I loved The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet by Becky Chambers so much that I’m now “reading” it a second time. I put that in inverted commas because I’m actually listening to the audiobook this time, via my brand spanking new Audible account. It’s a pretty good version — not the best narration I’ve heard in an audiobook, but still fun to listen to. From what I’ve heard so far, Kizzy’s voice is done the best.
I just wanted to share a few bits of information I’ve gleaned by following Chambers’ twitter and blog. Firstly, Chambers is working on a sequel — I am so happy about this! The universe is such a great one and it deserves to be explored more. The sequel even has a title already, which Chambers revealed by uploading a photo of her notebook:
Love the title! The relative length of these titles is just one of many things that helps this book stand out in the SF field, I think. Here’s hoping A Closed and Common Orbit reaches bookshelves soon; and may there be many more long-titled books from Chambers after that.
Secondly, other fans of the first book will be eager to read a series of blog posts Chambers has made on her early notes and writing process for The Long Way. Here’s part one and two. There are sketches, diagrams of the ship, lists, and all sorts of cool stuff, including a few hints about the next book. I really like Chambers’ personal sketch of what Sissix looks like, although I must admit I pictured Aandrisks having lizard-like snouts, not flat faces! Also, Chambers mentions in the first post that she watched Contact countless times on VHS as a kid. Well, me too! Ah, what an amazing movie… (I think it was probably amongst my top 5 most watched VHS tapes, alongside Jurassic Park, Starship Troopers, Goldeneye and Independence Day.)
I wish more authors would peel back the layers and share some of the “making-of” process like this. It’s absolutely fascinating to me. I’m the kind of person who watches every special feature on the DVDs and Blu-rays for movies I love, and this is just like that, but for a book. It’s especially interesting to see the work that goes into planning a novel, as I hope to one day write my own science fiction.
If you’re still on the fence about reading Chambers’ novel, check out my review of the book (it’s one of the most joyous SF books I’ve ever read) or watch this cool little video Chambers did where she introduces her work: