A Closed and Common Orbitby Becky Chambers
Series: Wayfarers #2
Setting: Outer Space
Published on October 20th 2016
“Lovelace was once merely a ship’s artificial intelligence. When she wakes up in an new body, following a total system shut-down and reboot, she has no memory of what came before. As Lovelace learns to negotiate the universe and discover who she is, she makes friends with Pepper, an excitable engineer, who’s determined to help her learn and grow.”
This is the sequel to The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet.Â If you haven’t read that book this review might be a little spoilery.
At the end of the book, the Artificial Intelligence, Lovelace, that runs the spaceship is put into a body kit to be transferred off of the ship.Â For Lovelace this is a huge adjustment.Â She is used to monitoring the vastness of space.Â She is used to having cameras in all the rooms of the ship.Â She is used to having a constant flow of information from the data stream that she is hooked into.Â Now she sees only through her eyes.Â She doesn’t know the answer to any question that she is asked.Â She feels fragile and vulnerable.
It reminds me of the Genie in Aladdin.
She is taken in by Pepper, an engineer that helped with her transfer.Â Pepper takes her to her home and tries to teach her how to respond to the world.Â They have to make her look natural.Â Putting an A.I. in a body kit is illegal.
The themes of this book are identity and belonging.Â How do you go about making your own identity?Â How do you decide where you belong?
I did not like this book as much as the first one.Â I think that is because Long Way was one of my best books of 2016 and this one had a lot to live up too.Â I missed the larger cast of all types of species in that book.Â This novel is much smaller in scope.Â It focuses on Lovelace’s life with Pepper and Pepper’s past as an escaped slave child being raised by an A.I. Â I would still recommend this book.Â It is not strictly necessary to have read the first one but it is recommended.Â So much world building was done in the first book that this book assumes that you already know.
I would still recommend this to anyone who loves sci fi and enjoyed the first book.