21st Century Literature discussion

2016 Book Discussions > The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet – First Half, Spoilers Allowed (November 2016)

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message 1: by LindaJ^ (new)

LindaJ^ (lindajs) | 2318 comments Somewhat arbitrarily, let's split the book in two, with the 1st half being every thing up to Day 251, GC Standard 306. By this point we've met everyone on the crew of the Wayfarer and Rosemary has just told Jenks her secret.

To get us started, I've posed a few questions below. Feel free to ignore them and ask your own or just comment on what you liked/disliked when you reached the midway point.

There hasn't been much action (or plot) but there has been quite a bit of character building. Did that bother you? Did you want more action?

What do you think about the various aliens in the crew so far? Why do you think the author made the crew so diverse?

message 2: by Peter (new)

Peter Aronson (peteraronson) | 516 comments I'm just coming off of rereading this book, and when I read it this time, I tried to notice what the author was up to. It is a leisurely start, but it kept my attention, and by the time you've gotten to the halfway point you have met the characters and gotten at least a sketch of the society or societies they live in.

The aliens are ... rather human-like in many ways. I don't believe that the author was interested in exploring interaction between the human and the truly alien, but rather the aliens here are stand-ins for human cultural, sexual, and neurological differences. It's a bit Star Trek-ish, but skillfully done.

message 3: by Casceil (new)

Casceil | 1692 comments Mod
The book does seem very episodic. I found the pacing uneven. Some parts are very exciting and other parts are slow. I liked the character development, particularly the way the characters were introduced in the beginning. By introducing each character as Rosemary met them, we got to know a bit about each character as we met them, without it seeming liking an info dump.

message 4: by LindaJ^ (new)

LindaJ^ (lindajs) | 2318 comments Peter, I also thought the author used the "aliens" as standins for different human cultural and sexual differences, and probably neurological as well although I that had not popped into my head before. In that she reminded me some of Octavia Butler.

message 5: by LindaJ^ (new)

LindaJ^ (lindajs) | 2318 comments Casceil, Did the uneven pacing interfere with your enjoyment or distract you?

message 6: by Casceil (new)

Casceil | 1692 comments Mod
My interest decreased in the slow spots, and I sometimes fell asleep. At one point near the end, I was very sleepy and about to settle into a chair-nap, when something big happened, and I was wide awake for the rest of the book.

message 7: by LindaJ^ (new)

LindaJ^ (lindajs) | 2318 comments Gosh Casceil. So sorry about the missed nap! I know what you mean - it usually happens to me when I read at in bed so I can relax and get to sleep! I'm wondering though if uneven pacing is a negative or a style? Anyone have any thoughts?

message 8: by Peter (new)

Peter Aronson (peteraronson) | 516 comments Linda wrote: "I'm wondering though if uneven pacing is a negative or a style? Anyone have any thoughts?"

I think it's a style thing. I think this is a novel of character, punctuated with action scenes rather than an adventure novel. If you look at it that way, the pacing makes sense. And I didn't fall asleep either time I read it.

message 9: by Peter (new)

Peter Aronson (peteraronson) | 516 comments This book does show signs as having been written as a series of episodes (not that there's anything wrong with that -- that's how much of Dickens' work was published). I wonder if it was originally written for a small circle of friends, an episode at a time?

message 10: by LindaJ^ (new)

LindaJ^ (lindajs) | 2318 comments Good observation Peter. I don't know the answer but will look around for an interview where she might have addressed how she developed the book. I do believe she used some for of crowd funding (right term?) to do the self publishing, so maybe it ties in there.

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