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The Galaxy, and the Ground Within

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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 space 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.


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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 space 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.

30 review for The Galaxy, and the Ground Within

  1. 5 out of 5

    leo | 飛べ

    *SCREAMING ALL THE WAY TO HASHKATH*

  2. 5 out of 5

    Charlotte May

    Another book in the Wayfarers series? Sign me up!!!!

  3. 5 out of 5

    Emer (A Little Haze)

    And so with this novel Becky Chambers completes her Wayfarers quartet... and honestly, it was the perfect ending. It’s a book that manages to feel incredibly expansive with its cast of characters, but also beautifully intimate. If you haven’t read any of the Wayfarers novels before now I completely recommend that you rectify that promptly. Each book is set in the same universe but have their own unique storyline so technically can be enjoyed in any order. As with any Chambers’ novel the emphasis And so with this novel Becky Chambers completes her Wayfarers quartet... and honestly, it was the perfect ending. It’s a book that manages to feel incredibly expansive with its cast of characters, but also beautifully intimate. If you haven’t read any of the Wayfarers novels before now I completely recommend that you rectify that promptly. Each book is set in the same universe but have their own unique storyline so technically can be enjoyed in any order. As with any Chambers’ novel the emphasis is placed on character over plot. The plot just acts to throw a disparate group of aliens together to see how they’ll all interact over the course of a short few days. And how they interact is deeply fascinating. Each character felt completely unique from their personality to their physical description. I love how Chambers uses different alien species to create a commentary on the diversity of and the inclusivity that is needed here in our own time. Here we have a mix of five characters from four different species. Ouloo and Tupo are a Laru mother and child. Roveg is a Quelin. Pei, who we know as Ashby’s love interest from The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet, is an Aeluon. And Speaker is an Akarak. I particularly loved how there was no human main character because I think it really emphasised the main theme of this book of finding commonality with someone so incredibly different from yourself. In my opinion, Chambers is an absolute master at creating these different alien characters as each not only had a personal backstory but we were given entire species backstories. I don’t know if you’d technically refer to it as world building but whatever it is it’s flawless. I lived and breathed these characters as I read so real did they feel to me. Confining the characters to the one location for a number of days was an ingenious idea. It was the perfect snapshot of people starting as strangers and getting to quickly develop their relationships as they learned more about each other and each other’s beliefs. And can I just applaud how Chambers uses a child character with gender neutral pronouns to explore the concept of gender and to illustrate how it’s a societal construct... I loved the relationship of the child character Tupo with xyr mother Ouloo and how Ouloo was so supportive of letting her child discover who xyr are in xyr own time. I completely adored this book. There was absolutely nothing I would change about it. Admittedly I’m a little sad to say goodbye to the Galactic Commons of the Wayfarers series because of how much these books mean to me, but I’m also excited to see where Becky Chambers will next take her readers. I for one will definitely be coming along for the ride. Recommended to fans of intelligent character driven fiction and anyone who likes to dream of what a life among the stars might be like. *An e-copy was kindly provided to me by the publisher via NetGalley for honest review* Publishing 18th February 2021, Hodder & Stoughton For more reviews and book related chat check out my blog Follow me on Twitter Friend me on Goodreads

  4. 4 out of 5

    AnnaLuce

    / / / Read more reviews on my blog / / / This basically was The Breakfast Club but with aliens. Die-hard fans of the Wayfarers series will probably appreciate The Galaxy, and the Ground Within. While I loved The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet I was not as taken by its sequel nor by this rather anticlimactic conclusion. The Galaxy, and the Ground Within follows a somewhat basic premise: a bunch of strangers from vastly differentiating backgrounds are forced into close quarters due to circumstanc / / / Read more reviews on my blog / / / This basically was The Breakfast Club but with aliens. Die-hard fans of the Wayfarers series will probably appreciate The Galaxy, and the Ground Within. While I loved The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet I was not as taken by its sequel nor by this rather anticlimactic conclusion. The Galaxy, and the Ground Within follows a somewhat basic premise: a bunch of strangers from vastly differentiating backgrounds are forced into close quarters due to circumstances out of their control. Over the course of a few days, they bond and discover that they are not so different and they learn to push aside their prejudices and preconceived notions of 'Others'. The fact that they belong to different species does give this scenario a fresh new angle but ultimately Chambers incorporated the same kind of simplified discussions about social & cultural differences. Chambers often dumbs down potentially interesting arguments so that many of the discussions arising around relevant social issues lack nuance. The story follows Pei, an Aeluon, Speaker, an Akarak, and Roveg, a Quelin. They all end up grounded at the Five-Hop One-Stop which is run by Ouloo, a Laru. They have all lead distinctive lives and they also necessitate differentiating things given that they belong to a different species. Oxygen, for example, would be lethal to Speaker. At first, they view the others as mere aliens but the more time they spend together—picnics and get-togethers—the more they begin to see the others as individuals in their own right. There is some conflict due to Akarak not being considered a sapient species and therefore they are not part of the GC. They were colonized by another species and are now regarded with distrust. Pei is fighting for the Aeluons against the Rosk (whom, if I record correctly, they had previously colonized). While Chambers can be creative when it comes to language (they all happen to mention untranslatable words that are emblematic of their species' culture) the gender angle is a bit more tired. In fact, it does not hold a candle to some species from our animal kingdom. It was a bit weird that so many alien species had a gender and I found myself wishing for some genderless aliens. Ouloo's child uses xyr/xe pronouns but after puberty, xe will be either female or male....which, why not have a species that is exclusively not gendered (as opposed to having species where you can be female, male, and or agender)? Similarly, it seemed weird to me that all of the characters' thoughts and felt in similar way (even if Aeluons express themselves through the colors in their cheeks). Why do they all feel the same type of emotions? That they all spoke as if they were therapists made them blur together in spite of their alleged differences. Most of the scenes included in the narrative seemed to try hard to be cute or sweet or heartwarming but I found them unbearably cheesy. And on the topic of cheese, that whole discussion about how weird cheese is was so necessary, the same goes for that discussion on shoes (they are like clothes for feet, ahah, so funny). Given that they have all interacted with or have knowledge of other species it seemed weird that they would go on about cheese and shoes as if these are flabbergasting concepts. Although I appreciated Chambers inclusion of diverse languages it would have been interesting to learn whether contact between so many different species and the predominance of Klip as a spoken language, had resulted in language death for certain species. At one point the narrative seems to imply that Laru is spoken no longer but later on (if I remember correctly) this information is contradicted. The story is slow and consists of these characters bonding and widening their mindsets. Explorations of serious and potentially topical issues, such as reproductive rights, are approached with simplicity ("Because I didn't want to. And when it comes to a person's body, that is all the reason there ever needs to be,"). Similarly, the whole Pei/Speaker confrontation results in both making 'valid' points. The most interesting thing about this novel is the fact that it concerns non-humans but, to be honest, their experiences, desires, fears, and arcs felt a bit too 'human'. I'm sure that Chamers aficionados will be able to love this in a way that I wasn't but if I had to be completely honest with myself, reading it felt like a waste of my time. ARC provided by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Ash

