The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet, by Becky Chambers

TheLongWaytoaSmallAngryPlanet

This book is a delight.

This is one of the most character-focused small-scale stories I’ve read in a while; it feels both literary and feminist in that way, delving into personal moments and paying attention to humanizing (“personizing”? Several characters are aliens after all) every character. The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet has emotional depth that was often lacking in the science fiction I read growing up, and delivers the wanderlust and quiet tension of venturing between the stars. I love it for that.

This book is a series of well-crafted vignettes that build upon each other time and again. Subsequent layers add depth and import, making the journey of the ship and its crew as much an emotional one as a physical one. I know I’ve just described how most novels should work, but something about this story made me hyper-aware of that fact in a very good way. Let me try to explain.

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MICE: Lady Knights Comics Ride Forth

While I was at MICE (Massachusetts Independent Comics Expo) a little while ago I found two new comics about female knights, both of which seemed worth following and sharing. In the hopes that you too may enjoy these good things, check this out: Hannah Fisher’s Cosmoknights is a gorgeous webcomic and promises lady knights in space upending the patriarchy, and Alyssa Maynard has an excellent short piece called “I Am Not A Knight” which is intended as the opening of a much larger story.

These both look seriously good. I hope you can find and enjoy them. I’ll try to update this with a direct link to “I Am Not A Knight” when I can find one, but until then I suggest that you check out some of Alyssa Maynard’s other rad art.

The March North, by Graydon Saunders

March-North

I’ve been telling my housemate Books to read this ever since I started the series back in March. They haven’t listened to me, much to their detriment. You have a chance to do better by yourself and read this book. And if you have any appreciation for feminism, transhumanism, powerfully egalitarian worlds, entirely in-character narration, and a series that finally recognizes just how screwed up a world with horrifyingly powerful wizards would be, then you totally should read it.

To give you a little perspective, I’ve now read all three books in the series so far. I started in March. I’ve been overly busy with school for the past two weeks, to the point of feeling like tearing out my hair, and I read the third book in only a few days during that time anyway. This is good stuff. The delivery is dense, and you may have to work to keep up every so often, but it’s quite exceptionally good.

I’ll admit, the first book might not be for everyone. If you can’t enjoy military fantasy, it might not be your cup of tea. The next few have their idiosyncrasies too: I didn’t expect to have so much fun reading about people moving huge piles of dirt. But those idiosyncrasies are a mostly transparent patina on top of stories about self-discovery, formulation of identity, and choice. You may find other themes buried in here that speak to you as well (I know I did). Regardless of any lack of physical similarity, the characters in these stories are deeply human, people who are wonderful to discover.

The March North, A Succession of Bad Days, and Safely You Deliver are for sale through Google Books.