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Publisher's Summary

Lovelace was once merely a ship's artificial intelligence. When she wakes up in a new body following a total system shutdown and reboot, she has to start over in a synthetic body, in a world where her kind are illegal. She's never felt so alone. But she's not alone, not really.

Pepper, one of the engineers who risked life and limb to reinstall Lovelace, is determined to help her adjust to her new world. Because Pepper knows a thing or two about starting over.

Together Pepper and Lovey will discover that, huge as the galaxy may be, it's anything but empty. The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet introduced listeners to the incredible imagination of Becky Chambers and has been nominated for any number of awards and accolades, including the Baileys Prize for Women's Fiction, the Tiptree Award, the Kitschies Golden Tentacle and the Arthur C. Clarke Award.

A Closed and Common Orbit is the stand-alone sequel to The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet and is perfect for fans of Firefly, Joss Whedon, Mass Effect and Star Wars.

©2016 Becky Chambers (P)2016 Hodder & Stoughton

Featured Article: 12 of the Best Sci-Fi Series in Audio


From the furthest reaches of space to the microbiology of pandemics and gene manipulation, to the future implications of technology for societies similar to our own, science fiction is a fascinating genre that offers listeners a wide variety of ways to access its themes. In looking for the best sci-fi audiobook series, it can be difficult to know where to start due to the genre's sheer number of iterations and variations. But what these series have in common is an acute devotion to telling a good story, as well as fully building out the worlds therein. The writing is enhanced by the creative and impassioned narration.

What listeners say about A Closed and Common Orbit

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Recommended

I liked this book even more than the first book in the series. Great characters. Important topics.

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This narrator takes the cake

The narrator really made this book come alive. I absolutely adored her performance and it made me love the book even more. I don't know if I would have enjoyed the book as much as I did if it hadn't been for her.

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INCREDIBLE

The narrator was phenomenal. The writing was superb. The story was beautiful. Cannot recommend this book enough. The whole serious is excellent, too.

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Not a great continuation of the series

The characters are interesting but not enough so for me to get invested in them. As a result, the book drags on forever. It doesn't help that whatever little plot there is is easily predictable and just not so interesting to begin with.

It is not a terrible book but as someone looking for a good sequel to a great first book, this was just so much less compelling.

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Not compelling - plot lacks a reason to care

Where book one was successful at creating a broad universe and set of characters, book two failed at drilling down into the back story and day-to-day lives of a few, previously minor, characters.

What's disappointing is that there are some interesting sci-fi / AI ideas scattered in book two, so the failure wasn't on the sci-fi side, but just that the overall plot failed provide me with a reason to invest in the characters. I'm three quarters of the way through and going to return the book. I don't care about the fate of the characters, and I'm struggling to pay attention.

Also the repetition of the word 'real', becomes real tedious, real fast. I know there was a purpose to it, but I'm pretty sure everyone knew who Jane was upon our first introduction to her.

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Galactic Commons, interesting place

Enjoyed this story even more than the first one. I enjoyed the alternating P.O.V. along with the depth of description and world building. The interactions are well described and the planets and space-ship life are fascinating, even after all the years I have been reading this genre.

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  • J. Cornah
  • 11-16-16

A Closed and Common Review

What made the experience of listening to A Closed and Common Orbit the most enjoyable?

The themes, characters, and narrative style were all wonderfully drawn together. Becky Chambers continues to create the kind of science fiction I wish I was reading all the time. The tone, depth, and complexities of the worlds and societies she has built, coupled with a crisp, clear breath of optimism and hope make this a perfect read for these dark days.

Who was your favorite character and why?

I loved Sidra.
What I particularly enjoyed was the fact that she discovers her personhood through platonic relationships, through found family, and friendships. So often, in stories of robots or AIs where they are perceived as female it ends with them engaging in a sexual relationship with a - usually male - human. That was not the case here. Sidra develops close familial and platonic bonds with humans and aliens and through their shared experiences and love for one another, she grows. She gets to know her own personhood through her love and friendship, and it is not tied to sex, and perhaps it's my ace side making me biased, but I really thought that was a stroke of genius.

What about Patricia Rodriguez’s performance did you like?

It was a stellar performance (pun intended), though the moments where an online style text conversation is described tended to be a little tedious as the narrator had to read out every single identifying line, every single timestamp, and so on. Other than that, it was great.

Any additional comments?

Ideas like personhood are nothing new to the science fiction genre, and having an AI be the catalyst for such discussions and explorations are fairly common. But where Chambers takes a relatively lesser trod path is that much of the perspective on this is from that very AI, and how she navigates questions like 'am I a person?' Which feels very different to people asking 'is that a person?' in the more abstract. To make this a very personal journey, to put our eyes in that of a computer, does make the reader much more likely to empathise and to connect.

