SciFi Book Review: Record of a Spaceborn Few

Record of a Spaceborn Few by Becky Chambers

Hundreds of years ago, the last humans on Earth boarded the Exodus Fleet in search of a new home among the stars. After centuries spent wandering empty space, their descendants were eventually accepted by the well-established species that govern the Milky Way.

But that was long ago. Today, the Exodus Fleet is a living relic, the birthplace of many, yet a place few outsiders have ever visited. While the Exodans take great pride in their original community and traditions, their culture has been influenced by others beyond their bulkheads. As many Exodans leave for alien cities or terrestrial colonies, those who remain are left to ponder their own lives and futures: What is the purpose of a ship that has reached its destination? Why remain in space when there are habitable worlds available to live? What is the price of sustaining their carefully balanced way of life—and is it worth saving at all?

A young apprentice, a lifelong spacer with young children, a planet-raised traveler, an alien academic, a caretaker for the dead, and an Archivist whose mission is to ensure no one’s story is forgotten, wrestle with these profound universal questions. The answers may seem small on the galactic scale, but to these individuals, it could mean everything.

The Exodus Fleet has a culture all its own. An alien records her stay, complete with commentary on unfamiliar traditions of this human culture. A young man from a planet decides to try something new and looks for work. And the stories of seemingly-regular people raised in the fleet. They all have unique stories. Each are intriguing. And as their lives begin to intertwine, the unfolding drama becomes chilling and emotional. This was a surprising science fiction novel that I thoroughly enjoyed. It wasn’t action packed, but hard to put down just the same. The novel makes you think and feel and is certainly inspired.