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.

Tessa chose to stay home when her brother Ashby left for the stars, but has to question that decision when her position in the Fleet is threatened.

Kip, a reluctant young apprentice, itches for change but doesn’t know where to find it.

Sawyer, a lost and lonely newcomer, is just looking for a place to belong.

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?

I’m not sure if I wanna write a very long review for this one, as there are some books that you just wanna kinda… keep for yourself. Those books that you don’t want to sit and analyse, because you’d rather just enjoy the fact that you’ve just read a great book that really got you.

Record of a Spaceborn Few is a wonderful story that made me tear up a whole bunch of times. It’s an exploration of humanity, and of what society could be… But on a very relatable level. It’s a slice-of-life tale about the lives of a small cast of characters, their struggles, and their dreams.

There’s a kid trying to discover what he wants to do with his life. There’s a young adult searching for a place to call home. There’s a mother trying to care for herself and her family, and there’s a woman who helps others grieve when the time comes.

All of this is set against the backdrop of a truly “equal” society. There’s no need for money, as everyone is provided the same food and standard of living. Nobody needs to work, but they do it for the good of their community. This is the life of the Exodan Fleet, a group of humans that lives in a giant honeycomb-like system of spaceships around a star.

I’m making it sound like a perfect utopia, but the beauty of this setting is that it’s anything but perfect. Resources may be allocated equally, but that just means that everyone has the same sparse lifestyle, without much in the way of luxuries. To the other species in the universe… the Exodan humans are almost seen as a charity case. Becky Chambers takes the time to explore the problems and challenges of the society she has created. She presents her world to the reader without judgement, and allows them to draw their own conclusions.

This is a beautiful, shining little gem of a book. It’s wholesome, tragic, thoughtful, and uplifting. Somehow all at once. It took me a little while to forge a connection with the characters, but when I got it… Man, did I care.

This is a fantastic addition to the Wayfarers series, and if you’re a fan of The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet or A Closed and Common Orbit, you should pick this up immediately.

My only complaint about Becky Chamber’s books is that when they’re finished… They’re finished. I just want to read about these characters forever.

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