To Be Taught, If Fortunate

Becky Chambers

fiction science fiction
adventurous emotional reflective fast-paced

138 pages | first published 2019

In her new novella, Sunday Times best-selling author Becky Chambers imagines a future in which, instead of terraforming planets to sustain human life, explorers of the solar system instead transform themselves.

Adriane is one such explorer. As an astronaut on an extrasolar research vessel, she and her fellow crewmates sleep between worlds and wake up each time with different features. Her experience is one of fluid body and stable mind and of a unique perspective on the passage of time. Back on Earth, society changes dramatically from decade to decade, as it always does.

Ariadne may awaken to find that support for space exploration back home has waned, or that her country of birth no longer exists, or that a cult has arisen around their cosmic findings, only to dissolve once more by the next waking. But the moods of Earth have little bearing on their mission: to explore, to study, and to send their learnings home.

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adventurous 82%
reflective 65%
emotional 53%
hopeful 52%
inspiring 43%
informative 23%
challenging 15%
tense 12%
mysterious 10%
sad 8%
relaxing 7%
dark 5%
lighthearted 4%
funny 3%


medium 50%
fast 33%
slow 16%

Strong character development?

Yes: 50% | It's complicated: 23% | No: 23% | N/A: 2%

Loveable characters?

Yes: 88% | It's complicated: 6% | No: 3% | N/A: 1%

Diverse cast of characters?

Yes: 90% | No: 4% | It's complicated: 3% | N/A: 1%

Flaws of characters centre-stage?

No: 38% | Yes: 35% | It's complicated: 20% | N/A: 6%

Average rating