The Long Way to Getting to the Point
This is not a space opera, and I need people to stop categorising it as such.
The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet – Chambers, Becky
As titles and book covers go, it looks like a good read. I picked it up as it was recommended and was the only one on the list I could find for sale in Cork City. I bought it used from Vibes & Scribes. The blurb isn’t promising. It doesn’t give you anything new to enjoy. Essentially you could pick the plot up and plop it into a fantasy setting, and it’d work. This is why I don’t believe this book is Science Fiction but is instead just a book set in space.
In a round-a-bout way, Space Opera is partnered with High Fantasy. A story should encompass a threat to the world, not just the main character. In a Space Opera, the idea is that the idea is big. It’s not just a motley band in space doing space things. It’s about an overly dramatic series of events affecting many people.
In this book, that isn’t the case. In fact, at that point I decided to “DNF” the book I hadn’t even gotten to the story, which is my second issue with the book.
It reads like fan fiction—massive exposition and a lot of lecturing. When I meet someone for the first time, I don’t start at the top of their head and describe every point to myself on the way down. Likewise, I didn’t read a Wikipedia entry on their clothes choice, ethnicity, and why evolution gave them four ears.
So, if I were to remove the ample descriptions and the chunks of text better suited for the appendices, I would have DNF’d at the end of the first chapter instead.
It’s Year 8 English Language, and I’m sat alphabetically between a Pratt and a Reilly. We are learning about Similes and why they are essential in writing. “It helps the reader understand what the text is showing them by comparing it to something they are familiar with.” Said Mrs Peers. “It can be used poetically or as a metaphor.” Look, I was 12, and this was for the SATs and not some academic research paper.
My point is. A simile is meant to help me understand what is going on. Chambers, however, overuses them. Which is why I say it reads like fan fiction. Nowadays, I do not need to know what a small shuttle docking against a giant spaceship looks like. We might not have faster-than-light travel, but we are a space-faring species. However, I probably need a simile for a giant sea creature suckling a baby. I have provided the quote below.
“The deepod moved alongside the Wayfarer like some sort of aquatic animal swimming up to suckle at its mother.” p.15
It was an uninspiring read, which didn’t move me forward with each page. It didn’t start with a bang or get to the story. I had no love for any of the characters, despite being introduced to them like the opening credits of a 1970s sitcom. I’d give it a miss, but if Young Adult “read in the airport before your flight” books are your thing, with same-length sentences which march along like the steps of an escalator to nowhere, knock yourself out; it’s free on Kindle Unlimited.
Beir bua agus beannacht.