The Galaxy, and the Ground Within (AudiobookFormat, 2021, HarperCollins B and Blackstone Publishing) 5 stars

With no water, no air, and no native life, the planet Gora is unremarkable. The …

Review of 'The Galaxy, and the Ground Within' on 'Goodreads'

5 stars

A beautiful ending to a series I've loved

Alysa Winans’s Instagram post of her endpaper design

This is a beautiful ending to a series I’ve loved, being the 4th and final book in her Wayfarers series‚ which won Chambers the Best Series Hugo in 2019.

A handful of sapients, from a handful of species, are forced together for longer than expected. And, as a result, Becky Chambers has made me weep again with joy, several times.

This one only just fits into my self-imposed category of queer lit — while Chambers is herself queer, the characters of this novella aren’t really, beyond an adolescent of a species who don’t decide on their gender until adulthood. That said, there is discussion of gender, including non-binary and trans identities — and with a beautifully dismissive line where 2 characters (neither of which is human) are discussing the post-adolescent gender-reveal customs of a 3rd (non-human) culture:

And I have always thought the party sounds like a lovely custom.

Quelin don’t have anything similar, right?

No, not at all. If your parents got it wrong, you let them know, you update your records, and everybody gets on with their lives. It’s a casual matter. Nobody hires a band. Which is our loss, really.

(As well as the UK cover design above, Christopher Doll created some lovely covers for the ebooks and the US releases, reminiscent of Golden Age pulp covers, but I really like the simplicity of Mark Read’s designs for the Wayfarers series.)

As Chambers writes in the acknowledgments, ending a series is always bittersweet. I’m gonna have to read each of the Wayfarers tales many more times, I’m sure, but this is a lovely way to leave them — with character-focussed storylines giving us insight into the fascinating universe she has created.

CN: near fatal accident, vomiting, discussion of xenophobia and genocide

The first in Chambers’s new series, [b:A Psalm for the Wild-Built|40864002|A Psalm for the Wild-Built (Monk & Robot, #1)|Becky Chambers||63655961], is due to be released in July 2021.