A Closed and Common Orbit by Becky Chambers readalong final week

closed-and-commonToday is the final week for our readalong of A Closed and Common Orbit by Becky Chambers.  This week takes in Part 3 to End and is hosted by Mogsy at The BiblioSanctum.   Please be aware that spoilers will be lurking below so if you haven’t read this book yet and are intending to do so you might want to get out of here!

1. At the end of the last segment, we got to meet Laurian but this week we got to know him better in Jane’s sections and learn how he factors into these flashbacks. What do you think of his and Jane’s relationship and how has it impacted your understanding of the bond between Pepper and Blue?

Well, to be honest I kind of figured out that Laurian and Blue were one and the same character.  It made sense with the strong bond that he and Pepper seemed to share.  Nothing like risky business and dangerous ventures to bring two people close together.  I think that Oouoh said the same thing to Pepper when he highlighted how obvious it was that the two of them were so close.  Speaking of Oouoh what a great character – I wouldn’t mind having a comforting hug from Oouoh when needed.

2. In this section, we saw how Jane finally made it to the GC. Sidra, in her storyline, also makes headway in freeing herself from her programming and has developed a new kind of relationship with the kit. In a way, both of them managed to accomplish what they set out to do, but what do you think they each made of their results?

I thought the lightbulb moment for Sidra when she suddenly realises she’s missing her kit and the closeness and involvement that it allows her to share with others was really excellent.  The whole ‘finding a purpose’ storyline was really clever as well I thought.  Overall it was a great defining moment for Sidra and I really liked the direction it took.

Jane had a bit of a rotten time.  I realised that she was suffering from malnutrition and assumed that was why she was so tired before she made her escape but, wow, she was carrying a whole lot more health problems than I realised – I felt exhausted on her behalf.  I felt really sorry for her though, to have gone through so much, to have escaped, to have made it in a shape being held together with sticky back plastic and string and then to have Owl taken away from her – that was harsh.

3. When the seeds of Sidra’s plan started to form, what were your thoughts? Did you have any concerns about what she might do and how things might end?

I think my  concerns for Sidra’s plan were threefold: firstly, concerning Tak and whether she could pull it off with her emotions running riot and giving her away.  I did have a momentary concern when something seemed to be happening to Sidra’s programming and (linked to that) I also wondered if Sidra might end up being over written completely somehow!  Other than that – yeah, I wasn’t worried at all (haha not much).

4. What did you make of Sidra’s comments on the nature of “Purpose”? How well do you think her views match with the examples we’ve seen so far in the story?

I liked that Sidra finally reached this conclusion and was able to adapt her own purpose.  It was sensible and spot on for all the characters when you really think about it.  Jane (and all the Janes) were created with a purpose – even though it was a horrible storyline – that still remains true.  When Jane became Pepper she came up with another purpose for herself that was really quite similar so was able to carry on in a way that would probably make her feel comfortable.  Blue – I’m not really too sure what his original purpose was but clearly he creates art to be pleasing to others as does Tak.  Owl had a very nurturing and caring role and that was consistent throughout the story.  I liked the idea of this – I’m not sure that we maybe think of it in quite so simple a fashion but even so it has a certain ring of truth.

5. What did you think of the ending, and/or any closing thoughts?

Well, I was surprised, very pleasantly.  I really expected something to go horribly wrong and as it was it seemed like everyone had a really good outcome – I still keep thinking I’ve missed something – I was so convinced that something nasty was going to occur.

A Closed and Common Orbit by Becky Chambers readalong week No.3

closed-and-commonToday is the third week for our readalong of A Closed and Common Orbit by Becky Chambers.

