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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.
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Genre: Fiction & Related Items

On Sale: 8th August 2019

Price: £12.99

ISBN-13: 9781473697157


Outstanding . . . Chambers packs an immense amount of story into a novella worthy of full-length praise
Publishers Weekly, Starred Review
Extraordinary . . . A future sci-fi masterwork in a new and welcome tradition
Joanne Harris, author of Chocolat
Moving in what feels like small personal ways but is actually big, universal ways and it is uplifting on the same scale
Forbidden Planet
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
A joyous, optimistic space opera... Although it isn't shy about tackling Big Questions, Planet is a heart-warming debut novel that will restore your faith in science fiction (specifically) and humanity (in general).
A quietly profound, humane tour de force
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
The most fun that I've had with a novel in a long, long time
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>
Checks all the boxes . . . driven by well-drawn, likable, and diverse characters in a complex future world
Barnes & Noble
An intensely powerful and multifaceted meditation on time, history, change, and memory, leavened with a welcome touch of humor . . . This is a superb work from one of the genre's rising stars
Publishers Weekly
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
Explores the quieter side of sci-fi while still wowing us with daring leaps of imagination
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
Deeply moving... the sparky empathy of Chambers' writing [draws] you into these strange creatures' hearts and minds in a way that is never less than deeply involving.
Daily Mail