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Record of a Spaceborn Few (Wayfarers, #3)
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BotM Discussion - SCI-FI > Record of a Spaceborn Few / Overall Discussion / ***SPOILERS***

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message 1: by Roger, Knight Radiant (new) - rated it 3 stars

Roger | 2015 comments Mod
I have to say that this was my least favorite book in this series by far. I found that there were no characters that I really liked and in a book that is character driven that is not a good combination. I kind of liked Sawyer but he was a little to naive for me considering his past. For an orphan that bounced around the system he is entirely too trusting for me, but the biggest inconsistency for me is that he really wants to join the Fleet but he gets super excited about joining a crew that implies they won't be hanging around the fleet for all that long. I just found that a little out of character.

I didn't really connect with any of the other characters either, though I did like Aya, the poor kid and the terrible thing her "friends" did to her was pretty upsetting to me :(


message 2: by Dawn (new) - added it

Dawn | 1139 comments I totally agree Roger. I think it was the lack of alien interaction in the story that made it not quite so engaging as the previous books.

The problems and issues of living permanently on a space ship were fascinating but ultimately, they were human issues. Even the one regular alien in the story was studying human society and for me, the joy of the previous two books was in the way they described human interaction with machine or alien cultures and people. The stories tread a path of hints and snippets that introduced the reader to each aspect of the alien cultures as if the discovery was their own. Most books just tell the reader what is going on and this path of social discovery was just not as apparent in this book.


Shawnie | 1888 comments I'm just getting started at about 15% now. So far I like how we see the big, bad event through the eyes of each character.


message 4: by Rick (last edited Aug 06, 2018 12:27PM) (new) - added it

Rick Agreed. My issue with it so far (I'm 40% in) is that she's using the mechanism of each chapter being focused on a different character and I have zero idea of why I should care about any of these people. At all. So, Eyas goes to another ship to get laid... why do I care?

This storytelling technique usually brings the set of characters together earlier or at least makes it clear what their relationship is. At first, I thought we were going to have that relationship center on the disaster that opens the book, but that seems to have been forgotten... which is another problem I'm having. 40,000 people die in a major disaster and it seems to have very little effect both on the remaining society and on the characters we're following so... again, why am I reading this?

Both of her earlier books were character focused but they both actually had things happen and the characters were together so we got to see how they related to one another and to the situations in which they were placed.

Disappointed so far.


Margo I'm pretty much in agreement with the comments at 70% into the story, except that the audio is really good. Patricia Rodregez did an awesome job lifting the book to a 4 star experience.

I had to restart the story 3 times to get brain to take it in. It was only at the 40% mark that I really got into the story. As soon as I become interested in a storyline it stops. Like Rick, I felt there was context to early parts. Has the author brought the characters together at some stage it realky would have helped me too.


Sandy | 1665 comments just picked this up today but have to finish book two first...looking forward to joining the conversation.


Shawnie | 1888 comments I'm a little worried now. This has been one of my favorite series! But, I can hardly get into this book and can't remember much of what I read last night.


message 8: by Dawn (new) - added it

Dawn | 1139 comments I got really excited at the start and expected the book to be centred around the huge disaster and its effect on the fleet but ultimately very little was made of this. Even the later looting of the ship seemed very incidental to the story and as for Sawyer, he was one of my favourite characters :(


Margo Shawnie, I am enjoying it but it does take a while to get into. Not like the first 2 books where everything was laid out from the start.

TBH I don't think it would matter if you hadn't even read the others. Except for having encountered some of tthe species before and some of the unusual pronouns, there is no link.


Shawnie | 1888 comments Ok, good to know, Margo. :) I may try making progress in the daytime when I'm not so sleepy.


Melanie | 1272 comments I needed to turn back to the previous chapter about that character at first to remember the characters.

The tone is much different in each of these three books.


message 12: by Paul, A wanderer in unknown realms (new) - rated it 4 stars

Paul | 3540 comments Mod
Its definitely a slow burner. 70 pages in, and the same strong character development I would expect from her but certainly a different feel to it.


