The Galaxy and the Ground Within

The Galaxy and the Ground Within is the fourth and final book in the Wayfarers series by Becky Chambers. I love this series; the books are creative, and warm without being treacly. I don’t find her optimism unrealistic, which is a neat trick in this day and age.

This book takes place at the Five-Hop One-Stop, the equivalent of a truck stop on a small planet at the meeting point of a few different wormholes. It’s a place to restock supplies, get more food, fuel up, stretch your limbs. There are three shuttles – one being per craft – docked when a satellite catastrophe happens: one satellite breaks, its parts break off and hit other satellites, causing them to break, and on and on until the sky is a mass of bits and pieces of metal and no one can talk to anyone and everyone is stuck.

Hence the meat of the book starts. Who are these folks? Where are they going? Where are they coming from? How will they band together or not when push comes to shove?

She has a great interview on Imaginary Worlds that I would recommend where she explores how different species would interact with each other, assuming that one isn’t simply trying to annihilate the other. Those are the questions she starts with; this locked-in-a-room plot is how she chooses to explore them.

The Galaxy and the Ground Within is the last of these books and I will miss this universe. She is moving on to write solarpunk; I am excited to read those stories. The world needs more practical optimism, and Becky Chambers strikes me as the perfect person to write it.

Retelling a childhood favorite

Ana of California

Ana of California is a modern retelling of Anne of Green Gables (one of my favorite childhood books). In this version, she is a Hispanic foster child. The history that she is given – her outlook on the world should be much darker than it is. But optimism is one of Ana/Anne’s signature traits, and it is no different here.

It is not as good as the original. But it is still about family and home and how we make the world we live in. It’s still enjoyable.