentience, free choice, racism etc. Chambers has an innate understanding of how humans are flawed, and she applies this BRILLIANTLY to her works of fiction, making character that you can't help but love and r
Michael Finocchiaro
“Life is terrifying. None of us have a rule book. None of us know what we are doing here. So, the easiest way to stare reality in the face and not utterly lose your shit is to believe you have control over it. If you believe you have control, then you believe that you’re at the top. And if you’re at the top, then people who aren’t like you...well, they’ve got to be somewhere lower, right? Every species does this. Does it again and again and again.” (P. 326)

The second book of the Wayfarer series
Jan 23, 2018 rated it really liked it
I absolutely adore Becky Chambers’ brand on optimistic science fiction. It is filled with wide-eyed, immersive, positive energy and I LOVE that. I love how inclusive her imagination is and how thoroughly thought out her world is. The aliens feel exactly that: alien. They are different not just in the way they look but in the way they think and behave and in the way their societies are structured. But still, the different races exist more or less peacefully and most people we meet along the way d ...more
A beautifully compassionate, intimate portrait of the inner lives of a small group of keenly-drawn characters as they navigate their way through their lives and find a way to connect and survive and thrive even after trauma and heartbreak. That description isn’t often likely to refer to a science fiction novel, but it’s to Becky Chambers’ great credit that it works all the better because it’s a science fiction novel, allowing her to delve deeply into questions of autonomy, consciousness, cultura ...more
Jan 18, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A wonderful sequel to The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet, this tells the ongoing story of Lovelace. She is the only character from the first book who plays a real part in this one but that does not matter because both books are so good in their own right.
Lovelace quickly becomes Sidra and the story follows her progress as she attempts to act like a human and play down her characteristics as an artificial intelligence system. Sounds weird? I promise it is not. The author has a talent for makin
Mogsy (MMOGC)
4 of 5 stars at The BiblioSanctum

In the same spirit of The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet, its sequel A Closed and Common Orbit likewise tackles the themes of life, love, and the exploration of interpersonal, social, and cultural ideas. However, if you’re jumping on board this one immediately following the first book, you might also find yourself surprised by the many differences. The greatest departure is perhaps the novel’s format and style, which tig
K.J. Charles
Good grief this made me cry. Huge snotty sobs of happy-crying, the kind where people ask you what's wrong and you sob out "Nothing, everything's just so perfect!" between howls.

This series is just...I need a better word than "nice", but it is. People are kind. People form families. People are understanding, and if they don't understand they try. It's inclusive and open-hearted and generous. Not soft and soppy, not Pollyanna--Jane's backstory is terrifying and dreadful in what it says--but hopef
Nov 27, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction

I really don't know how to write this review, because I really don't know how I feel about it.

Was it what I expected? No. Was the story developed how I would have hoped? No. Where the characters developed? Yes. Did I enjoy it? *Slight pause.. Yes.

Ok, so if you have read other reviews, you will know this book is broken into 2 stories. Pepper as Jayne 26 and her early years and Pepper and Lovelace the AI and body kit from the first book.
The young Jayne story was good, I enjoyed reading a
Oct 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Feel good fiction at its best. I enjoy the world she has created and the characters too.
Jul 30, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi
“What was the difference between strung-together neurons and a simple bundle of if/then code, if the outward actions were the same? Could you say for certain that there wasn’t a tiny mind in that bot, looking back at the world like a beetle might?”

There are quite a few existential questions in A Closed and Common Orbit, the second book of Becky Chambers’ Wayfarers series, which hit the ground running with the award winning The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet. I read “Angry Planet” in Septembe
Auntie Terror
Jul 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: science-fiction
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jenny (Reading Envy)
I think I liked this stand-alone followup to The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet even more than the first. The cast is much smaller, but because of this the reader is let in much more closely to a few unique lives - the AI formerly known as Lovey as she adjusts to living within a bodily form, and a small child named Jane who repairs scrap for robots. There are many comments about humanity and identity, destruction of natural environments, autonomy, and friendship. ...more
Evelina | AvalinahsBooks
I have this complicated relationship with sequels somehow. I don't know why it's always like this. I mean, I'm not saying that all sequels are bad. Of course not!

I'm not even saying this one is.

But I was just kind of hoping it would be better.

(If the images don’t load, read this post here on my blog)

That is to say, it's still a solid three stars. But after A Long Way To A Small, Angry Planet, I just… don't know what I expected. I mean, I knew I wouldn't really be reading anoth
Feb 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
5 Full Stars. A total joy. Her very best book of all.