Here’s the schedule:

Week 1: Friday 2nd December – Start of Part 1 up to Page 94 (“…yellow, silver, white…”), hosted by Over the Effing Rainbow
Week 2: Friday 9th December – Page 95 (Jane, Age 10 “Jane was still tired…”) to End of Part 1, hosted by imyril at There’s Always Room For One More
Week 3: Friday 16th December – all of Part 2, hosted by Lynn at Lynn’s Book Blog
Week 4: Friday 23rd December – Part 3 to End, hosted by Mogsy at The BiblioSanctum

To the Q&A with the customary spoiler warning!  Be warned folks, spoilers will be lurking.  And, feel free to dive in with your comments.

So, the opening chapters brought us an apology from Tak to Sidra following the tattoo debacle.  What were your thoughts on that particular scene?
It was a touching scene really wasn’t it.  Plus was a good demonstration of Tak’s change of mind – it probably wouldn’t have occurred to Tak to apologise to an AI previously and yet here we have an apology.  The thing is, sometimes you can give offence, not out of malice but out of ignorance and I think Tak needed time to think about things.
The stories between Jane and Sidra have a certain symmetry and this week’s was no exception as we watched the pair of them almost go through a period akin to puberty.  Did any of their particular experiences bring back fond, or not so fond, memories for you?  
I don’t suppose puberty is a pleasant time for anyone.  It made me smile reading about Jane’s experiences – particularly because she didn’t have any real reference about what was really going on.  When we go through puberty we’re surrounded by a whole bunch of people who are experiencing similar things at the same time.  I must admit I didn’t have a particularly tough time during that period – the worst of my experience revolves around having a face that turns crimson at the slightest thing – and then having a host of people only too happy to point it out.  “Ohh, you’ve gone all red”  *yeah, thanks, I had no idea!*
I love the two separate storylines going on here and though Jane and Sidra share some common ground I think their stories both have something different to say.  What are your thoughts on that?
I guess the two stories are about survival but in different ways.  Jane is living on a planet in fairly dire circumstances.  She seems to be slowly starving and every time she goes out she risks either attack by feral dogs, hurting herself on the terrain or some other accident.  Sidra on the other hand is trying to survive by learning how to blend in.  She isn’t going to starve and physical attack seems unlikely but nonetheless her situation is still serious.  She’s in an illegal kit – I have no idea what the repercussions of discovery would be but I imagine it would involve her being closed down somehow!  I confess it still does my head in why this body kit is illegal but that’s a whole other thing!
I’m curious about the Enhanced.  We haven’t really spent a lot of time with them but I still  think we can draw some conclusions.  Is there any aspect of the Enhanced and the planet on which they live that really caught your attention?
I can’t help wondering if the Enhanced are in some way reflective of our lives to some extent but magnified – I’m over simplifying but we live in a society that has a very ‘throw away’ attitude – the planet that Jane is on seems to have a huge ass scrap pile!  The Enhanced – kind of makes you think that the people have been genetically modified to perhaps make them perfect – so maybe a little bit focused on outside appearances – I’m just saying.
At the end of the chapters we have a couple of new developments.  Sidra has managed to alter the protocols that compel her to speak the truth and the spaceship that Jane escaped in has been uncovered.  Do you have any predictions how either of these might affect what is yet to come?
Well, we’re getting into the last chapters so I’m a bit worried about what exactly is going to go horribly wrong – maybe nothing – you never know, but I got a bad feeling!  I’m hoping that the fact that Sidra doesn’t have to tell the truth might get them out of a sticky situation but I have no reason to suspect that, I just can’t help wondering if there was a hidden reason for it all.  As to the uncovering of the spaceship – I don’t know what that signifies really – other than it being a way to bringing Owl back to fill in the final chapters of Jane’s story.

A Closed and Common Orbit by Becky Chambers, readalong week 1

closed-and-commonYesterday was the first post for our readalong of A Closed and Common Orbit by Becky Chambers.  Sorry I’m a bit late with this posting but I’ve been a bit laid low with a bad cold:

Here’s the schedule:

Week 1: Friday 2nd December – Start of Part 1 up to Page 94 (“…yellow, silver, white…”), hosted by Over the Effing Rainbow
Week 2: Friday 9th December – Page 95 (Jane, Age 10 “Jane was still tired…”) to End of Part 1, hosted by imyril at There’s Always Room For One More
Week 3: Friday 16th December – all of Part 2, hosted by Lynn at Lynn’s Book Blog
Week 4: Friday 23rd December – Part 3 to End, hosted by Mogsy at The BiblioSanctum


To the Q&A with the customary spoiler warning!  Be warned folks, spoilers will be lurking.

