Record of A Spaceborn Few is the third part of the Wayfarers series by Becky Chambers. All books in this series are set in the same shared universe, meaning you can read the books in any order you wish. This series is a fantastic speculative science-fiction series set in a Star Trek-like universe where humans are not the powerful force in the universe.
RECORD OF A SPACEBORN FEW SUMMARY
Centuries after the last humans left Earth, the Exodus Fleet is a living relic, a place many are from but few outsiders have seen. Humanity has finally been accepted into the galactic community, but while this has opened doors for many, those who have not yet left for alien cities fear that their carefully cultivated way of life is under threat.
This third part of the Wayfarers series focuses on the Exodan Fleet. This has been mentioned a few times in Long Way to A Small Angry Planet and A Closed And Common Orbit. But this third book is set on the Exodan fleet and is about the group of people living on it.
The Exodan fleet is the last of the humans who left Earth because it was dying. They built huge generational ships for humanity to live on and set off into the stars. This book is set around 70 years after the Exodan Fleet joined the Galactic Commons – this universe’s version of the Federation. They have been given new technology and even a star to orbit. But it seems the Exodan Fleet are still searching for a proper place to live.
I think the thing I love most about this whole series is how humanity is portrayed. In a lot of science fiction books, humans are the strongest, smartest, they run the galaxy. The humans of Wayfarers are vastly different. To aliens they smell, they are too exuberant. They live in clunky old ships and are still searching for something. The way it’s put in the book is that the other alien species have had the time to adapt to space travel. But the humans are still trying to figure that part out, where they fit into the universe.
Not a science-fiction book?
Before starting Record Of A Spaceborn Few I had seen one complaint that it wasn’t very science-fiction-like. And I guess that’s true to an extent. This whole series is more speculative science fiction. But this book, in particular, is very character driven. Unlike the first two books in the Wayfarers series, this has a large cast of characters. They all seem separate at first but as the story goes on you become invested as their stories intertwine.
I love that this series is normalising gender neutral language and LGBT pairings in science-fiction. In the past sci-fi was a man’s genre. All the authors were men and the stories all had that white, male perspective. Aliens were all vaguely human-shaped, women were mostly just there for sex. I really like the fact sci-fi authors are beginning to realise alien species would be totally different from our norm and so you can’t write them with our human biases.
There are a few signs of a good book. Not only how invested I become in the story. But also how it reignites my interest in the series as a whole. There are only a few book series which have done this for me. But the act of reading Record of A Spaceborn Few reminded me how much I enjoy the Wayfarers universe. And in turn, made me want to reread the series as a whole.