Cover Image: The Galaxy, and the Ground Within

The Galaxy, and the Ground Within

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Member Reviews

Possibly my favorite in this series. The beginning is a little tricky with the introduction of so may different characters but all of them are fantastic and I really had a fun time reading this book.
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I swear Becky Chambers can do no wrong. I love this world and these characters. My heart is bursting!
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This book is deceptive. It seems like it has no plot but that is not true. The plot is just so beautifully done. It is about people getting along and working together to solve a problem. There is no enemy to defeat. It is just a day in the life of…and it is perfectly done. Seriously this is a series that everyone should read whether they are SCFI fans or not. It is all about basic kindness and treating people decently in a very diverse world. Something we all need to read about. The Science Fiction world building is very good and so is the character development. Nothing jars and knocks you out of this perfectly crafted world
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What a beautiful way to wrap up this series. I loved each of the characters in this ensemble cast and still think about them often. Chambers has a wonderful way of taking something completely alien to us and making it as comfortable as a well-loved blanket.
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I'm simultaneously glad I finally read this, and also sad that the series is over. This is such a nice, slice-of-life sci-fi. I loved meeting all the characters and getting to know Pei more. I need more cozy sci-fi like this in my life.
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Set on an uninhabitable planet whose only value is as a stopover for other worlds, this story explores what happens when members of very different species and histories are forced into community when they are temporarily cut off from contact with the larger Galactic Commons. Three of these strangers are guests at the overwhelmingly hospitable Five-Hop One-Stop version of a spacer’s truck stop when a freak accident halts all traffic and communications. At first glance, they have little in common: an exiled artist with an urgent, perhaps redemptive appointment to keep, a cargo runner with a military history at a personal crossroads, and a mysterious individual who cannot leave her space suit but is doing her best to help those on the fringes. Add to this odd grouping, their host and her teenager, furred quadrupeds that reminded me repeatedly of space otters. Most of all, though, this book is about how people who are initially not only diverse but at odds with one another can bridge those differences through understanding and shared experiences to form friendships and, ultimately, community.
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As always Becky Chambers knocks it out of the park. This book is a little more small scale and quiet than the others, but it gives the same level of joyful reflection of the spirit of all kinds of beings and shows how our differences are valuable. 

If you have ever read a contemporary book with close quarters about complete strangers from different walks of life being forced to interact for a few days, that is this book in a sci Fi setting. It's so intimate and personal and such a fitting ending to a book that has brought me so much joy.  Thanks to Netgalley for the ARC in exchange for an honest review.
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It's a bittersweet ending to a unique sci-fi series. I absolutely loved the first two books and these last two have been harder to get through. While I didn't hate this book, I also felt it was too easy to put down. This whole series is character driven and there's no action to speak of and while that's okay, the story has to be pretty compelling or interesting to keep the pages turning and this one had trouble. 

The plot made me feel like Chambers wanted to take Ann Patchett's Bel Canto and mix it with the 80's movie Enemy Mine, because that's exactly the vibe I got. But unfortunately this book wasn't nearly as interesting as the media it reminded me of.

I do love how Becky Chambers is very inclusive and builds a world that's a dream of what our own could be with how everyone gets along and people aren't discriminated against for something like gender or sexual orientation. Pronouns are respected and cultural differences are celebrated and cared about. It's beautiful. For that reason I wanted to love this book, the the previous one, way more than I did. I actively want to love books that are inclusive like this, but this fell flatter than a crepe.

Just a note if you're thinking about the audiobook. One character uses xy/xyr pronouns instead of the more common they/them, and while that's perfectly fine it's a bit jarring listening to it when there's a sentence like "Xy picked up xyr phone and checked xyr messages." While I doubt this was the actual reason, I wondered if xy/xyr was chosen because it sounds more sci-fi than they/them.
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Once again, Becky Chambers has written a compelling and adventurous space opera with a warm, compassionate heart. This one is somewhat of a bottle episode—the main characters are brought together on a way station planet and forced to interact when something happens to prevent their traveling onward to their next destinations. Chambers includes a wide variety of species and identities here, just like in the previous Wayfarers books, in a way that is gentle and welcoming, not preachy or performatively inclusive. It was such a pleasant surprise to get a fourth book in this series, and it absolutely did not disappoint.
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I'm probably biased because I loved the other books in this series.  It's like Chambers has created a new genre of cozy sci-fi with lovable characters who you want to root for and get deeply invested in.  The world-building is also impressive.  Great for fans of YA Sci-fi as well.
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This was a phenomenal wrap-up to the Wayfarers series, and seeing it come full circle back to Pei and her character amidst others in this universe was perfect.
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Becky Chambers has done it again! This final installment in the Wayfarers series highlights what is so refreshing and successful about the series as a whole: the heart. Every novel in this series is filled to the brim with it. I want to use the word "kind" and "soft", but these books still tackle difficult situations (and this one is certainly no different). Needless to say, I loved it. It was a little hard reading about characters in lockdown while the real world is dealing with much the same, but also made it extremely easy to relate to these alien characters in the same breath. 