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  • Dario Persechino
  • 12-24-16

Wonderful story wonderfully read!

A great follow on from Long Way To A Small Angry Planet. Not featuring the crew of the Wayfairer this time but related characters in the same universe, and what characters!
Chambers has a way of not only crafting s great and very tangible universe but also making rich characters that grow throughout the books.

The audiobook is magnificently performed by Rodriguez. She gives each character their distinct voices using subtle inflections that just make the character so unique and real to the listener.

I absolutely loved it!

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  • T
  • 06-29-18

Loved it!

My first reaction in beginning to listen to this was I would have liked there to be more characters common with first book but as I got further into the book I began to fall in love with the new characters, I grew to love them all but I especially loved Tak.

Another great character driven story from Becky where I cared about every one of the characters that the book focused on and that's rare for a book to do. The narration was once again great. I can't wait to read/listen the next one when it comes out and probably anything else Becky writes after that.

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  • Tim Regan
  • 01-01-20

Even better than Book 1

I loved Book 1 and this, despite leaving most of those characters behind was even better. Several teary moments at the end! This series seems to be about tolerance, acceptance, empathy, finding one's place and purpose, and many other things. There are also moments where characters have to act against someone's ill but for their own good. As I get further into the series I am seeing deeper things to chew on.

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  • Sharon Barron
  • 07-03-18

Something different

I don't normally like twin timeline, circular stories, but this one is done so well I couldn't help but like it. It's the story of the clone Pepper/Jane and a couple of AIs who form a deep friendship in a universe populated with many friendly species. One of them is lost and the others set out to find her.

Breathtaking in its brilliance and simplicity, with a satisfyingly warm ending.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 06-10-22

Great followup.

I was a little bit hesitant as the story is tangentially related to the first book. but the story line was rich and fleshed out more of the universe, at times quite funny. I really enjoyed!

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  • Eddie
  • 09-19-21

Peaceful easy reading

Having read (and enjoyed) book 1 was not too sure about this book until a random tweet made me rethink that decision. And I’m glad I did.

A story that moves along at a pleasing pace, sci-if that does not give you a headache trying to understand it, and characters you become invested in.

The fact I want to jump straight into book 3 should be praise enough.

The only critique I have is Patricia Rodriguez’s range of voices is limited but this is offset by the fact you do not have a vast cast of characters. That said, her pacing is excellent and is easy to listen to.

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  • Rob Crawford
  • 08-22-21

a beautiful story on autonomy and family

I adored 'Long Way' so I started this immediately after and found it a slow build, but when you get invested into the characters the story is very affective. It builds well on every conflict and the economy of words to action is wonderful. like the wayfarer crew every character is vibrant, had a chance to shine, and is flawed.

The framing device that shifts perspective between chapters can be confusing and feel a little like a TV commercial break at times, but when the story goes is stride it is utilised well

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  • Victoria H
  • 08-06-21

Perfect

I enjoyed everything about this book and will look for more titles by the author and the narrator.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 06-05-21

Superb

An excellent follow up to the stunning A Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet. Narrated so, so well too

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  • Jonah
  • 09-03-19

What does it mean to be sapient?

One of the best, most fulfilling discussions I have ever encountered in a text. Sometimes slow but well worth it for the questions you will ask yourself

1 person found this helpful

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  • lavender
  • 10-05-18

Sci Fi for the thinker

a gripping tale that confronts the true meaning and value of sentience. Humanoids and AI find a purpose beyond their genes and code while breaking laws but not rules to form aand redefine family

1 person found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 04-19-22

Intimate and Beautiful Science Fiction

A Closed And Common Orbit had a lot to live up to and absolutely did!

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  • Martin
  • 03-20-21

Addictive

Absolute genius concepts, trully engrossing. Heart warming. My favourite book since Red Mars. I am immediately going to launch the next one.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 02-27-21

very enjoyable

not like the first book, the story is built in more conventional and structured way. i really liked Pepper and Citra as characters.

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  • Pamela
  • 02-09-21

minds and bodies

Interesting, occasionally tense and often fun space story. Enjoyable as an entertainment, but lots of things to think about at a deeper level too:: the hidden face of slavery, the definition of personhood,

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  • Louise Hobson
  • 01-24-21

Great listen

Really enjoyed both the book and audio - unusual story highlights differences and similarities between races ( species)

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  • Janet Slape.🤣🤣
  • 12-02-20

Great

Loved this story. It goes to show that the rest of the galaxy can get along and be happy.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 10-25-20

Gentle thought provoking sci fi

There are some deep questions asked in this gentke warm unsentimental sci fi. Becky Chambers writes with a caring gentle humanity that puts me in mind of Terry Pratchett. Perfect narration.

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  • Mary
  • 06-03-20

So good

This series is so good. I’ve listened to it twice. I found small details I had missed the first time. Will probably listen to it again in a couple of years.