Every time I’ve picked up a book by Becky Chambers I have ended up loving it. And every time after I’m done reading I sit down and try to get my thoughts out on the page. And every single time I fail to do so.
I guess it’s because her stories emotionally resonate with me so dang much. I’ve always had a hard time talking about my feelings (hi I am a Leo), and Becky Chambers stories, for me, are all feelings. Things happen, to be sure, and sometimes there is even some sort conflict. But there’s never what you might call a “traditional plot.” In these stories things happen because… life. That’s what life is. ⠀
That the characters Chambers writes about happen to lead such interesting and human lives is part of the appeal for me. ⠀
And I use the term “human” very deliberately. Because even though Chambers work is full of capital-A Alien creatures and complex concepts, at their core they are some of the more human stories I’ve ever had the pleasure to come across. There are always at least a couple of scenes that move me to tears, and that was also the case with To Be Taught, If Fortunate. (One scene affected me so much that I startled my partner by suddenly turning to her, eyes watering up. She asked me what was wrong, and I couldn’t quite say, so I just told her the entire storyline up until that point. It seemed the only sensible thing.)⠀
“Hopepunk” is the term that’s being floated around for the newish type of science fiction that proposes a more optimistic outlook for humanity. Chambers’ books are more than representative of this blossoming genre, with the sort of narratives that may not entirely thrill your more spirited storytelling sensibilities, but which will instead, if fortunate, nourish your soul. ⠀
More than welcome in these divisive, cynical times.