Review: Record of a Spaceborn Few by Becky Chambers

Record of a Spaceborn Few by Becky Chambers

From the ground, we stand. From our ship, we live. By the stars, we hope

Centuries after the last humans left Earth, the Exodus Fleet is a living relic, a place many are from but few outsiders have seen. Humanity has finally been accepted into the galactic community, but while this has opened doors for many, those who have not yet left for alien cities fear that their carefully cultivated way of life is under threat.

When a disaster rocks this already fragile community, those Exodans who still call the Fleet their home can no longer avoid the inescapable question:

What is the purpose of a ship that has reached its destination?

Becky Chambers’ thirds Wayfarers book takes us into the heart of the Exodus Fleet – the collection of ships that fled a dying Earth and now orbit round a donated Sun. 

Our way into Fleet life is through the eyes of a collection of characters who each see the Fleet in different ways. They are different ages, genders, professions and of differing opinions about the Fleet itself. We hear from all of them in rotating chapters, giving a broad view of life on board.
Tessa is a mother with young children who finds herself questioning whether he Fleet is the best place for her children to grow up, would they be better off planetside? (she’s also our link to the Wayfarer – Ashby is her brother) 

Isobel is an older lady and experienced Archivist (sort of like a librarian and registrar rolled into one) She’s passionate about her job and documenting Fleet life for future generations, but also of safeguarding the archives of those who came before. 

Eyas is a Caretaker for the dead who is steeped in the traditions of the Fleet but somehow feeling unfulfilled.

Sawyer is an outsider to the Fleet, raised on a planet he arrives trying to make a new life for himself, experiencing the culture and ways of the Fleet for the first time. 

Kip is a teenage boy looking for his place and struggling to define who he wants to be. 

Through this eclectic mix we get to live a life in the Fleet too. As we’ve come to expect from Becky Chambers the world building is excellent and I immediately felt immersed and part of life on board. A truly enjoyable read record of a Spaceborn Few made me laugh and cry (I defy anyone to get to the end without shedding at least one tear – either happy or sad). A gentle story looking at the small things that matter in life and that all important question ‘Where do I fit in?’

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