The Long Way to A Small Angry Planet | Becky Chambers

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The Book

The Book follows a small group of totally not firefly wormhole builders who are stuck on a long, long journey together on their way to a controversial site. But this ain’t no star trek. Their ships may be fast, but they’re not lightspeed fast. At least not this one. Featuring: Plant-Based Name protagonist, The Grumpy Man, The Weasley Twins but not, Reptilian wlw, and Home Brand Mal.

The Good Bits

– I love me some character driven stories. The problem being that often the characters aren’t written well enough and the whole thing is just boring. This in not one of those times and the whole thing is brilliant. And I love it.

– While we are introduced to Rosemary first, I do enjoy that there’s no real protagonist. It means that we aren’t rooting for one character over another. And I didn’t realise it until the end. It didn’t feel jumpy or anything. Just perfect.

– Space

– The approach to sex and sexuality and even gender was really interesting. I’ve been arguing for a while about how aliens wouldn’t necessarily have earths ideas about binary genders and sexualities. Logically Aliens could have 40 genders and a whole spectrum in between. And finally I’ve found a book that explores this a bit!

The Not-So-Good Bits

– While it definitely wasn’t boring, I did find the lack of anything to be a bit on the boring side. But hey, I read it in a day, so it wasn’t that bad.

– Maybe it was because I read it too quickly or something, but I found that there were too many Alien species to keep track of. This might change the second time I read it, I’m not sure. But with the descriptions to go with it, I just found it as disorienting as the million extra characters in Pride and Prejudice.

Thoughts From The Back Cover | Other Aliens and Binary

Why do aliens have to have binary gender? Gender is just a social construct.  It serves it’s purpose to have ways of differentiating between different types of people. (Binary… Apparently) The way we have it, in Western Society. We have Male and Female… (wait for it) and the less socially acceptable Gender queer and non-binary. But we don’t have domale and camale (idk I went with the trend) genders, even though if we tried to define them it might actually help people define themselves better.

But why don’t Aliens. They could have a common Trinary system for everything. Black, White, and Beige. Blue, White, and some other colour we can’t see! Male, Female, and Domale. They could have opposites in 3 different categories. We don’t know because we haven’t found any yet.  So we don’t know how they’re going to behave. They could look on our primarily binary system of coding everything and laugh. So what I’m saying is that technically, Kara Zor’el (Supergirl) being Gay is wrong. Kara being straight is wrong. Logically, by nature of her alien-ness she already doesn’t fit into Western Cultures definition of Earth Genders. So She’s Pan. Although it is convenient that she looks exactly like a human female.

Get Reading. Get Travelling.

Ash

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