I'm sad to see the Wayfarers universe go, but I'm excited for what Chambers will bring us next!
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A perfect quarantine read, a bottle episode in book form from the perspective of several different characters who are grounded at a travel stop. It’s so deeply felt, each character is so fully realized. And I felt especially seen by the (spoiler alert) character arc of a woman who decides that she’s just not interested in procreation despite the enormous social pressure.
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Becky Chambers' Wayfarers series is unlike any other speculative fiction series (as you'll see if you search for "books like Wayfarers"). Chambers is known for her focus on relationships between characters, beginning with the first book in the series, The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet. Each of the works in the series offers a different perspective on the world of the Galactic Commons - more accurately, each offers a number of new perspectives, for Chambers excels at revealing this world through the eyes of different species. Don't fall in love with any of the wonderful characters in the Wayfarers' universe because you're unlikely to meet them again in another book. That is especially true in this final (can it be?) installment of the series. Chambers goes all in on the character-driven approach, stranding her five main characters in a domed spaceport on the airless planet of Gora, waiting for a crisis to pass so they can continue on their journeys. Three of the five are space travelers - an Aeluon, an Akarak, and a Quelin -- while the remaining two are Laru and the hosts of the Five-Hop One-Stop. Most of these have rejected or rebelled against the traditions, values, or laws of their species and homeworlds, and each has plans or duties that are threatened by being grounded on Gora. Unable to leave, they drink, eat, argue, and ultimately help each other (and the reader) better understand the complex universe of Chambers' making.
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This series is like my new Star Trek—which isn't to say it's utopian. Becky Chambers has created a universe with many sentient species of alien, all with wildly different cultures, each as complex as the next. As you can imagine, these differences create all sorts of tension and misunderstanding. What makes this series like Star Trek to me is that it's made up of a hugely diverse cast of characters that try their best to be thoughtful and inclusive and it just warms my heart.⁣
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Science fiction is so often used as a lens to see the future of humanity as the consequences of our worst impulses. A future shaped by greed and war. Becky Chambers instead shows us a future fueled by cooperation and a desire for mutual understanding. It's a future not without it's flaws but all the more hopeful for the efforts made to confront them.⁣
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Each of the books in this series is self-contained, meaning you can read as many or a few as you like without missing any larger plot. I would still recommend starting from the beginning so that you catch the references in the later books. If you haven't read much scifi before, I can't think of a better place to start.⁣
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In this installment we follow a cast of characters all staying at the same guesthouse on what is essentially the planetary version of a rest stop. Conflict and friendship ensues. As always Becky Chambers comes through with amazing representation. One character and her twin are both disabled (this is such a weird word to use for members of an alien species but that's undoubtedly what they are.) One has a physical disability with her legs and the other is chronically ill. I loved to see the mutual care they provided eachother. It's a small thing but so lovely and thoughtful to include.
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As expected from Becky Chambers, this finale to the Wayfare series was spectacular.  Chambers knack for character development draws you quickly into the story.  There were many social and political plot points that worked well without overwhelming the story.  I look forward to what this author has for us next.
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Ouloo and her son, Tupo, run the Five-Hop One-Stop – a way station on the planet Gora, where long-haul travelers can stop to break and stretch their legs, etc. She prides herself on offering something that will make every species comfortable during their stay. When a random tech failure strands her current visitors there for days, these strangers get to know each other and expand their own awareness. Pei, a cargo runner (who readers will recognize from earlier books as the Aeluon who is in a secret relationship with Captain Ashby) gets some personal news that puts her at a major crossroads during this time. Roveg is a Quelin with a very time-sensitive and emotional appointment he needs to keep. Speaker, an Akarak (a mysterious and not-very-well-understood species), finds herself making friends and standing up for her species in a way she never really has before, having lived mostly on the fringes. And finally, Tupo, the young Laru whose enthusiasm and youthful vibe bring a lightness to the otherwise potentially very somber group, and when xe makes a decision that puts xyrself in harms way, brings the group together in unexpected ways.