    Thank you to NetGalley and Harper Voyager for providing me with an ARC in exchange for an honest review. To say I was excited to get a Becky Chambers ARC would be an understatement. Becky Chambers has quickly become one of my favorite authors of all time, and I will read every single thing she publishes until the day she stops writing or the day I die, whichever comes first. In particular, her Wayfarers series never fails to transport me to this amazing world she’s developed. Something I really en Thank you to NetGalley and Harper Voyager for providing me with an ARC in exchange for an honest review. To say I was excited to get a Becky Chambers ARC would be an understatement. Becky Chambers has quickly become one of my favorite authors of all time, and I will read every single thing she publishes until the day she stops writing or the day I die, whichever comes first. In particular, her Wayfarers series never fails to transport me to this amazing world she’s developed. Something I really enjoyed about The Galaxy, and the Ground Within is that, unlike the previous books in this series, which were very centered around the Human experience in Chambers’ world of the Galactic Commons, none of the point-of-view characters were Human. We have Ouloo, the Laru owner of the Five-Hop One-Stop and single mother of Tupo; Speaker, an Akarak traveling with her sister, Tracker; Roveg, an exiled Quelin artist; and Pei, an Aeluon captain we originally met in The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet. As a result of finally focusing on more than just the Human perspective, Chambers really shows off her worldbuilding skills in this book. Almost the entire book takes place in one location, and yet I learned so much about different species, different worlds, different cultures, some of the political issues within the Galactic Commons, and more. I spend so much time in my reviews praising Chambers for her characters, and I truly do love her characters, but I wanted to add some praise for her worldbuilding up front because it’s honestly just as good as her character development and deserves the attention. Now back to the characters. A Close and Common Orbit was my favorite book in the series so far in part because of how much I related to one of the main characters, Sidra. I’ve always enjoyed Chambers’ characters, but there’s something special and validating about a character who’s going through something you’ve been through. I was able to get that experience again in The Galaxy, and the Ground Within with Pei. Pei is in a relationship with Ashby, the Human captain from The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet, which they have to keep a secret because Aeluons have a strong taboo against interspecies romance. Pei’s internal struggle between not wanting to keep this secret any longer but also not wanting to damage her career by telling everyone the truth was very similar to the internal struggle I went through when I was in the closet. Not for the first time reading one of Chambers’ books, I felt seen. I fell in love with the other characters as well. Ouloo and Tupo were so wholesome, especially their efforts to make all their guests feel welcome. Roveg was impossible not to like, and his budding friendship with Speaker was heartwarming. In typical Chambers fashion, The Galaxy, and the Ground Within is an extremely character-driven story, maybe even more so than any of the previous books in this series. If you like that about this series, you’ll probably like this book too. If you didn’t, you probably won’t. My one complaint about this book – other than the lack of plot, which I more or less expected – would be that the characters felt more introspective than in previous books, to the point where I sometimes felt I was being told and not shown their personalities and emotions. But overall, as always, the characters were great, their relationships were great, and the worldbuilding was spectacular.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Giulia

    What's this sound, you ask? Oh, dear. It's me screeching, obviously. What's this sound, you ask? Oh, dear. It's me screeching, obviously.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Trish

    The Lovers' Farewell Think of home when you are far from here. Let it be your comfort. Think of us when you are alone. Remember always our bright days, Remember song, Remember joy. Remember the purple sky. Remember dark faces, old and beloved. Remember children, their shells still white. Cheese! And an embarrassingly out-of-their-depth government agency that very much reminded me of governments and how they are (not) handling this pandemic. Just two very hilarious / poignant details in this 4th volume The Lovers' Farewell Think of home when you are far from here. Let it be your comfort. Think of us when you are alone. Remember always our bright days, Remember song, Remember joy. Remember the purple sky. Remember dark faces, old and beloved. Remember children, their shells still white. Cheese! And an embarrassingly out-of-their-depth government agency that very much reminded me of governments and how they are (not) handling this pandemic. Just two very hilarious / poignant details in this 4th volume of the Wayfarers series and yes, there is a direct connection to the characters of the first book. :) We’re on the planet Gora, a barren world known only because it happens to be situated closely to more popular worlds, making it the perfect stopover for ships traveling between the wormholes that keep this series’ galaxy connected. At the "Five-Hop One-Stop", spacers can get fuel, transit permits and assorted supplies. But when something happens (what exactly is quite unimportant), three such spacers (all different species) are suddenly stranded with the alien running the place and her offspring. The actual story is about who these individuals are, where they’ve been and where they want to go from here. As is usual for this author, the story is not about explosions and action scenes, but about the character studies and developments. This results in a very colorful and interesting story but one that isn’t "loud". Either one likes that sort of thing or one doesn’t. I happen to appreciate both, depending on the execution. Especially since the "quietness" of this series doesn’t mean no deep and complicated matters such as (class) warfare, intercultural expansion, physical disabilities or other socio-political problems are being addressed. I also liked the setting in which the topics where explored. I mean, what do you do if you can’t just walk away? If you can’t just call emergency services in case of an actual emergency? When you’re stranded and shut in? While I did like volumes 2 and 3 of the series a lot, volume 1 will always be the best - but this 4th volume is a very close second! The writing style was once again wonderful, the descriptions rich and conveying the necessary gravitas of certain events while also highlighting emotional impacts, letting the events flow as smoothly as any conventional, action-packed adventure story. Moreover, there were some nods to the other books and a strong bond with the first that had me laugh in delight (including a serious "d’aw"-moment). :D The series is a bit different from the usual sci-fi stuff out there, but truly great.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Katy