Falynn - the TyGrammarSaurus Rex | 519 comments I finished this last night. I didn't adore it the way I did her first two, but I still enjoyed it and thought it was a very good book.

It does seem at first that all of the characters were (mostly) unrelated and it is true that there is no one driving purpose, like there is in her other two books, to pull the story together.

At least, there wasn't until I started thinking of humanity/the Exodan Fleet as the MC. The actual characters we follow are side characters showing us the shape of the MC (the fleet) which is too big to the encompassed in the page.

I thought it was very philosophical about us as a species and about how we could evolve to be better over time.

It was slow, and not a lot happened, but I still enjoyed it. It reminded me a little of 19thC novels (something like Henry James or Anthony Trollope maybe?) where the plot is not really the point.


message 14: by Lis (new)

Lis I'll be honest with you... I just can't get through it. While I do enjoy (most of) the characters and their little moments, I'm now 120 pages in and I don't see the point of it at all.

I'm so sad... this book, I was looking forward to it the whole year.
And while I love the cozy, warm atmosphere, I just cannot get myself to pick up it at the moment.

I don't know. Reading that you all had some form of the same issue is comforting though.
Maybe I just need a bit more peace and quiet to actually enjoy a slow paced story.


message 15: by Maximum (new) - added it

Maximum Beans (maximumbeans) | 515 comments I actually enjoyed the book. It was slower paced than the previous ones, but I thought the characters were well written and engaging, and the description of how the fleet worked was very interesting. I went to a meet the author event and she basically said "yeah, there's pretty much no plot in this book, it's all about the characters". I can see what she meant now, but like I said I thought it was a good book. I agree that the audible narrator made it even better.


message 16: by Rick (new) - added it

Rick I DNFed it. I'll likely pick it up later but she needs to watch that she doesn't stray too far into plotless character vignettes or I think she'll lose some of her readers (of course, writers should write what they want, but...).

The problem I have so far (40% into this) is that I don't know why I'm reading this. Why these characters? They don't (so far) interact unlike the crew in Long Way... or Pepper, Sidra, Blue and the others in A Closed and Common Orbit. It feels utterly random and, while each chapter is well-written, I don't have any feel for why I'm being asked to read about this.


message 17: by Paul, A wanderer in unknown realms (new) - rated it 4 stars

Paul | 3540 comments Mod
Just finished last night. I quite enjoyed it but it is very slow and all about the characters but no real plot. It is sort of tied together but not completely. But still enjoy d the individual character stories , more of a series of short stories running side by side.
I'd like to see a shift back in her next book but still liked this one, just not as much as the previous two


message 18: by Lel (new) - rated it 4 stars

Lel (lelspear) | 1889 comments I really enjoyed this one. I did't have the same problem as everyone else of not having a plot. I remember reading the first book in the series and thinking there was no real plot, I figure that is BC style.

I liked pretty much all the characters and how they developed. Its only reading the comments above that I realised the inconsistency with Sawyer coming from a crime filled planet and falling in with the scavengers so easily.

I found all the little ways on the fleet really interesting. Like the way bodies were dealt with, the fact that everyone had compulsory sanitation shifts and such things. I loved the fact that Kip found his way back and made peace with his life.

It begs the question though, would you like to settle in space on a ship or do you think you would ultimately settle on a planet?


Margo Lel, the Sawyer thing didn't really bother me. There so many people like that who will never learn from experience. The ones that make the same mistakes over and over again and always trust the wrong people.

I don't think I could live on a space ship that doesn't go anywhere! Ships were meant for travel. Also, I found the attitude of the people there a bit hard to take. Okay, they have learned their lesson, they waste nothing but they are really taking the moral high ground about it! They have completely seperated themselves from the planet and live in what they see as some kind of utopia. It is not sustainable. Their children are already itchy feet.