As I said in my intro, Chambers has done it again. I cannot freaking get enough of this series: the world, the characters, the perfect diversity, the language, and the incredible social commentary that applies in so many ways to our own Earth-bound reality. And it’s so incredible because it is all so impressive and immersive that I couldn’t put this book down even though, in all honestly, it really had no plot. This was just the most wonderful character-building and interaction-based novel. Chambers can write species coming together in a foreign yet totally familiar way like no one else. The nuances of learning and willingness to communicate and prejudices and defensiveness are written so well. And as a nerd-reader, I love love love the details we get about each species’ traditions and livelihoods and beliefs and histories and the way those are more or less well known, accepted, understood, included within the greater Galactic Commons. I cannot fathom the amount of background work and imagination that went into creating all that, because the skill and depth with which its written, the clarity with which it comes through to the reader, can only be that way as a result of serious unseen scaffolding on Chambers’ part.

In particular, as always, I have to highlight the lingual explorations, from the greater detail into Aeluon colors to the Quelin double-script for denotation and connotation to the Akarak words that are based in culture and therefore have no translations, I was fascinated. The language creativity, from the start, has been one of my favorite things about these novels and that remains true here. Along these lines, what really stuck out for me thematically in this volume was the way Chambers included and addressed universal concepts like colonialism and xenophobia and the different (but equally strong) fear inherent in both. It was profound and, like I said, has many clear interpretive readings that have clear parallels and implications in our own world in dealings with those different from ourselves. It just really shows the breadth of culture and makes one wonder how much could be under different, more open/willing, circumstances.

One more thing. Chambers hits the heartstrings in this one with the unyielding yearning for home because it’s home, even if you objectively know all the flaws it also holds. It got me right in the feels. And the traveler-stop setting, with an external threat that allows each character to really delve into their reasons for wanting to go back to/find/redefine “home” for themselves, was the perfect backdrop to develop those insights and self-reflections. The endings for each of the characters, on this note, truly (and pun sort of intended) hit home for me and for two of them I definitely teared up a bit.  

Ugh – the creativity and uniquity that I’ve come to realize is Chambers’ norm is strong in this final installation in the Wayfarers series. I could read her writing, writing from this world in particular, all day every day and still not get enough. And I remain in awe of the way she takes the “normal” people and gives them such compelling stories. Every single book and character in this series is just a regular being, going about their lives and jobs under regular life circumstances, just like anyone else – there are no chosen ones or world-saving or catastrophic apocalypses to be found. And yet these books freaking captivate me. I have no words. Just…spectacular.
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Listen … Becky Chambers can do no wrong. I have never read something by her that I did not enjoy, and every single one of her works makes me smile and laugh and tear up and feel so hopeful and GOOD.

Following the story of a tea monk (which sounds like THE BEST JOB EVER) named Dex who encounters a wild robot named Mosscap (cutest name ever, I told you Chambers could do no wrong), this story manages to squeeze so many important ideas about humanity, religion, self-worth, work, nature, and friendship into a mere 160 pages. I savored every page of this book and I know I will be reading it again soon.
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What a cozy book! I've come to expect the Wayfarers books to be lovely reads with some emotional heft and The Galaxy and the Ground Within is no exception. Like previous books in the series, this entry is light on action and plot and focuses more on characters interactions and conversations. It's a joy to read, and Becky Chambers' creativity with alien races, cultures, and languages is one of the highlights of the series. I loved reading about these characters and the ways they learn to relate to each other. In all honesty, the Wayfarers series is one I wish would never end and I'm sad to see this as the last entry, but happy it ended on such a high note!
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Becky Chambers has helped me relate to the youth of today with her use of gender terms. This book is about different species trapped together on a planet during a disaster and how they work together to get through it. The author writes in a light hearted manner. I have enjoyed all the books in this series.
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