    Once again Becky Chambers has restored my faith in humanity. This novel feels like the perfect remedy to the shit show that was 2020 and honestly could not have come at a more perfect time. Her writing has this captivating quality that takes you in it's arms and makes you feel like everything is going to be okay with the world. The Galaxy and The Ground Within is a very quiet yet profound novel and personally I think it's such a refreshing change from a lot of the high octane sci-fi thillers we Once again Becky Chambers has restored my faith in humanity. This novel feels like the perfect remedy to the shit show that was 2020 and honestly could not have come at a more perfect time. Her writing has this captivating quality that takes you in it's arms and makes you feel like everything is going to be okay with the world. The Galaxy and The Ground Within is a very quiet yet profound novel and personally I think it's such a refreshing change from a lot of the high octane sci-fi thillers we get nowadays. The major theme of the book is a contemplation on what it means to accept both others and yourelf, to me this is such a beautiful thing to explore and definetly a lesson I think a lot of the world needs, on treating people who are different from you with respect, grace and kindness. In terms of plot and characters, we follow a small group of characters (who I absolutely adore, they might be my fvaourite cast of the wayfayers books, although I do also adore the wayfayer crew in the long way), who are all strangers at the start of the novel, but due to unforseen circumstances they are stuck together planetside on Gora. Gora is a planet which doesn't have its own indiginous species, but instead has become a sort of stopover port, in the middle of a wormhole gate system. The main charcaters we follow are: Ouloo - Ouloo is the owner of the one stop five hop, a sort of resort for travellers to take a rest on their way to where they are going next, whilst waiting for their turn in the wormhole gate crew. Ouloo is mother to Tupo and is very passionate about making her guests feel welcome and accepted. Tupo - Xe is Ouloo's child and is one of my favoruite characters ever. Becky chambers perfectly captured the spirit of a pre-teen/teenager who wants to be xyr own person but also very much still needs xyr parent. Tupo is sweet yet mischivous and so curious about the world. Pei - Another one of my absolute favourites, we have actually met Pei before, as Ashby's love interest. But seeing her on her own and discovering her character as an indivual, her wants and goals, as well as her struggles (paticularly about her relationship with Ashby - which she feels a lot of guilt about) was such a pleasure to read. Her storyline is so beautiful, coming to terms with what she wants for her life and standing up for herself to herself (idk if that makes sense but it's the best way I can describe it!). Also some of the choices she maes towards the end of the book were so impactful and I think will resonate with a lot of women. Roveg - Roveg is a Quelin, an species which has ostracised themselves from the rest of the GC, who is exile and is very much the glue who holds this fledgeling group together (Pei and Speaker have very strong perosnalities and Roveg is the perfect balance to this). Keeping his own secrets and anxieties about the situation is character arc is very interesting to watch unfold throughout the novel. I also love how respectful and interested he is in other cultures and how fundamentally tied to his character this is. Speaker - She is another character who I just feel head over heels for, part of the Akarak race, a species we don't know much about, nor do the rest of the GC, Speaker has made herself into someone who is almost an ambassador for her species, however she often feels this burden and wants people to just accept her for who she is rather than who she presents to the world. She is also seperated from her twin sister at the start of the novel and you truly feel her anxiety and love for her sister and wanting to get back to her. We watch as the characters grow closer in their forced proximity, but also how they clash with one another and their differing world (galaxy?) views. Also how the characters are forced to take a break from their everyday lives and just spend a few days doing very little, just looking after themsleves and the others they are stuck with. This is a very important takeaway, especially with the current work climate of work yourself to death, as well as a reflection on how COVID has forced a lot of us to take a break and maye reflect a little on what we truly want from life. There are so many beautiful quotes in this book, as well as some really emotional character moments, paticularly around themes of parenthood (which I am always a sucker for). Also some really sweet and wholesome moments, especially around the sharing of food and how that can help bring people together - another theme which resonated deeply with me. Finally there is an element of medicine/healing care which of course I also loved!!!! In conclusion The Galaxy and the Ground Within is probably tied with the Long Way to a Small Angry Planet for my favourite Wayfayers book, a beautiful novel about where you've been, where you are and where you are going.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Tyler

    Please please please let this story bring us back to our first spaceborn crew from book 1.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Lauren James

    [Gifted] This was fascinating. It's definitely one for the zoologists out there - there aren't any human characters for most of the story. Instead, four different alien species with incredibly different physiologies are stuck in a small habitat dome together with no communications for a week. All of them have their own desperate reasons for leaving as quickly as possible, but despite their impatience they find themselves fascinated by the differences and similarities between each other's bodies a [Gifted] This was fascinating. It's definitely one for the zoologists out there - there aren't any human characters for most of the story. Instead, four different alien species with incredibly different physiologies are stuck in a small habitat dome together with no communications for a week. All of them have their own desperate reasons for leaving as quickly as possible, but despite their impatience they find themselves fascinated by the differences and similarities between each other's bodies and societies. Like all Becky's novels, this is incredibly kind-hearted - while it deeply examines every aspect of culture, none of these aliens are mean or bad or capable of commiting the very human type of crimes you might expect from a locked room novel. This was a very tender exploration of all the many ways there are to live, love, reproduce, and cook dessert. There isn't much plot to speak of, but there are lobster centaurs, kangaroo horses, chameleons bipeds and bird sloths. Which more than makes up for the quiet parts, in my book.