So full of heart and love and a deep understanding of what it means to be human, and to become human. Ms. Chambers is a joy. Her writing expresses what we feel inside, the hidden truths, the mystery. The Long Way... is also so full of heart and joy and friendship, and A Closed and Common Orbit carries this forward.

This is a tale of the very young Jane who becomes Pepper, and Lovelace who becomes Sidra. Their stories are interwoven, and in man
Apr 13, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2020, library, hoopla, sci-fi
3.5 to 4 stars

I have previously referred to books like A Closed and Common Orbit as transition books. What I mean by this is that it is the middle book in a trilogy that seems to me more of a transition between the first and last book than a stand-alone story. I suppose it doesn’t have to be the middle book in a trilogy – it could be any book in a series that does have that major-build-up-to-a-climax stand-alone feel. But, if you completely left it out, the next book may not make quite as much s
Helene Jeppesen
It was fun to be back in this unique, humorous sci-fi world that Becky Chambers has created with her first novel "The Small Way to a Long Angry Planet". Like many other people, I loved that first novel and was intrigued to dive into this companion one. It has to be said, though, that "A Closed and Common Orbit" is very different in both its plot as well as its tone of voice. To start with, it is more serious and doesn't have as much humour in it as we get in the first book. Also, it doesn't deal ...more
TS Chan
May 21, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: library-book
4.5 stars.
A short review.

I never thought there'll be such a thing called cosy science-fiction, but I believe A Closed and Common Orbit can be considered as such. Charming and beautifully written, this stand-alone sequel continues the trilogy's intimate narrative on social sciences and humanities. So full of heart and incredibly moving, it made me tear up numerous times without being heavy-handed, and felt like a warm hug on a cold, brittle day.

Similar to The Long Way to A Small, Angry Planet, t
Jan 26, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi-fantasy
*** 4.75 ***

I really liked this second book in the series, maybe even a bit more than the first. Not exactly sure why, since it was not as action packed nor did it have as rich of a cast of characters. We didn't get to see the main crew of the Wayfair, but the debt to which the author went into the history and characters of those we spent time with on page, is phenomenal! I felt like I was there and got to grow with them, got invested and attached, having fun even during the slowest of episodes.
Apr 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
4.5 stars, but it's such a charming story about love and friendship and creating one's own destiny that I rounded up

This second volume of the Wayfarers series takes place immediately after the events of the first: Lovey is gone, Lovelace wiped her memory banks (no ill intent, just a protocol everyone hoped wouldn't get triggered) and because it is too sad and painful for Jenks, she left the ship with Pepper, who still has the illegal body kit.

This book, then, is about how Lovelace (naming hersel
✨    jami   ✨
“She felt as though she could reach out to that little girl and pull her through the years. Look, she’d say. Look who you’re gonna be. Look where you’re gonna go."

I read The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet late last year and absolutely loved everything about it. It's truly one of the most joyous and beautiful books I've ever read, and I loved the cast so much.

A Closed and Common Orbit is a companion novel, and I was a little war about it because it features different characters and a diff
Joanne Harris
For once, I bought this one myself, rather than picking it up from a pile of requests for blurbs and reviews. I loved the previous one in the series, and I wanted to see how the author had managed to follow up on her initial success. I have to say I'm seriously in love with the way in which Becky Chambers manages to weave themes of inclusivity and diversity into her sci-fi, along with representations of mental illness, body dysmorphia, depression, gender fluidity and so on - all with the most de ...more
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Becky Chambers is a science fiction author based in Northern California. She is best known for her Hugo Award-winning Wayfarers series, which currently includes The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet, A Closed and Common Orbit, and Record of a Spaceborn Few. Her books have also been nominated for the Arthur C. Clarke Award, the Locus Award, and the Women's Prize for Fiction, among others. Her most ...more

Other books in the series

Wayfarers (4 books)
  • The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet (Wayfarers, #1)
  • Record of a Spaceborn Few (Wayfarers, #3)
  • The Galaxy, and the Ground Within (Wayfarers, #4)

Articles featuring this book

You can't boldly go anywhere if you only stick with what's familiar. Imagine if Frodo Baggins had stayed home or if Ender had...
160 likes · 44 comments
“Life is terrifying. None of us have a rule book. None of us know what we're doing here. So, the easiest way to stare reality in the face and not utterly lose your shit is to believe that you have control over it. If you believe you have control, then you believe you're at the top. And if you're at the top, then people who aren't like you... well, they've got to be somewhere lower, right? Every species does this. Does it again and again and again. Doesn't matter if they do it to themselves, or another species, or someone they created.” 48 likes
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