Book Review: The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet by Becky Chambers

November 14, 2019

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The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet by Becky Chambers (Book Review)

I’ll be honest here, Sci-Fi or Science Fiction in books is not my favourite genre.

Despite growing up with Star Trek in the 90s, I never really considered myself a Trekkie because according to my Pakistani mother, some of the scenes were too racy to be seen by a child.

I tried Sci-Fi in my teens when friends who were into the genre tried to get me into it but the realm just didn’t float my boat.

On a recent Woman’s Hour podcast on the BBC, one of the topics was about female Sci-Fi writers and one of the panellists recommended this book and so I had to check it out.

The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet - Becky Chambers (Book Review) - A motley crew is assembled for a tunneling expedition to a strange planet.

I was hooked from the first chapter of the book and ended up buying it on Kindle.

What is it about?

The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet is a Science Fiction book for sure.

Set in space, this book is about a tunnelling ship full of a motley crew of characters who are employed by the ship’s captain and a mysterious newcomer who’s hiding her identity due to a horrific family secret.

We’re introduced to this world via Rosemary Harper, a highly intelligent human file-clerk who’s employed by The Wayfarer as the ship is sent to a small and angry planet who’s just made peace with the Galactic Commons Authority, and the Wayfarer crew are sent to build a tunnel so that trade can start with this planet.

Along the trip, we find out more about the crew including Captain Ashby who’s having a secret affair with a member of another species and Jenks who is having a relationship with the ship’s computer Lovelace or Lovey.

There’s multiple threads and story viewpoints in this story, so it can be hard to keep up with each person, but Chambers does her best to keep all the storylines and backstories together.

What works in the book

The descriptions of the worlds we’re introduced to are very vivid with their own currency, politics and ecosystem which in itself is fascinating.

The characters are pretty much all fleshed out and have emotional range and good backstories.

What Doesn’t Work in this Book

For me personally, it was hard to keep up with all the multiple narratives and remember who was what.

It was also a little long in some places and I would have preferred to have just one or two viewpoints keeping the narrative going.

Would I recommend it?

Personally, this book was not for me, but I think I’d like to try another book in this genre without so many viewpoints.

There are other books in this world that are loosely related but I very much doubt I would continue with this series.

If you are a fan of the Sci-Fi genre, this is something that should definitely go into your list.


Rosemary Harper has a secret that is so DEVASTATING that she changes her identity and accepts a job as a file clerk on a tunnelling ship in deep space.

Part of a motley crew of various species who are tasked with tunneling to a warring planet that has just made peace with the galactic commons.

Along the way we meet different species and figure out, that underneath it all, we have more in common than we think.


The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet – Becky Chambers (Amazon UK – Affiliate Link)

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