  11. 5 out of 5

    La La

    4.5 on the blog. An almost perfect ending to a series of companion books I have loved to the moon and back. The first book, The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet, is still at the top of my Wayfarers heap; it being one of those books I would give six stars to if I could. The others only come in at 4.5 stars being judged against Long Way, and not SciFi literature in general. They are all strong contenders in the SciFi genre as a whole. I'm sorry to see the stories of the Wayfarer and her crew, their 4.5 on the blog. An almost perfect ending to a series of companion books I have loved to the moon and back. The first book, The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet, is still at the top of my Wayfarers heap; it being one of those books I would give six stars to if I could. The others only come in at 4.5 stars being judged against Long Way, and not SciFi literature in general. They are all strong contenders in the SciFi genre as a whole. I'm sorry to see the stories of the Wayfarer and her crew, their families, friends, and acquaintances come to an end. This will be a series I will re-read more than once as I have the Dune series. I was approved for an eARC, via NetGalley, in return for an honest review.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Andreas

    Unpopular opinion incoming: Synopsis: Three aliens are stranded at their hosts for a few days on a backwater planet due to global technical reasons: Pei gives a comeback from the first novel. She is an Aeulon and a military cargo runner who won't make it to the rendezvous with her human lover. Roveg, an exiled lobster-like Quelin, is a creator of vacation simulations who needs to make a vital appointment. Speaker, a methane-breathing Akarak in a mechsuit, worries for her sister in the orbit. These Unpopular opinion incoming: Synopsis: Three aliens are stranded at their hosts for a few days on a backwater planet due to global technical reasons: Pei gives a comeback from the first novel. She is an Aeulon and a military cargo runner who won't make it to the rendezvous with her human lover. Roveg, an exiled lobster-like Quelin, is a creator of vacation simulations who needs to make a vital appointment. Speaker, a methane-breathing Akarak in a mechsuit, worries for her sister in the orbit. These three are hosted by Ouloo and her adolescent child Tupo. No humans involved at all. They get to learn each others' backgrounds, and separate as soon as possible again. Review: This fourth novel concludes the author's Wayfarer series, and it isn't to be expected that Chambers will return to this universe.  Embrace the xenology in this chamberplay, because the plot or setting is nearly not existent. It could be played against a grey curtain without loosing too much. The novel has all the charming, positive, and sometimes funny atmosphere as all the previous novels and dives deep into the characterizations and the relationships between the five protagonists. There are a couple of social conflicts, some of them caused by misinterpretation, others by contrary attitudes. None of them are heavy-weight or lead to fights.  The novel doesn't feel like an end to the series, there is no huge showdown or any wow-effect at all, and could be randomly read as a second or third volume. It flows calmly page after page without a tension arc and is inconsequential for the series. There's nothing keeping the reader bound to the narration than the lovely characters.  As a series finale, it is utterly anticlimatic. As part of the series it is redundant and gives the reader just more of what has been told before in other colours. If you really need that additional layer of icing, then you'll be happy. 

  13. 5 out of 5

    Taylor

    Becky Chamber: [announces a fourth Wayfarers book] Me: Becky Chamber: [announces a fourth Wayfarers book] Me:

  14. 4 out of 5

    Emma

    The entire Wayfarer series has been absolutely awesome, each entry wonderful in its own right, every one my new favourite. I adored all the characters in this story and found it very moving. Gave me the warm and fuzzies. Recommended.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Bertie (LuminosityLibrary)

    The Galaxy, and the Ground Within was the perfect ending to the Wayfarers series, and I can't wait to see what Becky Chambers does next as she's definitely solidified into one of my favourite authors. After the last book, it was refreshing to have a story that focused almost solely on aliens. A group of different aliens stuck on a planet together for a few days, learning to understand each other's culture and their misconceptions. Becky Chambers is the master at pulling together deep themes in a The Galaxy, and the Ground Within was the perfect ending to the Wayfarers series, and I can't wait to see what Becky Chambers does next as she's definitely solidified into one of my favourite authors. After the last book, it was refreshing to have a story that focused almost solely on aliens. A group of different aliens stuck on a planet together for a few days, learning to understand each other's culture and their misconceptions. Becky Chambers is the master at pulling together deep themes in a heartfelt and optimistic way. The way this book handled topics such as imperialism, genocide, war, resource scarcity, cultural differences, & xenophobia was wonderfully sensitive and nuanced. This book was exactly what I expected it was going to be, but that's not a bad thing with a series as comforting as this. The character depth, the gentle seriousness, and optimism is something I'll always enjoy. I don't have much to say because this book was just brilliant. If you enjoy character-focused, light sci-fi that doesn't have much of a plot but is thoughtful and optimistic, this is a read for you. CW: xenophobia, illness, injury, minor medical content, confinement, genocide, minor vomiting. Thanks to Netgalley and Hodder & Stoughton for providing me with an ARC in exchange for an honest review If you enjoy diverse sci-fi you should check out my Blog! You could also follow me on Twitter or Instagram.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Steve

