Book review / Books

Review: A Closed and Common Orbit

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Title: A Closed and Common Orbit

Author: Becky Chambers

Genre: Sci-Fi

No Spoilers

A Closed and Common Orbit by Becky Chambers is set in the same verse’ as The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet, yet is completely different to her previous effort. This book tells the tale of two characters which we met in The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet but that is where the similarities between the two novels end.

A Closed and Common Orbit is divided into two stories – one where we learn about Pepper’s (Jane’s) childhood and the other – where we learn about how Lovey deals with her transition into a human-like body.

It was interesting reading the two separate stories at the same time as they were so different from each other – however they had one fundamental similarity which made the book work well and that was the exploration of AI’s as sentient beings. A Closed and Common Orbit basically revolves around the whole idea that AI’s are able to think for themselves and develop independently much like humans – according to their experiences. It’s an interesting idea – and one that has been explored in many sci-fi books and films. (Though I’m still not sure we’ll ever be capable of making a computer that has the ability to think independently).

Despite this, I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It was far more fast-paced than The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet and therefore also much easier to read and take in. Having just a few characters also helped with this – I felt I was able to connect more thoroughly with them and far better able to understand the universe this book is set in. The fact the book for he most part explores ONE central idea means that I found it far less imposing than The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet. 

For those of you who have read the first Wayfarer’s book – but have yet to pick up this one – I as you…why the hell not?

A Closed and Common Orbit shows us what sci-fi books ought to do – explore the future so we can be more fully aware of the present.

I’m rating this book 4/5 stars.


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