One of my favourite reads in the second half of last year was The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet. Intelligent, character-driven and thought-provoking. I was obsessed and needed the companion book. Unfortunately it had just been released so I have to wait an age to get one matching in size (OCD book nerd problems). Finally the day arrived and I couldn’t wait (well, I waited long enough to reread TLWtoSAP, which was a brilliant idea! I fell in love again). A Close and Common Orbit is not exactly a sequel but does follow characters we met in the first novel. Although *spoiler ahead* for the first book! This novel follows Lovelace, the AI we met on the Wayfarer and Pepper, engineer on Port Coriol. After the Wayfarer was damaged Lovelace was forced to reboot and lost her previous memories and experiences. Engineer Pepper comes to her rescue and houses Lovelace in an illegal synthetic body and brings her home to live and work with her. Life isn’t so simple in a synthetic body for Lovelace and we follow her struggles to assimilate, all the while learning just why Pepper would risk her freedom and livelihood for an AI.
This was a great read, not quite as captivation as the original novel, this one was more about the nuances and thoughts provoked by the characters and their experiences. I love the way this book was written jumping from Lovelace’s present struggles to act like a human and adjust to not having eyes and ears everywhere, to learning about Pepper’s past and where she came from. This is not quite as endearing or action-packed as you might expect but it does give the reader a lot of food for thought in the unique way that only Chambers can. I love her imagination and ability to write from every single angle possible in ways that will surprise you. I think her novels are really clever. Quietly intelligent and will challenge your thinking. The characters are unique and loveable. This was a really engaging science fiction read and lets be honest, has one of the best covers going. I highly recommend this one for lovers of sci-fi and those with an interest in social interactions and psychology – you might find this an enlightening read. I give A Closed and Common Orbit three space ships, important objects within this story.