    ... and that's why Becky Chambers has become one of my favorite authors ... ever... OK, I've been waiting for this for a while.... I bought into the Wayfarers serial hook, line, and sinker, long before Long Way, https://www.goodreads.com/review/show..., became popular (and the trilogy won the Hugo best series award). It spoke to me ... it made me smile ... it made me laugh ... but most of all, it made me think ... and ... feel and, OK, like the rest of the books in the series, it made me cry, and ... and that's why Becky Chambers has become one of my favorite authors ... ever... OK, I've been waiting for this for a while.... I bought into the Wayfarers serial hook, line, and sinker, long before Long Way, https://www.goodreads.com/review/show..., became popular (and the trilogy won the Hugo best series award). It spoke to me ... it made me smile ... it made me laugh ... but most of all, it made me think ... and ... feel and, OK, like the rest of the books in the series, it made me cry, and that's OK. And each of the books that followed ... each different, unique, creative and wonderous in its own way ... continued to satisfy. So many thoughts on this one ... which, obviously, felt more in line with Long Way... and Orbit..., https://www.goodreads.com/review/show..., and (arguably, my favorite,) Spaceborn Few..., https://www.goodreads.com/review/show..., than To Be Taught..., https://www.goodreads.com/review/show..., and initially seemed more modest, or small, or quaint, ... but, ultimately, proved to be so much more.... OK, it felt like it started slow, but patience pays dividends in that (in the edition I read ... more on that below), the first 230 pages felt like a mosaic being assembled before all hell broke loose (again, in a precise, limited fashion), the worm turned, everything became something else, and then the waterworks got turned on. (OK, OK, I'm a sap, but Chambers has been pushing my buttons for years now, so I can't apologize for getting all weepy ... again and again ... through the last 100 pages.) Phew! What a ride! I've come to learn, over the years, that, despite her popularity, Chambers doesn't speak to everyone. I try not ascribe that to others' lack of empathy or humanity or goodwill or inclusiveness, but ... if we've learned anything in the lasts five years, it's that we share a planet (and a nation and a community) with many who choose hate over love, exclusion over inclusion, and ... well ... without going too far afield (and at the risk of offending), I feel pretty confident suggesting that the hardest-of-the-hard-core base of America's Republican Party in 2021 wouldn't find much to appreciate in, or be uniquely receptive to, Chambers' worldview, message, morality, philosophy, and storytelling. The cover of book I read has a prominent Guardian riff referring to Chambers' work as "quietly profound [and] humane," and that pretty much says it all for me. Chambers' books may not be the most exciting or lyrical or innovative (in terms of the technology or world building), but, yes, to this reader, they are exquisitely, beautifully, poignantly ... quietly profound and humane. And, for that, I cherish them. Book-buyer's nit: Despite my increasingly militant commitment to buying books exclusively through my (wonderful, neighborhood) local independent bookseller, I fully concede I bought this one through Amazon, from a non-U.S. vendor, because I didn't feel like waiting for the U.S. release date. (OK, OK, I've did the same with Stieg Larsson and, for many years, Joe Nesbo - I used to buy the early Harry Hole books in international airport bookstores, long before they were released, out of order, here in the U.S., but I digress.) Far be it from me to understand these weighty issues, but why should the rest of the world be reading this before we can buy a copy? Elephant in the room? In the acknowledgements, after the epilogue, Chambers pretty clearly suggests that this is the last book in the series. I had feared that might be the case after Spaceborn Few, which was why To Be Taught was such a pleasant surprise. If this is the end, I'm pleased that I was along for the ride, and I'll always treasure the journey. Regardless, I look forward to whatever she publishes next.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Anniek

    This was an amazing end to an amazing series, but let's be honest: I would have happily read many more installments. This was such an interesting slice-of-life story about people of different species who all end up together stuck in the same place by circumstance and they have to make the most of it. This turned into such a heartwarming, friendly book that fits perfectly in the most comforting sci-fi series I've ever read. This was an amazing end to an amazing series, but let's be honest: I would have happily read many more installments. This was such an interesting slice-of-life story about people of different species who all end up together stuck in the same place by circumstance and they have to make the most of it. This turned into such a heartwarming, friendly book that fits perfectly in the most comforting sci-fi series I've ever read.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Bruna Oliveira

    Thanks NetGalley and the publisher for the digital copy in exchange for an honest review. This book is set on Gora, basically a planet which has the sole purpose of being a waiting place for those ships that will enter into the next wormhole and have to wait for authorization for such We first meet Ouloo and Tupo, a Laru mother and her teenager son, who have an establishment there for those who are waiting. They will receive three guests on the same day: Speaker, an Akarak, Roveg, a Quelim and Ca Thanks NetGalley and the publisher for the digital copy in exchange for an honest review. This book is set on Gora, basically a planet which has the sole purpose of being a waiting place for those ships that will enter into the next wormhole and have to wait for authorization for such We first meet Ouloo and Tupo, a Laru mother and her teenager son, who have an establishment there for those who are waiting. They will receive three guests on the same day: Speaker, an Akarak, Roveg, a Quelim and Captain Tem, aka Pei (also Ashby's love interest), an Aeluon. They were supposed to be there only for a short period of time and the whole satellite network stops working and they are stuck there until further notice. Well, like in the previous books in the series, we have a plot-driven sci-fi story. We have 5 people from 4 different species trying to get along and get over the cultural barriers between them, so it's really interesting to see how they react and try to understand the culture and biology aspects from each other. Of course, those dialogues make us think a lot about ourselves and our society. I also really like how the author always debates war and explore the different perspectives of it. The characters are flawlessly built as usual. They all have their quirks, their flaws and the things that make us love them. My personal favorite was Roveg. He's probably the easiest one to love, but I just couldn't help it. Speaker was for me the most complex character, which made me love her sometimes and also annoyed me a bit lol. It was also very good to see more of Pei and understand more of her species and her relationship with Ashby. The only problem I had with it was that once again, I had a hard time getting into a book of the series. I don't know if the problem is me or the author or maybe both of us, but it always takes me a long time to get into those books, but once I do, it's awesome. Oh, and I also missed some humor in here. I felt like the other books had more funny lines, but it was still fun in some moments. Overall, it was another great installment for the series.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Veronique

