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Publisher's Summary

Return to the sprawling, Hugo Award-winning universe of the Galactic Commons to explore another corner of the cosmos - one often mentioned, but not yet explored - in this absorbing entry in the Wayfarers series, which blends heart-warming characters and imaginative adventure.

With no water, no air, and no native life, the planet Gora is unremarkable. The only thing it has going for it is a chance proximity to more popular worlds, making it a decent stopover for ships traveling between the wormholes that keep the Galactic Commons connected. If deep space is a highway, Gora is just your average truck stop. 

At the Five-Hop One-Stop, long-haul spacers can stretch their legs (if they have legs, that is), and get fuel, transit permits, and assorted supplies. The Five-Hop is run by an enterprising alien and her sometimes helpful child, who work hard to provide a little piece of home to everyone passing through. 

When a freak technological failure halts all traffic to and from Gora, three strangers - all different species with different aims - are thrown together at the Five-Hop. Grounded, with nothing to do but wait, the trio - an exiled artist with an appointment to keep, a cargo runner at a personal crossroads, and a mysterious individual doing her best to help those on the fringes - are compelled to confront where they’ve been, where they might go, and what they are, or could be, to each other.

©2021 Becky Chambers (P)2021 HarperCollins Publishers

What listeners say about The Galaxy, and the Ground Within

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
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CW: quarantine anxiety

As expected, Chambers' return to the Wayfarer Series is fantastic, with a core of empathy. Her ability to elicit emotions from the listener is among the best. She was perhaps too good at that with this book. If you have any lingering anxiety about quarantine lockdowns, you may have a bad time with this novel. The book has nothing to do with viruses, but it's obviously heavily influenced by 2020. Chambers' ability to tug your neural chemicals like a puppet had me pausing several times to calm myself, especially with the official GCTA messages. Proceed with caution, but definitely take the journey if you're able.

19 people found this helpful

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Another great book in the series!

I’m only sad that it’s the last one, apparently. It’s a lovely story of strangers (all non human) getting stranded on a way station planet. They each have different reasons for their own journey, and we learn more about them as they learn about each other. Chambers has a real knack for creating well rounded characters, especially non humans. She’s not afraid to make characters who might not be liked by everyone, but also giving the reader insight into why they behave the way they do. For a book with no human main characters, there is still a lot of “humanity” in her characters. I absolutely loved this book and the entire series!!

10 people found this helpful

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The narrator completely ruined it.

This is the first audiobook I've listened to from my favorite author, Becky Chambers. Her other novels are some of my favorite books I've ever read. I think I would have loved this one too, except I listened to it instead of reading it! The narrator used a kindergarten voice, making the characters sound totally silly. Way too theatrical. Goofy. I tried to imagine the story without the voice, but I couldn't get past it. Also, the narrator had the habit of emphasizing the Ze and Zyr so strongly, that it disrupted those sentences. She didn't use them as pronouns. It was very bizarre.

The worst part is that I had my partner listen with me during a long drive, I was SO excited to share Chambers with him! But now he's ruined to it. This is probably what happened to other friends I directed toward these books, if they listened via audio, and felt like the stories were meh. I am SO disappointed.

8 people found this helpful

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Cute

This isn't an amazing story but it is interesting, fun, and cute. it's a pleasant listen, which is sometimes just what we need.

4 people found this helpful

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Slice of Life

Becky Chambers has built an amazing world and is the master of slice of life stories of her charming characters. Always excited to see something new from this author. The narrator is always spot on and brings the story to life with her rich voice.

3 people found this helpful

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Delightful

This is a very good story about people getting to know and caring for each other despite vast differences. I enjoyed it.

3 people found this helpful

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An enjoyable story and a great series.

I was slow to warm up to Becky Chambers but I'm so glad I did. The story takes a little getting used to, but once all the characters are firmly in place, it is an enjoyable way to spend your time.

2 people found this helpful

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Getting to know this universe

author and reader have created a wonderful universe full of interesting characters..this volume is where you get to know the people and cultures in more detail.

2 people found this helpful

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Fun!

Part Canterbury Tales, part Wizard of Oz, part classic "random people stranded together in an inn by a storm" tale, and part diversity fable with a galactic twist, this is a wonderfully imagined and satisfying novel. Concerning others' complaints about the narrator, I was put off by her odd delivery at first at too and almost returned it, but I'm glad I stuck with it (I like this series that well) because either she got way better or I understood her approach to presenting the wildly different characters better, but either way, before long I was appreciating the narrator very much and only take a star off because of my feeling at he beginning.

2 people found this helpful

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Galactic truck stop

The Galaxy, and the Ground Within is another standalone installment in Becky Chambers' Wayfarer series. In her universe, humans are mostly a fringe group, relative newcomers to the Galactic Commons. This tale features the planet Gora which has little to say for itself other than proximity to a galactic transit hub. The story centers around the proprietor of a rest stop and refueling station and three different aliens temporarily trapped due to a major disaster in orbit. Each alien has a unique backstory that is explored.

Chambers recycles aliens and adds a few new ones. Each species possesses unique biology including reproduction as well as variable cultural mores and values that don't always align with Galactic Commons standards. The focus is on personal issues confronting each character. At the same time, there are commonalities such as parental concerns over their children as well as public authorities never seeming to be fully transparent with major disruptions. The overall tone is more along the lines of a made for TV drama than a more ambitious classic space opera. The focus is on ordinary 'people' doing their best to get by and trying to make the galaxy a little bit better for everyone.

The narration is quite well done with a good range of character distinction. Pacing is relaxed.

1 person found this helpful