Review: A Closed and Common Orbit by Becky Chambers

A square version of the cover of A closed and Common Orbit by Becky Chambers.
A square version of the cover of A closed and Common Orbit by Becky Chambers.

I first read a Becky Chambers book, the first book in her Wayfarers series back in 2022 during my reading challenge. I think it was the only book that year that I finished in one sitting. It was that good.

I don’t know why it took me nearly two years to getting around to reading the second book in the series but it did. Just one of those things. In any case, I read this one and really fucking enjoyed it.

This book continues to do what I absolutely adored about the first book in the series. Becky Chambers writes characters in a way that is truly just such a delight to read. The way she weaves the narrative of Sidra and Pepper and the rest feels just right.

The way alien species are used in the narrative feels…genuine? Like they aren’t there to be Cool Alien Species for us to gawk at but fully realized characters with their own little quirks, feelings and all the rest. I don’t think I’ve read/seen aliens this fleshed out this well in a while.

I think the way artificial intelligence is portrayed in this series is really well done. AI characters feel like…actual characters and not just objects to move the plot forward. The way the story handles the nuances of the relationships between AI and other sapient species in this world is thought provoking and handled with care. I got hints of the themes of The Measure of a Man in some of the narrative which is high praise as that episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation is one of best bits of sci-fi I’ve ever seen.

I think Becky Chambers is one of the best sc-ifi writers of our time. Seriously. If there is someone who is as good at writing sci-fi as she is please let me know because I want to read their books as well. It is a joy to be back in the world of the Wayfarers series and I am going to continue by reading the next book in the series next week. Reading a book series sequentially seems to be the theme of the year for me so far!

I’ll reiterate what I said in my review of the first book: if you are a sci-fi reader and haven’t read the Wayfarers series yet, you are seriously missing out!

P.S – If you are also a reader and use Storygraph, feel free to add me there! My profile is here.