    Chambers is known for creating beautiful character-driven narratives, and The Galaxy, and the Ground Within is exactly that: balm for the soul. The plot is beyond simple: five strangers find themselves stuck at a pit-stop station due to technical difficulties that ground them for a few days. With nothing to do, they interact and come to learn about each other. Sounds dry, boring even, and yet... I loved to discover these characters, their cultures and history, the way they differed, and ultimatel Chambers is known for creating beautiful character-driven narratives, and The Galaxy, and the Ground Within is exactly that: balm for the soul. The plot is beyond simple: five strangers find themselves stuck at a pit-stop station due to technical difficulties that ground them for a few days. With nothing to do, they interact and come to learn about each other. Sounds dry, boring even, and yet... I loved to discover these characters, their cultures and history, the way they differed, and ultimately how very relatable they all were. Chambers sets her stage in space with very different species, all so intricate and captivating, that somehow exemplify our own world and experience. Through her understated writing style, she lures you in to 'see' from someone else’s point of view. I’ve always appreciated Chambers fluid approach to sentience, gender and sexuality. The universe she portrays is one where diversity is a common thing although there is still violence, injustice and horror, but she puts the emphasis on the good rather than the bad, celebrating the little acts of kindness. And this is what you’ll find here - small acts, but ones that make all the difference.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Jersy

    I adore Becky Chambers's books: They are cozy, extremely character focused, have well-drawn alien cultures that feel both foreign and believable and she manages to make me care so much for the characters. This one is mostly about intercultural contact with everyone bringing their own baggage with them. The author is so good at creating these species and making the characters good representations of them but also very much their own people. I also really loved getting a POV from a minor character I adore Becky Chambers's books: They are cozy, extremely character focused, have well-drawn alien cultures that feel both foreign and believable and she manages to make me care so much for the characters. This one is mostly about intercultural contact with everyone bringing their own baggage with them. The author is so good at creating these species and making the characters good representations of them but also very much their own people. I also really loved getting a POV from a minor character from the first book. It's charming, emotional, occasionally funny, the characters are amazing and being able to write a compelling book about people basically waiting for a couple of days is a achievement in itself.

  21. 4 out of 5

    ♠ TABI⁷ ♠

    YES YES YESSSSSSSS THERE'S GONNA BE A 4TH BOOK ..... oh *stares lovingly at the cover* YES YES YESSSSSSSS THERE'S GONNA BE A 4TH BOOK ..... oh *stares lovingly at the cover*

  22. 4 out of 5

    jasmin • febrvaryfriday

    Thank you Hodder & Stoughton for gifting me this ARC! Becky Chambers' Wayfarers series is one of my all time favorites. The author's ability to craft such a lush, beautiful and queer world that feels so much like a warm hug is unmatched, and she definitely did not disappoint with this last installment! Though book one (The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet) is still my absolute favorite of the bunch because I was able to connect to it on an even deeper level and it included some of my favorite ch Thank you Hodder & Stoughton for gifting me this ARC! Becky Chambers' Wayfarers series is one of my all time favorites. The author's ability to craft such a lush, beautiful and queer world that feels so much like a warm hug is unmatched, and she definitely did not disappoint with this last installment! Though book one (The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet) is still my absolute favorite of the bunch because I was able to connect to it on an even deeper level and it included some of my favorite characters, I had such a great time with The Galaxy, and the Ground Within too. I loved the setup of this book so much and it made for such interesting character dynamics. I really enjoyed my time with the characters in here; my favorites have to be Pei and Roveg! I already liked Pei when we first met her in book one, and following her POV was so fun! All the discussions in here are so important, just like in the previous installments. Everything about this world is so beautifully diverse, which is one of my favorite aspects of the series in general. I would happily spend pages upon pages just learning about this world and its inhabitants. I'm not usually one for fluffy and wholesome books, but the Wayfarers series is definitely the exception. There's not a lot going on plot-wise, so it might not be everyone's cup of tea, but for me it just feels a little like home. I cannot recommend this series enough!

  23. 5 out of 5

    Ellie

    These may be my favourite batch of Wayfarers characters yet. No one tell me Laru are not floppy alpacas! So full of kindness and warmth. Squee!

  24. 5 out of 5

    Dylan

    "Sometimes things were just too broken for even the cleverest of workarounds." 2.5 rounded up. Set on Gora, the planetary equivalent of a rest area, The Galaxy, and the Ground Within follows five characters stuck together for a few days after an orbital accident around the planet that grounds the ships. Among these characters is Pei, Ashby's partner from the first book, as well as two Laru, a Quelin and an Akarak. I was particularly interested to see the Akarak character as this was species was on "Sometimes things were just too broken for even the cleverest of workarounds." 2.5 rounded up. Set on Gora, the planetary equivalent of a rest area, The Galaxy, and the Ground Within follows five characters stuck together for a few days after an orbital accident around the planet that grounds the ships. Among these characters is Pei, Ashby's partner from the first book, as well as two Laru, a Quelin and an Akarak. I was particularly interested to see the Akarak character as this was species was only briefly a part of the first book and hadn't been explored in much detail yet. The focus of Wayfarers 4 is mainly on expanding the world-building and exploring tension between the different species based around their vastly different cultural histories. It seems odd to me to have this as the focus since this is the last Wayfarers book (which I'm really sad about) and unfortunately this choice also means that plot and character development suffer to the point of them both being almost non-existent. There's the main accident that grounds them but beyond that there's only one significant plot-point and it happens in the last 20% of the book. The rest of it is really just the characters kind of hanging around not doing a whole lot other than learning about each other, and in particular learning about the Akarak. Usually the draw of these books is that they kind of explore some version of everyday life in this universe and so plot can be on the backburner a bit without the quality of the book suffering, but since the characters here aren't even experience everyday life it doesn't really work. They're just stuck in a bubble not able to go anywhere.....hmm that sounds familiar. The three characters who have come to the planet (as opposed to the two who live there operating the little stop-over the book is set at) do have their own things going on and clear motivations for wanting to leave ASAP, but these motivations are kind of just mentioned at the beginning and then don't really become important again until the end of the book. Pei is the only character where her individual story is really important during the novel but it feels less consequential knowing that this is the end of the series and we're not going to get the rest of her story. That's not to say the exploration of the world-building and the tensions between some of the species aren't good, I really enjoyed this part of the novel, but again it just felt like such an odd choice to focus on this since this is the last book in the series. And I mean I did still enjoy reading this, but it just wasn't anywhere near as good as the others in the series and the disappointment of the series ending abruptly is compounded by this being a disappointing read. Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for providing me with a review copy.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Justine

