Record of a Spaceborn Few is unlike anything I could have expected and I loved it. Instead of detailing vast space adventures and crew dynamics, it is a book about life. About adapting to our lives in a multi-cultural galaxy and planning for the future. It was exquisite and heartwarming all at once. Keep reading this book review for my full thoughts.
Hundreds of years ago, the last humans on Earth boarded the Exodus Fleet in search of a new home among the stars. After centuries spent wandering empty space, their descendants were eventually accepted by the well-established species that govern the Milky Way.
But that was long ago. Today, the Exodus Fleet is a living relic, the birthplace of many, yet a place few outsiders have ever visited. While the Exodans take great pride in their original community and traditions, their culture has been influenced by others beyond their bulkheads. As many Exodans leave for alien cities or terrestrial colonies, those who remain are left to ponder their own lives and futures: What is the purpose of a ship that has reached its destination? Why remain in space when there are habitable worlds available to live? What is the price of sustaining their carefully balanced way of life—and is it worth saving at all?
A young apprentice, a lifelong spacer with young children, a planet-raised traveler, an alien academic, a caretaker for the dead, and an Archivist whose mission is to ensure no one’s story is forgotten, wrestle with these profound universal questions. The answers may seem small on the galactic scale, but to these individuals, it could mean everything.
It has been so long since I’ve been in the Wayfarer’s Galaxy, but almost immediately I was taken back in by this captivating and detailed SF world. Chambers balances a thought provoking story about humanity’s future while also delivering a “slice of life” style account of the humans within this galaxy. As we leave our home planet, how does our notion of home change? How do we change? What is our connection to our traditions, to the pieces of home? Record of a Spaceborn Few is a multiple POV story that examines evolution, adaptability, and family.
The memory of the universe is long. How do we forget the past, what was said, and the injustices? Can we forget them? It’s scary to see our worlds and languages moving and changing towards a future we never thought was possible. Through assimilation and exploration, we merge our ideas and ways of life. They become, in some ways, more familiar or more alien. And Chambers describes to us a society in flux, reeling from a disaster and in the midst of this growth spurt.
Throughout the course of Record of a Spaceborn Few we learn about their lives. The ones they’ve carved from the stars, fought to exist in, and for which they traveled the galaxy. The families they’ve created and communities they’ve fostered. Just because we’ve done something one way, does not mean we should continue. All the POVs weave together in a tapestry of color and life.
Chambers delivers a story that is emotional – with its depictions of every day family life so similar to ours – while also being thought provoking – detailing our place in the vast expanse. It is truly stunning. And it might just be my favorite of the entire series. Find Record of a Spaceborn Few on Goodreads, Amazon, Indiebound, Bookshop.org & The Book Depository.