The Galaxy, and the Ground Within
March 8, 2021 5:14 AM - by Chambers, Becky - Subscribe

The fourth and final book in Becky Chambers' Wayfarers series. With no water, no air, and no native life, the planet Gora is unremarkable. The only thing it has going for it is a chance proximity to more popular worlds, making it a decent stopover for ships traveling between the wormholes that keep the Galactic Commons connected. If deep space is a highway, Gora is just your average truck stop.

At the Five-Hop One-Stop, long-haul spacers can stretch their legs (if they have legs, that is), and get fuel, transit permits, and assorted supplies. The Five-Hop is run by an enterprising alien and her sometimes helpful child, who work hard to provide a little piece of home to everyone passing through.

When a freak technological failure halts all traffic to and from Gora, three strangers—all different species with different aims—are thrown together at the Five-Hop. Grounded, with nothing to do but wait, the trio—an exiled artist with an appointment to keep, a cargo runner at a personal crossroads, and a mysterious individual doing her best to help those on the fringes—are compelled to confront where they’ve been, where they might go, and what they are, or could be, to each other.
posted by Literaryhero (10 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
So I loved books 1 and 2 of the series but book 3 just wasn't really for me. I finished it but it didn't give me the same excitement as the first two. Because of that I was hesitant to start this one.

However, I think this one is as good as the first books, and I couldn't put it down. It reminded me of Spider Robinson for some reason, and I don't know if that makes sense? Like it is all about radical empathy with imperfect people? I don't know, but I highly recommend this one. :)
posted by Literaryhero at 5:17 AM on March 8, 2021 [2 favorites]

I'm guessing that you have an ARC? Because the book itself isn't available until 4/20.
posted by Halloween Jack at 6:22 AM on March 8, 2021

It's available now as an ebook from a large monopolist.

I think this is possibly the best book in the series; I'll have to reread the first two to know for sure.

I wonder if it was written in early stages of covid lockdown or only happens to resonate with that?
posted by joeyh at 7:52 AM on March 8, 2021

I think I am looking at the wrong large monopolist site? I only see the ebook as available for pre-order.
posted by Pryde at 5:06 PM on March 8, 2021

Was there a mistake somewhere? The Kindle version was released Feb 28 but now seems unavailable, but it looks like you can still get the ebook from Google Play Books. Weird.
posted by Literaryhero at 9:37 PM on March 8, 2021

I agree that this was a wonderful book, with the caveat that it has fantastic world building and good characters, but not much happens. I was in the mood for that so it hit a sweet spot for me.
posted by Marticus at 3:13 PM on March 10, 2021 [1 favorite]

OK, haven't read this yet, but if, by "not much happens" you mean it's not an action plot, that seems to be Chambers' jam. I found a lot going on in her books, but it's relational and emotional, with the "action," such as it is, going on "over there" rather than front and center. Record of a Spaceborn Few made the bold choice of putting the big action set piece off screen in the prologue because what's interesting is the impact it has on the characters, not the action itself.

Really looking forward to this when it comes out as an audiobook. The first three had good readers, and they move along at a good clip.
posted by GenjiandProust at 10:11 AM on March 13, 2021 [1 favorite]

I think this book had the most Becky Chambers plot of all time.

It was pretty great.
posted by kyrademon at 2:16 PM on April 8, 2021 [2 favorites]

Just finished this, having done a binge-read of the entire Wayfarers series. They're all great, in different ways. I bounced really hard off the third book the first time I read it, but this week it really struck a chord and I devoured it.

This one is great—a side of Pei we never got in book 1, and the backstory on Speaker/Tracker was heartbreaking. What a great portrait of a kid, albeit a kid who in my mind resembled a cross between a bear and a camel.

Few writers could take Kessler Syndrome and turn it into a riveting interpersonal drama, but Chambers has the skills. I have heard this is the last book she plans for the series, which makes me sad—I really love the worldbuilding. Once upon a time there was a cookbook for Pern that Anne McCaffery wrote, I'd be really intrigued to try whatever earthly approximation we can find for fire shrimp.
posted by fifteen schnitzengruben is my limit at 11:48 AM on May 21, 2021 [2 favorites]

my experience was basically the same as fifteen schnitzengruben is my limit . just binged the whole series.

loved it; god the unadulterated humanism* almost made me weep, and I'm not a weeper......

*can I even call it humanism? sentient-ism, maybe?
posted by lalochezia at 5:31 PM on August 26, 2022

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