    See more book reviews and thoughts on my YouTube channel I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. This review is spoiler free for this book and the rest in the series. Why are reviews for books you absolutely loved the most difficult to write? You all probably know by now that Becky Chambers is one of my absolute favourite authors of all time. I adore her cosy science fiction writing and a new book from her is always a big event in my reading life. I went into The Galaxy an See more book reviews and thoughts on my YouTube channel I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. This review is spoiler free for this book and the rest in the series. Why are reviews for books you absolutely loved the most difficult to write? You all probably know by now that Becky Chambers is one of my absolute favourite authors of all time. I adore her cosy science fiction writing and a new book from her is always a big event in my reading life. I went into The Galaxy and the Ground Within knowing exactly how much I’d love it, and all my expectations were met. If I had to put my finger on it, I’d say that the reason I connect so strongly with Becky Chambers’ books is the ‘human’ element. Her books are about people just getting on with their lives — there are no sweeping space epics, heroic destinies, or nefarious evils to be defeated. I’m sure that there are great heroes and space battles happening in the background — in fact, Pei’s storyline confirms it — however I love that we focus on the average person living their life in the galaxy. I truly think that every person can see something of themselves in her characters for this reason. The strongest aspect of this novel is the characterisation — it is the definition of a character driven book. There is a bit of a plot — for readers familiar with her other books, there’s more plot than Record of a Spaceborn Few but less than A Closed and Common Orbit — and the focus is definitely on these strangers as their lives are put on hold on Gora. Through these characters and their backgrounds, Chambers gives us a greater glimpse at the galaxy we’ve come to know and the different hardships that every species faces. From political and social exile to war and the empty promises of the governing body, this book doesn’t shy away from difficult subjects. Despite how cosy and lovely all of her books are, the world is not a perfect place and that makes them all the more readable and relatable. Speaking of characters, there are five characters with four points of view, and I struggle to determine which of them is my favourite. We have: *Pei: a soldier at a crucial crossroads in her life. She’s the only character we’ve seen in a previous book — she is Ashby’s lover in The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet. *Roveg: an exile from his homeworld and an outcast among his people. He’s a soulful artist with a very important appointment to keep. *Speaker: a member of a misunderstood and mistrusted species. She is incredibly close with her sister, whom she is separated from after the disaster on Gora. *Ouloo: a mother and businesswoman. She runs the Five Hop One Stop, where all the characters are grounded. She just wants everyone to be happy and comfortable (if I had to pick a favourite, it’s probably her). *Tupo: Ouloo’s child, who has all the curiosity and bluntness of a prepubescent child and is the glue holding the group together. All of these characters have different backgrounds, statuses, and political views, however The The Galaxy and the Ground Within is all about setting aside preconceived notions and prejudices and learning from one another. The way that this group learns to respect each other and forms friendships is just wonderful to watch. The Galaxy and the Ground Within is a fine conclusion to one of the best modern science fiction series out there. It has so much heart and like all of her other books, is moving and impactful (it made me cry in the bath and I’m not ashamed to say it). If you’re a fan of the previous books in the Wayfarer series, I really think you’re going to love this one. I’m so sad to see this series coming to an end, but I am so excited to read whatever she writes next.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Ren (A Bookish Balance)

    Why did I not know this was a thing? 😭

  27. 5 out of 5

    Di Maitland

    This book was worth the wait. I LOVED it. If I had to rank the books, I'd probably put this a little behind book one, but way above books two and three. Incidentally, as long as you've read book one, you could easily skip to book four without issue. As all the books loosely link to the first, this book (re)introduces Pei, Ashby's Aeulon girlfriend. On her way to visit him, she stops by planet Gora for supplies and finds herself stuck there when a hardware problem accidentally destroys most of the This book was worth the wait. I LOVED it. If I had to rank the books, I'd probably put this a little behind book one, but way above books two and three. Incidentally, as long as you've read book one, you could easily skip to book four without issue. As all the books loosely link to the first, this book (re)introduces Pei, Ashby's Aeulon girlfriend. On her way to visit him, she stops by planet Gora for supplies and finds herself stuck there when a hardware problem accidentally destroys most of the planet's satellites. Stuck with her are: - Roveg, an exiled, surprisingly-sociable Quelin desperate not to miss a very important appointment. - Speaker, an Akarak frustrated by the prejudices shown toward her species and separated for the first time from her twin in orbit. - Ouloo, owner of the Five-Hop One-Stop, who works hard to ensure every guests receives a warm welcome and the comforts of home. - Tupo, Ouloo's teenage son who would much rather be doing anything but helping his mum around the house. Despite my initial assumptions, the Five-Hope One-Stop is not a hotel but a glorified service station. Visitors can stop by to fuel up, rest their feet (or equivalent) in Ouloo's therapeutic garden and feast on her endless baked goodies. On hearing of the delay, Pei, Roveg and Speaker initially retreat to their shuttles. As time passes, however, and boredom sets in, they wander out and get to know each other. Prejudices are tested and tempers do rise but, on the whole, each gently learns a little more about the universe around them and the aliens who share it with them. And aren't they fascinating! I know they're made up but I still want to know more. Highlights for me included: - Pei describing cheese to her horrified audience. - Roveg gifting Speaker a care package (I was actually welling up at this point). - Tupo showing Roveg his Natural History Museum. - Speaker describing the Akaraks' short-lived, nomadic existence (there's definitely a book in there somewhere). In books two and three, I found myself bored at times because the books felt directionless and without plot. Surprisingly, despite the fact that almost the entire book is based in or around a single garden, and despite the fact that there was no challenge the characters had to collectively overcome, I wasn't bored at all. I loved seeing the characters come together and explore each others cultures, histories and biologies. It felt like a feast and I let myself free-fall into the possibilities and the over-whelming sense of comfort. I love and respect the emphasis Chambers puts in all of her books on tolerance and acceptance. Her books feel like a comfort blanket that I can just wrap around me when times are tough and it's dreary outside. Because of this, I will continue to buy and devour anything she writes. I highly recommend this (and book one if you haven't read it) to others who are looking for a light in the darkness.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Kristen

