A Closed and Common Orbit by Becky Chambers. Readalong week No2
I’m away at the moment so this post will be a bit brief with no links and pictures but I still wanted to post if possible so please excuse the brevity. Today is week 2 of our readalong for a Closed and Common Orbit by Becky Chambers. Now, straight to the Q&A with the customary warning of spoilers. Beware of reading further if you haven’t yet read this as spoilers will definitely be lurking!
1. Sidra has quite the range of emotional (and physical!) crises this week. What do you make of the ways she tries to cope/adjust? Do you think she can come to terms with herself?
I think Sidra can adjust. It may take a little bit of time but everything is very new to her at the moment and on top of that she needs to be careful all the time. She seems very lonely doesn’t she. Like she’s reaching out for a friend and the whole getting a tattoo experience seems to reflect this. Although she did also have some reasoning behind it. It was interesting to see her finally connect with someone and I felt a bit gutted for her when it all went horribly wrong. It all felt like she was just misbehaving and was a naughty child.
2. How would you choose what memories to delete to save new ones? Is Pepper being sensible or is it an impossible thing to ask?
That’s a difficult question. Mostly because Sidra is to an extent acting like her former self when storage space wasn’t an issue. She isn’t accustomed to the limitations and so it makes choosing difficult. At the end of the day though humans don’t recall everything. Our minds seem to be a little bit selective don’t they and I suppose Sidra will have to do the same (although we don’t really get to pick and choose do we. It’s interesting how we selectively remember the best or the worst bits – the highlights if you will). Good or bad memories most people seem to remember key points. Sidra is storing everything. She is going to have to learn to filter a little bit or even just be selective. Like. Don’t download a full library of books, keep the ones you really like. Or maybe don’t learn every language possible, learn the one you need when you need it.
3. What are your first impressions of Owl?
I like Owl. In fact I really like Owl. She’s so caring. Okay. That could be programming but even so I don’t care. I love her thought processes and the way she looks after Jane.
4. There are lots of big big themes being unpacked as we get to the end of the first part. Which one(s) stand out for you? (How) Is it explored through each timeline?
I guess the main themes for me revolve around the treatment of AIs and clones. They’re there simply to fulfil a purpose and more than that they’re created for a purpose and so it seems to not matter if they’re mistreated. To some people anyway. If we look at Sidra for example. Why should it be illegal for her to be inside a body kit. She doesn’t seem to be any more dangerous in fact if anything she’s less effective and definitely doesn’t have the same power or control as she would aboard a ship.
I really like that both the stories are very similar in that both characters are learning from scratch how to ‘be’. I also really like that Pepper, who was effectively raised by an AI is now getting to ‘raise’ an AI. There’s definitely a certain sort of symmetry to the story. They’re both like total innocents learning everything anew and I know it sounds crazy but Jane almost comes across as an AI doesn’t she? She’s very detached at the beginning although at the same time really craving companionship and Sidra seems very similar.
Basically. My thoughts are a bit of a hot mess this week and I don’t think I’m being very coherent so apologies if this is a bit jumbled Also. I’m typing all this from my phone so I also apologise now for any errors.