Sorry....this is not a very fun answer but it did seem to a theme throughout the book. The stories that we followed showed a different way of thinking between the generations.


message 20: by Maximum (new) - added it

Maximum Beans (maximumbeans) | 515 comments If I could live on a ship, I'd like it to be just for me, like my house. Then if I wanted people around I could go to a space-port and if I wanted everyone to just bugger off and let me relax and read my library in peace, I could go orbit a lonely star somewhere. Aaah, bliss.


message 21: by Lel (new) - rated it 4 stars

Lel (lelspear) | 1889 comments I think I would feel the same, Margo. At the moment I think of a spaceship as a cruise ship in space. You can offload on some planets, hop on a ship going somewhere else when you have had your full of the planet your on. That sounds fun. Although Scotts idea of relaxing in peace in his library sounds bliss!


Shawnie | 1888 comments I'm with Scott! Leave me in peace on my ship, but I could go to planets or other ships at will. :) Perfect.


message 23: by Maximum (new) - added it

Maximum Beans (maximumbeans) | 515 comments I'd totally be cruising aimlessly around in space if I could. Just so long as my star-home could have a food replicator and grav-plating.


Shawnie | 1888 comments I'm finding some of the parts funny and/or interesting now at 60%. I especially liked the scene with Isabel and Tamsin going on the Sunside joyride. That was really fun, and I'd love to do that! I'm getting annoyed with the teenager antics of Kip. I feel sorry for Tessa's family stress. I wonder what Sawyer has gotten himself into with the scrappers... I'll find out very soon as they just used the illegal pinhole drive to get to the Oxomoco.


Shawnie | 1888 comments Ok, I found out exactly what Sawyer got himself into....


message 26: by Rick (new) - added it

Rick So I have a question for those of you who liked this one. I was thinking why this didn't resonate with me (and remember, I really liked the first two) and it came to me that I don't like 'tourist' SF. I don't use tourist in a derogatory manner but as a subgenre description.

For example, Wheel of TIme has a lot of stuff in it that simply describes the world but that doesn't actually move the story ahead at all. I read part of the first book and as Rand and his father are riding somewhere we have a page and a half describing the road to a village. Some people love this... it makes them feel the world. It drives me crazy, but that's me.

So.... if you liked Record... are you also the kind of reader who likes what I'm calling tourist SFF?


message 27: by Maximum (new) - added it

Maximum Beans (maximumbeans) | 515 comments I wouldn't say I like 'tourist SF', because I can't think of any examples. But I do count tWoT as my favourite fantasy, and certainly the best on my bookcase.


Sandy | 1665 comments Well I just finished this and I have to say I did not like it as much as the first two. It was very very slow, describing all the people and not what I expected from her. I could have done with a couple less people to move the story along faster.

I did think the use of the Harmagian was well done and added weight to the story and the scene of the funeral and Kip was very moving. I would give this a 3 or 3.5 only although the writing was good the story didn't have enough interaction between the characters to really bring it all together for me.


message 29: by Carolyn (new) - added it

Carolyn  (ckarasch) Still waiting on my library copy. I can't wait to get started.


message 30: by Rick (last edited Aug 28, 2018 06:04PM) (new) - added it

Rick Scott wrote: "I wouldn't say I like 'tourist SF', because I can't think of any examples. But I do count tWoT as my favourite fantasy, and certainly the best on my bookcase."

WoT counts for me. Again, I'm not using the term as a put down but more as the kind of fantasy that immerses the reader in the world of the book with a lot of description and characterization that doesn't move the plot forward.

Here's an example from Eye Of The World:

Soon the street opened onto the Green, a broad expanse in the middle of the village. Usually covered with thick grass, the Green this spring showed only a few fresh patches among the yellowish brown of dead grass and the black of bare earth. A double handful of geese waddled about, beadily eyeing the ground but not finding anything worth pecking, and someone had tethered a milkcow to crop the sparse growth.

