From My readings: Becky Chambers: “Record of a Spaceborn Few” (c) 2018; & S. A. Chakraborty: “The City of Brass” (c) 2017.
Becky Chambers’ novel “Record of a Spaceborn Few” (c) 2018 is a stand-alone science fiction novel in the Wayfarers Series. It is set in the same fictional universe, Galactic Commons, as “The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet” (2014) and “A Closed and Common Orbit”(2016).
The Wayfarer Series won the 2019 Hugo Award for Best Series.
The novel “Record of a Spaceborn Few” is about people living on The Exodus Fleet which is now part of the immense universe of the Galactic Commons. The fleet left Earth many centuries ago, bearing the last humans as Earth sinks into catastrophic disasters. The Fleet is currently in orbit around an artificial sun.
The Exodan way of life changes with each generation. There are many other alien civilizations and sapient species living in the Galactic Commons. Contact with these other species influences and changes the Fleet in various ways. Some people choose to continue to live within the community on the fleet ships, others leave to settle on planets, and some leave to travel and explore the Galactic universe; some return to the Fleet as there is nothing like it anywhere else.
The story is told from the viewpoint of five characters aboard the homesteader ship “Asteria.”
Isabel is the chief archivist. The archives are extensive, including Earth’s history; memories of Earth; the Fleet’s history – the outward journeys of the first homesteaders, the journeys beyond Sol history; and individual archives.
Eyas is a “caretaker” who performs the Exodan funerary services. The services are held in The Center aboard the ship, where the dead are buried in soil, to be recycled into compost for the plants that sustain the people. This is integral to the existence of the Fleet: it is people who keep the fleet community alive, and the dead remain a part of the community.
Tessa – a cargo handler; husband George; two young “spacer” kids. Her job will soon be done by AIs. She thinks of moving to a colony on the planet Seed.
Kip is 16 years old; he is uncertain whether he should remain aboard the Fleet or explore the Galactic Commons, or live on one of the planets.
Humans in the interstellar communities of the Galactic Commons have connections to one degree or another to people on the Exodus fleet:
Sawyer, 23 years old, is from the planet Mushtullo; his great-great-grandparents were the original homesteaders on the Fleet ship Al-Quam. He has recently moved to the Asteria to explore and learn more about the Fleet’s history.
S. A. Chakraborty’s novel “The City of Brass” is a great combination of fantasy, historical fiction and suspense.
Nominated for major awards. Book 1 of The Daevabad Trilogy.
A fantastic and spellbinding tale:
of the young Egyptian woman Nahri, who discovers she is part human and part djinn; of Dara, a Daeva djinn and an ancient warrior, and possessor of extraordinary magical powers; and of Prince Alizayd,, a Geziri and Ayaanle djinn whose father King Ghassan al Qahtania is the current ruler of the Djinn city of Daevabad !
The story begins in 18th-century Cairo:
Nahri is a poor young woman, with a gift for healing. Nahri however does not believe in supernatural powers. She knows there is something different about her, as she has a talent for learning many languages, including Arabic, Turkish, Hebrew, Persian, Venetian and Swahili. And she speaks another language which is unlike all these languages and which seems unique to her. She has no knowledge of her origins, parents or other family. She becomes a skilled con artist, making a living by swindling the wealthy.
During a zar or exorcism ceremony for a young girl, Nahri speaks in the unknown language, and inadvertently summons an ancient warrior, a djinn, Dara. He realizes that Nahri is part djinn and part human.
Dara and Nahri flee form Cairo, as demons and ghouls appear, intent on killing them both. As they travel to the djinn city of Daevabad, Nahri learns more about herself from Dara, of the six Djinn kingdoms created after King Suleiman separated the Djinns into 6 tribes many thousands of years ago.
Nahri is the daughter of a Daeva djinn, from the Nahid family. The Nahids were healers and founders of the city of Daevabad.
In Daevabad, Nahri quickly discovers and becomes embroiled in the complex web of Djinn personal ambitions, political struggles, racial and religious conflicts and terrifying creatures — with a history that stretches back thousands of years!
The Djinn kingdoms in the novel are alternate worlds – fictional worlds drawn from the Sahara; Egypt; Arabia; Persia; Turkmenistan; and India.