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To Be Taught, If Fortunate

To Be Taught, If Fortunate

In the future, instead of terraforming planets to sustain human life, explorers of the galaxy transform themselves.


At the turn of the twenty-second century, scientists make a breakthrough in human spaceflight. Through a revolutionary method known as somaforming, astronauts can survive in hostile environments off Earth using synthetic biological supplementations. They can produce antifreeze in sub-zero temperatures, absorb radiation and convert it for food, and conveniently adjust to the pull of different gravitational forces. With the fragility of the body no longer a limiting factor, human beings are at last able to explore neighbouring exoplanets long suspected to harbour life.

Ariadne is one such explorer. On a mission to ecologically survey four habitable worlds fifteen light-years from Earth, she and her fellow crewmates sleep while in transit, and wake each time with different features. But as they shift through both form and time, life back on Earth has also changed. Faced with the possibility of returning to a planet that has forgotten those who have left, Ariadne begins to chronicle the wonders and dangers of her journey, in the hope that someone back home might still be listening.

(P) 2019 Hodder & Stoughton Ltd
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Genre: Fiction & Related Items

On Sale: 8th August 2019

Price: £12.99

ISBN-13: 9781473697157


The best speculative fiction currently being written . . . Becky Chambers is a wonder, and I feel better for having her books in my life
John Connolly, author of the Charlie Parker Thrillers
Becky Chambers takes space opera in a whole new and unexpected direction, her books bring me so much joy
Ben Aaronovitch, author of <i>Rivers of London</i>
Some of the most forward-thinking, inspiring science fiction out there . . . a joyful antidote to crushed spirits and a celebration of the power of curiosity, love, adventure and discovery
Claire North, author of The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August
Epic in the scale of discoveries but with a miniaturist's eye for detail, and as revealing of the observers as the observed. In a word, brilliant
Andrew Caldecott, author of Rotherweird
Rendered with startling clarity, Chambers' latest offering is a short but fierce ode to humanity and all our reaches and flaws. Unputdownable
Natasha Ngan, author of Girls of Paper and Fire
Extraordinary . . . A future sci-fi masterwork in a new and welcome tradition
Joanne Harris, author of Chocolat
Outstanding . . . Chambers packs an immense amount of story into a novella worthy of full-length praise
Publishers Weekly, Starred Review
[A] compelling exploration of home, family, and what makes us human in the midst of all that isn't, but could be. An extraordinary picture of humanity among the stars.
Kirkus Reviews
There's a quiet beauty to Chambers' writing that envelopes you in her story and holds you tight until the very end. Proof that a novel doesn't have to depth, meaning and intelligence.
Chambers creates an energy of hope and determination with every word, bringing life to space travel and the wonders - and traumas - of Earth's possible future
Library Journal
An exquisite expression of our moment in time. Here's why we need to keep going boldly into space - not to exploit, but to learn. Impressive and essential
Stephen Baxter, author of Promixa
With deft prose and her usual flair for excellent characterization, Becky Chambers brings a cast of astronauts through time, space, and physical form to show us what it means to be human on this side of the galaxy
Laura Lam, author of False Hearts and Seven Devils
a lovely, gentle, uncompromisingly character-centred piece of work
Locus Magazine