21st Century Literature discussion

The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet (Wayfarers, #1)
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2016 Book Discussions > The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet - General Discussion, No Spoilers (November 2016)

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LindaJ^ (lindajs) | 2305 comments Hi All. Apologies Marc for not checking again before the e-mail.

I read the paperback published by Hodder about three months ago and enjoyed it. The book came to my attention when it appeared on the longlist for the 2016 Bailey's Women's Prize for fiction. I did not realize until after I read it that it was initially self-published. It obviously caught someone's attention. Anyone know how it caught the attention of the judges for the Women's Prize for Fiction or have any thoughts on why it had to go the self publishing route?

Below are a few reviews for the book.
http://sanfranciscobookreview.com/pro...
http://www.tor.com/2015/03/17/book-re...
https://bookinthebag.wordpress.com/20...
http://www.fantasybookreview.co.uk/Be...


Peter Aronson (peteraronson) | 516 comments That's what piqued my interest about this book -- that a publishing firm decided to take it on after it had been self-published and then the Bailey's long-listed it. It implied that there was something about this book that caught people.


Casceil | 1692 comments Mod
This book is the topic of discussion for another group this month, and I have been following comments in the "no-spoiler" thread for that group. Reactions to the book seem very mixed. Some readers like the characters and think they are well-developed. At least one other reader had the opposite reaction. A couple of people found the book a little "preachy." Others said they did not get that impression at all. Some have complimented the world-building, and I haven't noticed anyone saying anything negative about that.


LindaJ^ (lindajs) | 2305 comments Casceil, Thanks for that interesting summation of the comments from another group. I am surprised that someone did not think the characters were well-developed. Most of the criticisms I've read seem to object to their being too much character development and not enough action or lack of evident plot. I was impressed with the character development. I look forward to hearing from others on the character-building point. The Part I thread would be the place to discuss, if desired, the development of specific characters.


message 5: by Viv (new) - rated it 3 stars

Viv JM | 62 comments I read this book last month. I thought it was nice enough, but I didn't really love it like a lot of my Goodreads friends seem to. I would agree with the criticism that the character development was at the expense of plot. What I did like was the general message of acceptance of otherness, and the emphasis on cooperation and friendship. I guess that could come across as preachy to some, but it didn't feel that way to me.


LindaJ^ (lindajs) | 2305 comments Viv, your comment raises a couple of questions for me. Is a plot always necessary? Can a book be character driven as opposed to plot driven? Is the criticism more one of personal like or dislike?


message 7: by Viv (new) - rated it 3 stars

Viv JM | 62 comments I think it partly comes down to expectations. Yes, I do think a book can be character driven as opposed to plot driven (for example, I am currently reading Virginia Woolf's The Voyage Out, which is definitely not plot driven!) and still be very enjoyable. I do wonder if maybe, personally, I look for different things when I am reading speculative fiction so that my expectation is that a science fiction novel like this would offer more adventure and action than it did...so, yeah, I guess it's a personal thing!


LindaJ^ (lindajs) | 2305 comments Viv, I think you've identified something that is hard to control -- reader expectations. Sometimes those expectations are genre related. Sometimes they are the result of the book blurb. I've been quite disappointed on occasion by a book that from the book blurb I thought was historical fiction but turns out to be romance! I guess my expectations for sci fi aren't as rigid as my expectations for historical fiction!


Peter Aronson (peteraronson) | 516 comments Viv wrote: "I do wonder if maybe, personally, I look for different things when I am reading speculative fiction so that my expectation is that a science fiction novel like this would offer more adventure and action than it did...so, yeah, I guess it's a personal thing!"

I thing the thing is, speculative fiction/science fiction/fantasy are far more marketing categories then genres. There is an enormous range of stories published under those categories, including, but not limited to: novels of adventure (or plot), novels of setting, novels of character and experimental fiction that is hard to classify. I would say that this is a mix of novel of character and setting with some adventure added in for flavor.

There's nothing wrong with you expecting more action and adventure, but neither is there anything wrong with this book delivering something else instead.


LindaJ^ (lindajs) | 2305 comments This is the last day of our month long visit with the diverse crew of the Wayfarer, who are lucky to have a captain who values diversity. For anyone who hasn't read it but would like to, it is available for Kindle on Amazon for $1.99. https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00.... And, the sequel -- A Closed and Common Orbit -- was published October 20 for those who want to know what happens to Lovey now that she is embodied!


Kirsten  (kmcripn) I'm about 1/3 in and loving the characters!


LindaJ^ (lindajs) | 2305 comments That's great Kristen. Look forward to hearing your thoughts further in.


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