Book Reviews

Review: The Galaxy and the Ground Within by Becky Chambers

I think it’s official. I will love anything Wayfarer’s Series related. The Galaxy and the Ground Within was no different. It’s a stunning finale to what is one of my favorite series. Talk about a book that challenges xenophobia, colonization, and prejudice. Keep reading this book review to find out all my feelings.


With no water, no air, and no native life, the planet Gora is unremarkable. The only thing it has going for it is a chance proximity to more popular worlds, making it a decent stopover for ships traveling between the wormholes that keep the Galactic Commons connected. If deep space is a highway, Gora is just your average truck stop.

At the Five-Hop One-Stop, long-haul spacers can stretch their legs (if they have legs, that is), and get fuel, transit permits, and assorted supplies. The Five-Hop is run by an enterprising alien and her sometimes helpful child, who work hard to provide a little piece of home to everyone passing through.

When a freak technological failure halts all traffic to and from Gora, three strangers—all different species with different aims—are thrown together at the Five-Hop. Grounded, with nothing to do but wait, the trio—an exiled artist with an appointment to keep, a cargo runner at a personal crossroads, and a mysterious individual doing her best to help those on the fringes—are compelled to confront where they’ve been, where they might go, and what they are, or could be, to each other.


(Disclaimer: I received this book from Netgalley. This has not impacted my review which is unbiased and honest.)

The Galaxy and the Ground Within takes what I’ve loved about the series and expands it further. Chambers delivers a book full of heart. Multiple POV, The Galaxy and the Ground Within is emotional from start to finish. Throughout we not only see their stories unravel, their vulnerabilities, and fears are revealed to us. We are able to both relate to their feelings of love, difficult decisions, and rage while also seeing their differences. They all need to learn to speak to each other, to fill these gaps between them – holes of knowledge and misunderstanding.

One of my obsessions are non-humanoid aliens and Chambers always delivers! The Galaxy and the Ground Within feels almost like a slice of life. Yes there’s a temporary grounding, but it’s not a war zone and their movements and conversations, feel very much like the dance of getting to know each other. To participate in cultural sharing and discussion – despite differences of opinions and histories of injustices. The Galaxy and the Ground Within feels joyful and expansive. Rich and warm, bringing both a universality to the experience, while also acknowledging the differences and injustice.


It’s an exchange of sorts. Of how we manifest loneliness and love. Combat xenophobia and prejudice, adversity and hope. They are forced to confront the uncomfortable. The hard questions one might never ask if touch down had been just a few hours. Questions about colonization, territory, boundaries and ownership of planets. The Galaxy and the Ground Within brought tears to my eyes and made me feel a roller coaster of emotions. Find The Galaxy and the Ground Within on Goodreads, Amazon, Indiebound, & The Book Depository.


Do you have a favorite SF slice of life story?

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