1. So this story picks up more or less where The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet left off, but rather than having an ensemble cast on an adventure, it seems this story is much more intimately focused on Lovelace (later named Sidra) and ‘Jane 23’. What’s your initial response to this shift in the narrative style between books? Is it one you appreciate or do you think you’ll miss the ensemble aspect (assuming you’ve read Small Angry Planet)?

I’m enjoying this style very much to be honest.  Both of the characters are easy to read about and the difference in style for both works really well.  We have the flashbacks to Jane 23 which for me is making for a fascinating story and then we are experiencing Sidra’s reactions to her new body which are also really interesting to read about.  Very intriguing way to write the story.

2. Sidra’s first experiences of living confined to a body mean that readers get to see her new home, and her new world, through the eyes of someone who’s never experienced it in such a way before. What aspects of Sidra’s first days ‘on the ground’ on Coriol stand out to you, and why?

I think this is a great idea.  It allows the author to share lots of new things with us because we’re experiencing all these new things at the same time as Sidra.  It allows for information to be given in a way that isn’t resorting to huge info dumps or great chunks of dialogue that come off as unnatural.  I love the way Sidra’s tale is told in a detached way.  Like she talks about herself as though her body is just a ship or housing.  In terms of her first days on Coriol I think what stood out for me the most was the way Sidra experiences anxiety if she can’t really see things properly.  The way she jumps when somebody approaches her from behind (because she can’t see them beforehand).  The whole idea of getting used to being much more restricted is interesting to observe and really well done.

3. The POV switches regularly between Sidra in the present and Jane 23, a clone raised in some form of slave labour with many others of her kind, when she was a 10-year old girl. What do you make of Jane and her upbringing at this point, and where do you think her story might be going from here? Does her story interest you as much as Sidra’s (or vice versa)?

I find the Jane 23 story really intriguing to be honest and if forced to choose I’d say that aspect is the most interesting to me so far.  The way all these girls are being kept and used as slave labour.  It’s really awful and I’m curious to see whether anything happens to the camp after ‘Jane’ finally makes her getaway.  Clearly these girls are all clones and the camp has an ‘illegal’ type feel – to me anyway.  It puts me in mind a little of Cloud Atlas which also has a theme concerning the use of clones as little more than slaves and with no real rights or worth in society.  And the ‘mothers’ scary, brrr.  Faceless AI who can move fast.  I hate to think what ending Jane 64 met with.

4. In general, what’s stood out the most to you about these chapters so far, and why? Has anything raised questions or curiosity, or particularly turned you off? Discuss your favourite bits!

I think what stands out to me most so far is the difference in storytelling style between this and the first book.  And not only in terms of following the two main pov narratives.  Looking back at LWtaSAP the crew and their adventures had a really, almost warm and cosy glow or atmosphere, there was all the banter and the light hearted camaraderie between them all and even if some of the characters didn’t get along it had an almost homelike family feel.  Here we’re reading along with Sidra who is coming to terms with a whole new way of ‘being’ and also reading the back story of Jane.  Both are quite lonely and sad feeling.  Not in a way that puts me off or makes the reading dour, as I said above, I’m finding this quite fascinating at the moment – even though I have no idea at this point where the story is going in terms of plot – I’m just enjoying the more up close and personal feel to it all.

Favourite bits – I enjoyed Sidra’s first experience of a party, reading about her first introduction to alcohol and the images that come along with the experience. In terms of Jane – I really like the part that we just reached where having escaped whatever those monsters were that were chasing her, she finds herself on board some sort of capsule with an AI, and the AI decides to drop the numbers from her name – it’s a small thing but really quite touching!

