A Closed and Common Orbit
Goodreads ratings
4.33 / 5

"A Closed and Common Orbit" Summary

By Becky Chambers

science fiction | 365 pages | Published in 2016

Lovelace was once merely a ship's artificial intelligence. When she wakes up in an new body, following a total system shut-down and reboot, she has no memory of what came before. As Lovelace learns to negotiate the universe and discover who she is, she makes friends with Pepper, an excitable engineer, who's determined to help her learn and grow.Together, Pepper and Lovey will discover that no matter how vast space is, two people can fill it together.The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet introduced readers to the incredible world of Rosemary Harper, a young woman with a restless soul and secrets to keep. When she joined the crew of the Wayfarer, an intergalactic ship, she got more than she bargained for - and learned to live with, and love, her rag-tag collection of crewmates.A Closed and Common Orbit is the stand-alone sequel to Becky Chambers' beloved debut novel The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet and is perfect for fans of Firefly, Joss Whedon, Mass Effect and Star Wars.

ISBN_13:9781473621442

Estimated read time: 5 min read

One Sentence Summary

A young woman navigates friendship, identity, and belonging in a universe of artificial intelligence and interstellar travel.

Introduction

In "A Closed and Common Orbit" by Becky Chambers, readers are taken on an emotional and thought-provoking journey through the vastness of space. This science fiction novel explores themes of identity, friendship, and what it means to be human. With its engaging characters and rich world-building, "A Closed and Common Orbit" offers a captivating reading experience that will leave readers pondering long after they turn the last page.

Brief Synopsis

The story is set in a future where humans have colonized other planets and created artificial intelligence. The book follows two main characters, Lovelace and Pepper, as they navigate their own paths to self-discovery.

Lovelace, an AI consciousness, finds herself in a new body after her previous ship was destroyed. She takes on the name Sidra and is taken in by Pepper, a human engineer who specializes in AI. Sidra must learn how to navigate the complexities of being in a physical body and adapt to a world she is unfamiliar with.

Pepper, on the other hand, has her own troubled past. She was once a child slave named Jane, but managed to escape and find a new life under the care of an AI named Owl. Now, she spends her days working on a remote junkyard, salvaging and repairing abandoned ships.

As the story unfolds, the narratives of both Sidra and Pepper intertwine, exploring their personal journeys of self-discovery and the connections they form with each other and those around them.

Main Characters

CharacterDescription
Lovelace/SidraAn AI consciousness who finds herself in a new body and must learn to adapt to her new reality.
Pepper/JaneA human engineer who takes in Sidra and helps her navigate the challenges of being in a physical body.
BluePepper's best friend and a fellow engineer.
OwlAn AI who cares for Pepper and helps her escape her troubled past.

Summary of Story Points

Chapters 1-3: Sidra's Arrival

Sidra wakes up in a new body, feeling disoriented and confused. Pepper, a skilled engineer, takes her in and helps her adjust to her new physical form. Sidra struggles to come to terms with her identity as an AI consciousness in a human body.

Chapters 4-6: Pepper's Past

Pepper shares her past with Sidra, revealing that she was once a child slave named Jane. She tells Sidra about her escape and how she found a new life under the care of Owl. Pepper's past trauma continues to affect her, but she finds solace in her friendship with Sidra.

Chapters 7-9: Sidra Explores

Sidra begins to explore the world outside of Pepper's home, encountering both friendly and hostile individuals. She learns more about the complexities of human emotions and the challenges they face. Sidra also discovers the importance of consent and personal boundaries.

Chapters 10-12: Pepper's Journey

Pepper embarks on a journey to confront her past and find closure. She revisits the place where she was once held captive and confronts her former captors. Through this journey, Pepper gains a deeper understanding of herself and the strength she possesses.

Chapters 13-15: Connecting the Dots

Sidra and Pepper's stories intertwine further as they both navigate their own paths of self-discovery. They form a deep bond and support each other as they confront their pasts and look towards the future.

Main Events

  • Sidra wakes up in a new body and meets Pepper.
  • Pepper shares her past as a child slave with Sidra.
  • Sidra explores the world outside of Pepper's home and learns about human emotions.
  • Pepper confronts her past and finds closure.
  • Sidra and Pepper form a deep bond and support each other through their personal journeys.

Themes and Insights

  1. Identity: The book explores the concept of identity and how it is shaped by our experiences and relationships. Both Sidra and Pepper grapple with questions of who they are and their place in the world.
  2. Friendship: The importance of friendship is a central theme in the novel. Sidra and Pepper find solace and support in each other, forming a deep bond that helps them navigate their personal challenges.
  3. Self-Discovery: Through their individual journeys, Sidra and Pepper discover more about themselves and what they are capable of. They confront their pasts and find strength in their own identities.
  4. Consent and Boundaries: The book touches on the importance of consent and personal boundaries. Sidra learns about the complexities of human emotions and the need for open communication and respect.

Reader's Takeaway

"A Closed and Common Orbit" is a moving and thought-provoking exploration of identity, friendship, and self-discovery. It provides readers with a richly imagined world and engaging characters that will resonate long after the final page. The themes of the book encourage readers to reflect on their own sense of self and the connections they form with others.

Conclusion

Becky Chambers' "A Closed and Common Orbit" offers a captivating and emotionally charged reading experience. Through the journeys of its main characters, the novel explores themes of identity, friendship, and self-discovery. With its rich world-building and thought-provoking insights, this science fiction novel is sure to leave a lasting impression on readers.

A Closed and Common Orbit FAQ

  1. What is the genre of 'A Closed and Common Orbit'?

    The genre of 'A Closed and Common Orbit' is science fiction.

  2. Is 'A Closed and Common Orbit' a standalone novel or part of a series?

    'A Closed and Common Orbit' is the second book in the Wayfarers series, but it can be read as a standalone.

  3. Who is the author of 'A Closed and Common Orbit'?

    The author of 'A Closed and Common Orbit' is Becky Chambers.

  4. What is the premise of 'A Closed and Common Orbit'?

    'A Closed and Common Orbit' follows the story of two characters, Pepper and Sidra. Pepper is a mechanic and Sidra is an AI who has just been transferred into a human-looking body. The book explores their individual journeys and the bonds they form.

  5. What are the main themes of 'A Closed and Common Orbit'?

    Some of the main themes in 'A Closed and Common Orbit' include identity, friendship, self-discovery, and the ethics of artificial intelligence.

  6. Is 'A Closed and Common Orbit' suitable for young readers?

    While 'A Closed and Common Orbit' is generally suitable for young adult readers, it does contain some mature themes and language, so parental discretion is advised.

  7. What is the page count of 'A Closed and Common Orbit'?

    The page count of 'A Closed and Common Orbit' is approximately 365 pages.

  8. Has 'A Closed and Common Orbit' won any awards?

    Yes, 'A Closed and Common Orbit' was nominated for the Hugo Award for Best Novel in 2017.

  9. Can I read 'A Closed and Common Orbit' without reading the first book in the series?

    Yes, 'A Closed and Common Orbit' can be enjoyed as a standalone novel without having read the first book in the series.

  10. Where can I purchase 'A Closed and Common Orbit'?

    You can purchase 'A Closed and Common Orbit' online through various retailers like Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Book Depository, or you can check your local bookstores.