    This and more reviews at superstardrifter.com This was a lovely story, as I expected it would be, considering how the other books in the series were. It’s the story of a small planet called Gora, which is largely unremarkable except for its location. It has no water, no air, no life that didn’t come from somewhere else, nothing. It just so happens to be at a good distance between other popular travel destinations. So, it’s a good place for a stopover, refueling, and so on. It’s basically a space This and more reviews at superstardrifter.com This was a lovely story, as I expected it would be, considering how the other books in the series were. It’s the story of a small planet called Gora, which is largely unremarkable except for its location. It has no water, no air, no life that didn’t come from somewhere else, nothing. It just so happens to be at a good distance between other popular travel destinations. So, it’s a good place for a stopover, refueling, and so on. It’s basically a space truck-stop. The Five-Hop One-Stop is run by Ooli Oht Ouloo and her child, Tupo. They are Laru, which is a kind of long-necked, furry, quadrupedal sapient species. Ouloo makes it a point to be as welcoming to all walks of life as she can be, and Tupo helps xyr mother the best that xe can. On this particular day, she has three incoming shuttles docking. One is a Quelin (a sort of insectoid species), one is Aeluon (bipedal aliens who communicate through facial colours), and one is Anarak, which, I think are a type of… very small, beaked alien? The point is that all of these people are very, very different from each other. Many of their species don’t really get along with others. Some are outright reclusive. So, when an accidental cascade failure of the planet’s entire satellite network causes all three of them to get stuck on Gora at the Five-Hop One-Stop, they find themselves somewhat reluctantly spending time together. Ouloo has made them as welcome as she can, and they learn about each other, and how they’re not actually so different after all, even despite being very different physiologically. Just by its very nature, there is a lot of information here about each species, as each of them learns of the others, which I thought was fascinating. We’ve seen some of these species before in other Wayfarers books, but this one gets in depth again, which I didn’t mind because it’s been a while. I quite enjoyed learning about new alien species, and imagining how they do day to day tasks. I loved some of these characters very much, especially as the story went on. I think I related the most to Pei, who goes through some stuff in this book that I can really relate to. Feeling as though you are… meant to do a thing… pressured to do a thing that you just… don’t want to do. I can relate. I got teary-eyed at times with Pei. But even with the bit of teariness, The Galaxy and the Ground Within is often chuckle-out-loud funny. There is one passage in here which has four entirely different species of people, none of which are human, trying to understand (in increasing horror as it goes on) what cheese is. It was one of the funniest things I’ve ever read, because when you really think about it, cheese would be weird as hell to aliens. All told, I thought that this was a wonderful conclusion to The Wayfarers, and while I am sad to see it end, I can’t wait to see what Becky Chambers has for us in the future! Thanks to the author, as well as Harper Voyager via NetGalley for the review copy!

  29. 4 out of 5

    Alex Bright

    Oh, but how my heart needed this book! I know a lot of you don't have access to Becky Chambers' newest release, so I'll keep this short and spoiler free. If you enjoyed the first three in the Wayfarers series, you'll enjoy this. Her characters and compassion are so lovely and she has definitely become one of my "comfort read" authors. This particular outing is focused on a sort of "cultural exchange" between an all-alien (non-human) cast, shedding more light on the universe (galaxy) which she ha Oh, but how my heart needed this book! I know a lot of you don't have access to Becky Chambers' newest release, so I'll keep this short and spoiler free. If you enjoyed the first three in the Wayfarers series, you'll enjoy this. Her characters and compassion are so lovely and she has definitely become one of my "comfort read" authors. This particular outing is focused on a sort of "cultural exchange" between an all-alien (non-human) cast, shedding more light on the universe (galaxy) which she has created, and its inhabitants. I adored the interactions, especially that of the youngest character! So unbelievably sweet-natured without being saccharine. Having said that, as with most of Chambers' series, there's not much of a plot. I certainly don't mind, since I love a good character study, but I know plot-less novels aren't for everyone.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Charlie

    I can't beleive this is the final book in the series! I'm so sad! This was an amazing addition to the Wayfarers world, I was enthralled as usual by this incredidble vivid world. Becky Chambers does a fantastic job of portraying such diverse cultures and customes amoungst all the different specicies in her world. They were so real, when not reading the book I had to remind myself that they didn't exist. Theres a feeling of both sorrow and hope running throughout this book and I was an emotional wrec I can't beleive this is the final book in the series! I'm so sad! This was an amazing addition to the Wayfarers world, I was enthralled as usual by this incredidble vivid world. Becky Chambers does a fantastic job of portraying such diverse cultures and customes amoungst all the different specicies in her world. They were so real, when not reading the book I had to remind myself that they didn't exist. Theres a feeling of both sorrow and hope running throughout this book and I was an emotional wreck by the time I finished. As usual, this book manages to be so wholesome while still dealing with complex social and political issues. It doesn't shy away from the nasty reality of various social structures but it does show that we can strive to be better. I'm such a huge Becky Chambers fan and this book has just solidified my love and admiration for her work.

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