Favourite quote:

‘And seriously, anybody working in a job that doesn’t let you take a nap when you need to should get a new job.  Present company excluded of course.  This!! (apparently I need to look for a new job – no naps in my current employ!)

‘Beam me up Scotty’: Sci Fi Month 2016 #RRSciFiMonth

That’s it folks.  Sci fi month 2016 ends today – and what a great month it’s been.  I’ve had a great time and I hope you all have too!  I was determined to write, post and watch lots of sci-fi (well, lots in terms of my own normal posting) and I managed to do so so I’m all coloured happy. I watched a few films, particularly enjoyed Jurassic Park.  Read and reviewed three books and managed to highlight 4 sci fi books that I’m looking forward to as part of my Waiting on Wednesday posts.

I have to give a great big hand of applause to Rinn Reads and Over The Effing Rainbow for doing such a stella job of hosting and I have to say that I hope they do so again next year as I’m actually going to formulate plans next time around!  That’s right – there are actually going to be PLANS (although in fairness, I probably said that same thing last year – however, this time there really are going to be plans)!!

So, as one door closes, another usually opens.  We currently have a readalong about to start for Becky Chambers A Closed and Common Orbit – starting literally in the next couple of days but if you’re interested in joining in you could easily catch up as it’s a nice gentle pace (and when I say catch up I mean jump on board because we’ve not started yet – details here).  Also, in the New Year, the Little Red Reviewer will be hosting her annual Vintage Sci Fi month – so dig out your old vintage sci fi books, films, covers, tv – whatever, and join in.  Lots to still look forward to people.

Finally, just in case you needed a little pick me up – here – just for you:

Live long and prosper 😀


Read all about it…#RRSciFiMonth


A quick post to notify you of a readalong that starts at the beginning of December.  I’m announcing this now whilst we’re still in Sci Fi Month (hosted by Rinn Reads and Over the Effing Rainbow) to give you all time to lay your hands on a copy and take part.  I’m just thoughtful like that.  Anyway, if you’ve read Becky Chamber’s Long Way to a Small Angry Planet and fancy getting on board for the next adventure this readalong could be just for you.  Here are all the details plus the link to the Goodreads page (schedule pasted below for quick ref).  If you fancy joining in then dive in with the comments or stop on over to the Goodreads page so we can all welcome you aboard.

And now, for the science bit…

A Closed and Common Orbit (Wayfarers #2):

closed-and-commonLovelace was once merely a ship’s artificial intelligence. When she wakes up in an new body, following a total system shut-down and reboot, she has no memory of what came before. As Lovelace learns to negotiate the universe and discover who she is, she makes friends with Pepper, an excitable engineer, who’s determined to help her learn and grow.

Together, Pepper and Lovey will discover that no matter how vast space is, two people can fill it together.

The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet introduced readers to the incredible world of Rosemary Harper, a young woman with a restless soul and secrets to keep. When she joined the crew of the Wayfarer, an intergalactic ship, she got more than she bargained for – and learned to live with, and love, her rag-tag collection of crewmates.

A Closed and Common Orbit is the stand-alone sequel to Becky Chambers’ beloved debut novel The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet and is perfect for fans of Firefly, Joss Whedon, Mass Effectand Star Wars.

Here’s the schedule:

Week 1: Friday 2nd December – Start of Part 1 up to Page 94 (“…yellow, silver, white…”), hosted by Over the Effing Rainbow
Week 2: Friday 9th December – Page 95 (Jane, Age 10 “Jane was still tired…”) to End of Part 1, hosted by imyril at There’s Always Room For One More
Week 3: Friday 16th December – all of Part 2, hosted by Lynn at Lynn’s Book Blog
Week 4: Friday 23rd December – Part 3 to End, hosted by Mogsy at The BiblioSanctum


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