As soon as I saw To Be Taught, If Fortunate by Becky Chambers on Netgalley I knew I had to read and review it. It’s only a novella, so it’s a short and fast read. I read it almost immediately but it took me quite a while to write a review. This is not a novella like any I’ve read before so I had to sort out my feelings first. And today it’s finally time to share those feelings and my thoughts about To Be Taught, If Fortunate with you all! Let’s dive in.
In her new novella, Sunday Times best-selling author Becky Chambers imagines a future in which, instead of terraforming planets to sustain human life, explorers of the solar system instead transform themselves.
Adriane is one such explorer. As an astronaut on an extrasolar research vessel, she and her fellow crewmates sleep between worlds and wake up each time with different features. Her experience is one of fluid body and stable mind and of a unique perspective on the passage of time. Back on Earth, society changes dramatically from decade to decade, as it always does.
Ariadne may awaken to find that support for space exploration back home has waned, or that her country of birth no longer exists, or that a cult has arisen around their cosmic findings, only to dissolve once more by the next waking. But the moods of Earth have little bearing on their mission: to explore, to study, and to send their learnings home.
To Be Taught, If Fortunate by Becky Chambers
Published by Hodder & Stoughton on 08/08/2019
I received this book for free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
After loving The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet by Becky Chambers, I knew I wanted to read whatever she wrote next. I have the other two books in her Wayfarers series and was very excited to find out what she would bring in a novella.
To Be Taught, If Fortunate is a novella, it’s just around 150 pages but it still packs a wonderful story. What I personally love about Becky is her ability to write very well-rounded characters with a natural diversity. In this novella we follow a space mission with 4 people and all of them are diverse in gender, sexuality and race. All this diversity is done so naturally and is just there. It doesn’t feel pushed into the story just to be diverse, nor is it made the focus of the story. These are simply the characters as they are and I find that very refreshing and my favorite way of coming across diversity. The world we live in is diverse, as soon as you walk the streets you come across all kinds of people and I love it when that’s reflected in a book.
As I said, this story follows 4 astronauts on a space mission. They go to a couple of different planets and while doing so we learn a little bit about the work of (future) astronauts and I enjoyed that more than I thought I would. We also get some little peaks at the earth as they talk to mission control. This is a pretty short story and at first I couldn’t completely figure out what the ‘point’ of the story was. While I enjoyed reading about these characters and I started to care for them, there didn’t seem to be that much of a plot. However, when I was almost at the end, the plot was revealed. And it hit me in the FEELS! I don’t want to say to much because it all comes together wonderfully and it would be a shame to know anything upfront. But I will say the last couple of pages brought tears to my face.
I can’t wait to find out what Becky writes next, and I will absolutely pick it up! She has quickly become one of my favorite science fiction authors and got me super excited to dive more into this genre.