cover image Record of a Spaceborn Few

Record of a Spaceborn Few

Becky Chambers. Harper Voyager, $16.99 trade paper (400p) ISBN 978-0-06-269922-0

The delightful third book set in Chambers’s Galactic Commons universe (after A Close and Common Orbit) takes place in and around the Exodan Fleet, the set of generation ships in which humankind left an ecologically destroyed Earth. Following humans’ entry into the Galactic Commons, the Exodan ships were granted a star to orbit and given a lot of new alien technology. The effects of these things on the Exodan culture, which prioritizes resource conservation and does not use money, are far-reaching. A mother tries to deal with her daughter’s new fears after a horrific disaster; a young man from a planetary colony tries to emigrate to the Fleet; an alien ethnologist comes to study the Exodan ways of life. The multiple narrators and seemingly unrelated plot lines converge thematically into an intensely powerful and multifaceted meditation on time, history, change, and memory, leavened with a welcome touch of humor. The characters are distinct and lovable, each shedding light on a different facet of the Fleet. Chambers uses the interconnections inevitable in such a small society to provide moments of both horrific pain and soaring grace, and to make it clear that those things are inextricably intermingled. This is a superb work from one of the genre’s rising stars. (July)