“I can wait for the galaxy outside to get a little kinder.”
I just finished Becky Chambers’ Long Way to A Small Angry Planet and it was like swimming in a warm bath of acceptance and niceness. So, for those like me who are suffering from Wayfarer withdrawal:
- The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making – Catherynne M. Valente. I have no idea why this was the first book that came to me when I thought of books like A Small Angry Planet, but I’m going with it. I think perhaps there’s a similar brand of niceness going on, a recognition that, yes, the world can be crap sometimes and no amount of fairytales is going to change that, but also that it can, mostly, be worked out in cooperation and in empathy.
- Saga – Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples. Saga is a lot more violent, of course, but it has a similarly diverse universe to A Small Angry Planet, a similar sense of complex interplanetary politics.
- Foundation – Isaac Asimov. I mean, if we’re talking about complex interplanetary politics we should definitely mention the daddy of all space operas. It’s not as fun or as comforting as Chambers’ book, but if the bureaucracy of the GC left you hungry for more, you could do worse than read this.
- The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society – Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows. This little epistolary novel places similar faith in the power of community. It is a historical/romance novel, though, so don’t expect the sweeping vistas of space.
- Ancillary Justice – Ann Leckie. If you enjoyed the AI storyline in A Small Angry Planet, then Ancillary Justice asks similar questions about sentience and technology.
- How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe – Charles Yu. All the weird and wacky mental effects of travelling through the sublayer? That basically describes Yu’s novel.
- Jack Glass – Adam Roberts. A much, much more violent and much, much grimmer novel about humanity’s future in space. I think it’s really only the space-travel trappings that remind me of Chambers’ book.
- The Long Earth – Terry Pratchett and Stephen Baxter. Like A Small Angry Planet, The Long Earth is more world-building than plot-driven, focusing as it does rather on the exigencies and adventures of the journey than on the (somewhat underwhelming) revelations of the destination.
- Perdido Street Station – China Mieville. It’s not as nice as Chambers’ novel – not nice at all, in fact – but it is good at imagining, or at least trying to imagine, how alien species might be radically different to us, and how that might affect our relationships with them in complex and unforeseen ways.
- The Mirror Empire – Kameron Hurley. This, too, is good on cultural difference and general weirdness, but be prepared for a long old slog.
(The theme for this post was suggested by the Broke and the Bookish’s weekly meme Top Ten Tuesday.)