To Be Taught, If Fortunate

To Be Taught, If Fortunate

In her new novella, Sunday Times best-selling author Becky Chambers imagines a future in which, instead of terraforming planets to sustain human life, explorers of the solar system instead transform themselves. Ariadne is one such explorer. As an astronaut on an extrasolar research vessel, she and her fellow crewmates sleep between worlds and wake up each time with differe...

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Title:To Be Taught, If Fortunate
Author:Becky Chambers
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Edition Language:English

To Be Taught, If Fortunate Reviews

  • Emer (A Little Haze)

    Becky Chambers is a freaking genius. If you have any interest in speculative fiction about where we as a species could be headed then you really need to pick up any of her books.

    'To Be Taught If Fortunate' is a short novella about longterm space mission to study four planets light years away from Earth. There are four members of the crew of the OCA spacecraft Merian; Ariadne O'Neill, Elena Quesada-Cruz, Jack Vo and Chikondi Daka. But instead of getting caught up in stereotypical space opera sty

    Becky Chambers is a freaking genius. If you have any interest in speculative fiction about where we as a species could be headed then you really need to pick up any of her books.

    'To Be Taught If Fortunate' is a short novella about longterm space mission to study four planets light years away from Earth. There are four members of the crew of the OCA spacecraft Merian; Ariadne O'Neill, Elena Quesada-Cruz, Jack Vo and Chikondi Daka. But instead of getting caught up in stereotypical space opera style events this book takes the form of a message sent back to Earth from the viewpoint of Ariadne who is the flight engineer onboard. And in this message are the details of their exploratory and investigatory mission so far... But also it reveals so much about what it means to be human. It poses probing questions asking about the importance of scientific research and whether a mission seeking knowledge is truly relevant to us as a species.

    Ariadne's message is split into four parts as the crew of the Merian visit four different planets: Aecor, Mirabilis, Opera and Votum. And on each planet we are treated to both easy to understand and incredibly fascinating speculative science as the crew engage in their information gathering and laboratory research. But we also get to delve into the psyches of these four people and how the mission affects each of them in different ways.

    This book is truly brilliant. Everything feels so authentic that I almost believed that I was reading a real space report... But it's the humanity of the piece that really captured me. So much so that I found myself crying at the end of the book because there was just so much heart and feeling in it. It's a book about what it truly means to be a human and as a trained research scientist myself I was both deeply moved by and really emotionally connected with the hunger and thirst for knowledge that was illustrated in the book.

    Highly recommended

  • Natasha Ngan

    THE MARTIAN meets INTERSTELLAR, this is high-concept speculative fic at its finest. Rendered with startling clarity, Chambers' latest offering is a short but fierce ode to humanity and all our reaches and flaws. Unputdownable.

  • Chelsea (chelseadolling reads)

    WOW, this reminded me so much of why I love sci-fi and why I need to make it a priority to read more of it. Becky Chambers has such a knack for writing heartbreakingly human, character driven stories. I loved this a whole heck of a lot.

  • Phrynne

    This is a beauty. A novella which packs twice the punch of the average full length novel. A story of hope and a better future. An ending which makes you want to cry. Wonderful.

    I love well written sci fi and

    is exactly that. It follows the experiences of four scientists/astronauts who are basically crowd funded by a future Earth to explore several previously unvisited planets. Time passes and eventually they lose contact with Earth. What should they do next?

    I must a

    This is a beauty. A novella which packs twice the punch of the average full length novel. A story of hope and a better future. An ending which makes you want to cry. Wonderful.

    I love well written sci fi and

    is exactly that. It follows the experiences of four scientists/astronauts who are basically crowd funded by a future Earth to explore several previously unvisited planets. Time passes and eventually they lose contact with Earth. What should they do next?

    I must admit I did not like the author's choice of ending yet it was very appropriate to the context of the novella. The four scientists experienced so much, spent all their time with each other and yet maintained a well balanced relationship with each other. When things start to go wrong and their relationships falter they must find a solution of whatever kind.

    I read it in one afternoon and loved it all.

    must go on my list of favourite authors/

  • Matthew Quann

    Guys, if you haven't read any of Becky Chambers' uplifting solar punk (see her Hugo-award wining

    trilogy), then

    is the perfect place to start. Stuffed into less than 200 pages, it is a compelling, intelligent, and deeply humanistic science-fiction yarn that is representative of what Chambers does best.