Toward the west end of the Green, the Winespring itself gushed out of a low stone outcrop in a flow that never failed, a flow strong enough to knock a man down and sweet enough to justify its name a dozen times over. From the spring the rapidly widening Winespring Water ran swiftly off to the east, willows dotting its banks all the way to Master Thane’s mill and beyond, until it split into dozens of streams in the swampy depths of the Waterwood. Two low, railed footbridges crossed the clear stream at the Green, and one bridge wider than the others and stout enough to bear wagons. The Wagon Bridge marked where the North Road, coming down from Taren Ferry and Watch Hill, became the Old Road, leading to Deven Ride. Outsiders sometimes found it funny that the road had one name to the north and another to the south, but that was the way it had always been, as far as anyone in Emond’s Field knew, and that was that. It was a good enough reason for Two Rivers people.

On the far side of the bridges, the mounds were already building for the Bel Tine fires, three careful stacks of logs almost as big as houses. They had to be on cleared dirt, of course, not on the Green, even sparse as it was. What of Festival did not take place around the fires would happen on the Green.

Near the Winespring a score of older women sang softly as they erected the Spring Pole. Shorn of its branches, the straight, slender trunk of a fir tree stood ten feet high even in the hole they had dug for it. A knot of girls too young to wear their hair braided sat cross-legged and watched enviously, occasionally singing snatches of the song the women sang.

Tam clucked at Bela as if to make her speed her pace, though she ignored it, and Rand studiously kept his eyes from what the women were doing. In the morning the men would pretend to be surprised to find the Pole, then at noon the unmarried women would dance the Pole, entwining it with long, colored ribbons while the unmarried men sang. No one knew when the custom began or why—it was another thing that was the way it had always been—but it was an excuse to sing and dance, and nobody in the Two Rivers needed much excuse for that.

The whole day of Bel Tine would be taken up with singing and dancing and feasting, with time out for footraces, and contests in almost everything. Prizes would be given not only in archery, but for the best with the sling, and the quarterstaff. There would be contests at solving riddles and puzzles, at the rope tug, and lifting and tossing weights, prizes for the best singer, the best dancer and the best fiddle player, for the quickest to shear a sheep, even the best at bowls, and at darts.

Bel Tine was supposed to come when spring had well and truly arrived, the first lambs born and the first crop up. Even with the cold hanging on, though, no one had any idea of putting it off. Everyone could use a little singing and dancing. And to top everything, if the rumors could be believed, a grand display of fireworks was planned for the Green—if the first peddler of the year appeared in time, of course. That had been causing considerable talk; it was ten years since the last such display, and that was still talked about.

The Winespring Inn stood at the east end of the Green, hard beside the Wagon Bridge. The first floor of the inn was river rock, though the foundation was of older stone some said came from the mountains. The whitewashed second story—where Brandelwyn al’Vere, the innkeeper and Mayor of Emond’s Field for the past twenty years, lived in the back with his wife and daughters—jutted out over the lower floor all the way around. Red roof tile, the only such roof in the village, glittered in the weak sunlight, and smoke drifted from three of the inn’s dozen tall chimneys.

At the south end of the inn, away from the stream, stretched the remains of a much larger stone foundation, once part of the inn—or so it was said. A huge oak grew in the middle of it now, with a bole thirty paces around and spreading branches as thick as a man. In the summer, Bran al’Vere set tables and benches under those branches, shady with leaves then, where people could enjoy a cup and a cooling breeze while they talked or perhaps set out a board for a game of stones.


I mean... that's ALL description. It isn't remotely needed to move the plot forward but the vast amount of detail envelopes the reader and is what I mean by 'tourist' fantasy.


Cendaquenta | 54 comments I'm a bit late to the party but am finally starting it! On pg 64 currently. So far pretty good, though the large amount of PoV characters is a bit confusing.


Cendaquenta | 54 comments Finished and enjoyed it although I agree with the comments above that there is basically no plot or point, just 6 subplots which somewhat link together. Think it could have done with one or two less PoV characters as it was hard for them to have very much development or for the reader to really get attached before having to switch to pay attention to a totally different character and story. (Ex., I was still getting Isabel and Eyas mixed up right till the very end of the book.) I hope subsequent books are more akin to "Long Way" or "Orbit".
Fantastic worldbuilding though, really liked learning more about the Fleet and how humans fit into this universe.


