Mundane Fiction in Disguise: “The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet” by Becky Chambers

The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet - Becky Chambers

“Lovers are fun, but kind of stupid, too. They say stupid things to each other and they ignore all their friends because they’re too busy staring, and they get jealous, and they have fights over dumb shit like who did the dishes last or why they can’t fold their fucking socks, and maybe the sex gets bad, or maybe they stop finding each other interesting, and then somebody bangs someone else, and everyone cries, and they see each other years later, and that person you once shared everything with is a total stranger you don’t even want to be around because it’s awkward.”

 

In “The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet” by Becky Chambers

(No, I didn’t get the quote wrong; it’s really in the book ipsis verbis)

 

Should all speculative fiction be written in a fantastical, hyper-imagined future where everything is new and shiny and different?

 

Having a rich panoply of characters make 'walk on' appearances engages the reader and helps them to develop a richness, texture and depth to a work. The reader can determine whether or not one of these 'extras' connects to the story-line elsewhere - and an impressionistic sketch of these characters and their activities actually requires that the reader puts in some effort in constructing the world in which the characters operate. Roger Zelazny used this device quite well, and I enjoyed it: discontinuities were everywhere, and hints and ephemera enhanced the story. I didn't want to see everything in a well-lit room. I tried Larkin when I was twelve, then when I was sixteen (yay for required reading as part of my British Council English education.) Much preferred Tennyson and then I was in my late twenties. 

 

 

If you're into a Mundane-Fiction--in-Disguise, read on.