Amber Marshall's Reviews > Record of a Spaceborn Few

Record of a Spaceborn Few by Becky Chambers
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really liked it
bookshelves: sci-fi

Exactly what it says on the tin: chapters following the personal stories of a few people living in the generation ships the "Exodans," humans who fled the dying Earth, used to travel space in search of a new home. Now orbiting a star gifted by an allied species, the modern Exodans live by the traditions of their ancestors in a collectivist, ecologically balanced society while trying to adapt to the influence of other sapient species and those humans who have moved to live planetside on various habitable worlds either as immigrants or homesteaders.

The mains are:
-Tessa, sister to Ashby of the first book
-Kip, a teenager yearning to leave the boring old fleet and see what's out there.
-Sawyer, who grew up on a bit of a rough planet and is coming, with some idealized notions of Fleet life, to try and live like his ancestors did.
-Isabel, an archivist hosting an enthusiastic historian from an alien species who is studying human life in the Fleet.
-Ayas, a "caretaker" or combination undertaker/funeral director/gardener employed in the Exodan process of composting human remains.

It was really interesting to see how the Exodans live and why, after a couple of books seeing how various species and humans live in traveling ships on planets. It is a beautiful utopia, where everyone is supported and social pressure and a sense of duty, not economic need, compels people to work. It's maybe somewhat naive, but Fleet life isn't all sunshine, lollipops and rainbows either. Contact with outside traders has created a hunger for foreign goods. There is lots of "grass is greener over there" migration. Tragedies still happen, either from accidents (the book starts with a flash back to a big one) or greed (or desperation over the sluggish bureaucracy necessary to evenly distribute resources where needed). And the question does come up "what is the point of orbiting a star living the 'old ways' before contact and finding habitable worlds when we've found plenty of places to land and live?" The answer is complicated.

While this has ostensibly been a series, it's more like a collection of novels in the same universe but not necessarily connecting aside from one or two characters. In that way it reminds me of Discworld. I'm really hoping that Chambers plans on continuing to write books in this setting, because she's barely begun to mine this rich universe she's created.
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Reading Progress

May 26, 2019 – Started Reading
May 26, 2019 – Shelved
May 26, 2019 – Shelved as: sci-fi
May 29, 2019 – Finished Reading

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