Veronica | 25 comments Margo wrote: "I'm pretty much in agreement with the comments at 70% into the story, except that the audio is really good. Patricia Rodregez did an awesome job lifting the book to a 4 star experience.

I had to ..."


Yeah, it takes about 70% until the separate narrative threads come together. Even then, Tessa's never really comes together with anyone else's.


Veronica | 25 comments Rick wrote: "I DNFed it. I'll likely pick it up later but she needs to watch that she doesn't stray too far into plotless character vignettes or I think she'll lose some of her readers (of course, writers shoul..."

A Closed and Common Orbit was my favorite because of Pepper. She held the novel together.


Veronica | 25 comments Okay, so I'm trying to think of examples of 'tourist SF' and the opposite which is, I suppose, 'building action SF.' I think I've got it. Something like The Power or 1Q84 is definitely not 'tourist SF.' Lots of stuff happens. It is compelling stuff. You keep reading because you are dying to see what happens next. There are plot twists and big reveals. Unlike, say Station Eleven or Radiance that's more about the way characters feel and behave in speculative surroundings. The events that transpire in Station Eleven or Radiance are not plot twists where tension builds to a big reveal. They are more like this book where the event is prologue and everything else is consequence. I would say that I like both kinds. I actually liked Wayfarers #2 the best followed by this one and I liked The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet the least. I do like that because the books are sequential (-ish) in time but only tangentially involve some of the same characters, you can read them out of order or you can read the third one without having to read a lengthy summary in the beginning to remind you of all the things you'd forgotten in the first two. Having said that... I can't remember what 'ambi' is. Is it a fuel? I have no clue.


message 36: by Rick (last edited Sep 17, 2018 08:57PM) (new) - added it

Rick mmmm ... So since I introduced the term, to me 'tourist SFF' is where a large part of the appeal of the work is simply spending time in the world regardless of whether things happen or not. However, there's a corollary to this - there are long stretches where things don't happen and we're reading descriptions of either the world, the characters or both.

This doesn't mean that non-tourist fiction is lacking world building but that the world is built by telling me a story. The example I use is Harry Connolly's The Way Into Chaos books. Very cool fantasy, complex, rich world, several interesting characters... and not a chapter to be seen where we loll around. Everything moves the story forward.

Basically, it's slice-of-life fiction - here's a place, here are some people. Nothing really happens, let's watch them a while. For me, that's incredibly boring - when I pick up a book, I'm expecting to be told a story and slice of life stuff isn't doing that.

On this book... I'll put it this way. I've not picked it up in weeks even though I really kind of want something to read. Instead, I've read other things. I can't recall being so disappointed in a book for a long time.


Matthew (fogjuice) | 191 comments Great comparison to Station Eleven. And calling it slice of life. I liked that about both books. I wouldn't want to read only slice of life style, but it's nice for a change of pace.


Shawnie | 1888 comments I have to be in the mood for it, but I love a good character-driven slice of life book. I loved Station Eleven. However, sometimes it feels boring. I am usually reading 2 to 4 books at any given time, probably because I'm a mood reader. lol


message 39: by Wayland, Ernest Scribbler (new) - rated it 3 stars

Wayland Smith | 2937 comments Mod
Finished. I agree with the comments this is the weakest of the series so far, but still enjoyable.

It's odd that she's doing a shared world but no overlapping characters. She's a great writer, and her characterizations are great, but it's a bit jarring that the characters never carry over.

Sawyer was amazingly naive. I liked Eyas a lot. Kip was, well, a dumb teen doing dumb teen things.

It was a good read, but I didn't love it.


Kaitlin I just made it to this a couple of weeks ago, and honestly I'm pretty surprised that most people thought this one was the least compelling. This was my favorite of the three, for sure, and I've been trying to figure out why. I do think that Rick's description of "slice of life" matches fairly well, and that's something that I generally enjoy. I like good world-building, and in Record of a Spaceborn Few I especially appreciated how full the Fleet felt, and how well it seemed like Chambers thought through the implications of the Fleet. But I also never felt like I was reading just for the world, which is definitely different from a lot of you!


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