    The story is told as a letter being sent back to Earth from Adriane, pilot of a OCA spaceship meant to categorize and study exoplanets. These four pilots travel the stars, alt

    Guys, if you haven't read any of Becky Chambers' uplifting solar punk (see her Hugo-award wining

    trilogy), then

    is the perfect place to start. Stuffed into less than 200 pages, it is a compelling, intelligent, and deeply humanistic science-fiction yarn that is representative of what Chambers does best.

    The story is told as a letter being sent back to Earth from Adriane, pilot of a OCA spaceship meant to categorize and study exoplanets. These four pilots travel the stars, alter their physiology, and do massive scientific investigations of local flora and fauna. The story's structure is roughly chopped into four planets that the team explores throughout their journey, with decades spent in suspended animation in the interim.

    Chambers has a real knack for pulling the hope out of hopeless-seeming situations. The crew of

    modify their bodies to be able to absorb the harsh radiation of the stars, manage 2G gravity, and prevent the blood in their veins from freezing. This human ability to adapt and evolve is a constant in Chambers' work, but is most prominent here. Even though the wacky science transformations are cool, it is just as satisfying to travel with Adriane, Elena, Chikondi, and Jack through their personal hardships. Their unbridled excitement for scientific discovery is heartening and captures both the mundane reality of benchwork with the exhilaration of uncovering something heretofore unknown.

    Overall, this is a super solid sci-fi. It is interesting, well constructed, and has that uniquely positive spin that makes Chambers' work so satisfying. This tends more toward hard sci-fi than

    ' more fantastical alien civilization, but also touches on real-world struggles of today (climate change is a frequent talking point). Again, if you haven't given Chambers' solarpunk a try,

    provides the perfect entry point.

  • Sara

    I’ll say right off the bat that I’m not a science fiction reader, and initially I struggled to get into this. There’s not much in the way of a traditional ‘story’ beyond following four explorers as they leave Earth to investigate specific planets. These planets are varied, some teeming with life, some none. All have differing environments too, and the book explores how we humans can ‘change’ to adapt to that environment - which was interesting, as well as the moral dilemma of interfering with li

    I’ll say right off the bat that I’m not a science fiction reader, and initially I struggled to get into this. There’s not much in the way of a traditional ‘story’ beyond following four explorers as they leave Earth to investigate specific planets. These planets are varied, some teeming with life, some none. All have differing environments too, and the book explores how we humans can ‘change’ to adapt to that environment - which was interesting, as well as the moral dilemma of interfering with life for our own gain. There was certainly a lot of moral thinking here.

    It’s a quiet novella, with a small amount of mystery and internal struggles. It’s about life, familial love, science and space. It’s a very different kind of read for me, and while I couldn’t get into this at first, when the mystery element kicked in I was intrigued. Intrigued enough to give Becky Chambers’ other books a go.

  • Emma

    This was fascinating and a very engaging concept. It did not charm or entertain in the same way the Wayfarers did, but I did enjoy it.

  • Emily (Books with Emily Fox)

    Oh look another book I need to add to my ever growing TBR!

  • Charlotte May

    I’ve been getting withdrawals from Becky Chambers’ wonderfully optimistic Sci Fi so thank God for this novella 💖😊

  • Joanne Harris

    Since I first read Joanna Russ' WE WHO ARE ABOUT TO... I've had a hole in my heart. This book healed it. This extraordinary novella proves that you don't have to write a long book to pack a big punch. Becky Chambers' writing gets better and better with everything she writes, and this is no exception. Every sentence is perfectly balanced without attracting unnecessary attention; characterization is subtle but effective; and the impact of the ending is everything I hoped it would be. A future sci-

    Since I first read Joanna Russ' WE WHO ARE ABOUT TO... I've had a hole in my heart. This book healed it. This extraordinary novella proves that you don't have to write a long book to pack a big punch. Becky Chambers' writing gets better and better with everything she writes, and this is no exception. Every sentence is perfectly balanced without attracting unnecessary attention; characterization is subtle but effective; and the impact of the ending is everything I hoped it would be. A future sci-fi masterwork in a new and welcome tradition.

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