To Be Taught, If Fortunate by Becky Chambers

To Be Taught, If Fortunate

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. Ariadne 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 u...

Details To Be Taught, If Fortunate

TitleTo Be Taught, If Fortunate
Release DateSep 3rd, 2019
PublisherHarper Voyager
GenreScience Fiction, Fiction, Novella

Reviews To Be Taught, If Fortunate

  • Chelsea (chelseadolling reads)
    WOW, this reminded me so much of why I love sci-fi and why I need to make it a priority to read more of it. Becky Chambers has such a knack for writing heartbreakingly human, character driven stories. I loved this a whole heck of a lot.
  • Phrynne
    This is a beauty. A novella which packs twice the punch of the average full length novel. A story of hope and a better future. An ending which makes you want to cry. Wonderful. I love well written sci fi and To Be Taught, If Fortunate is exactly that. It follows the experiences of four scientists/astronauts who are basically crowd funded by a future Earth to explore several previously unvisited planets. Time passes and eventually they lose contac...
  • Emer (A Little Haze)
    Becky Chambers is a freaking genius. If you have any interest in speculative fiction about where we as a species could be headed then you really need to pick up any of her books. 'To Be Taught If Fortunate' is a short novella about longterm space mission to study four planets light years away from Earth. There are four members of the crew of the OCA spacecraft Merian; Ariadne O'Neill, Elena Quesada-Cruz, Jack Vo and Chikondi Daka. But instead of ...
  • Matthew Quann
    Guys, if you haven't read any of Becky Chambers' uplifting solar punk (see her Hugo-award wining Wayfarers trilogy), then To Be Taught, If Fortunate is the perfect place to start. Stuffed into less than 200 pages, it is a compelling, intelligent, and deeply humanistic science-fiction yarn that is representative of what Chambers does best. The story is told as a letter being sent back to Earth from Adriane, pilot of a OCA spaceship meant to cate...
  • Natasha Ngan
    THE MARTIAN meets INTERSTELLAR, this is high-concept speculative fic at its finest. Rendered with startling clarity, Chambers' latest offering is a short but fierce ode to humanity and all our reaches and flaws. Unputdownable.
  • Sara
    I’ll say right off the bat that I’m not a science fiction reader, and initially I struggled to get into this. There’s not much in the way of a traditional ‘story’ beyond following four explorers as they leave Earth to investigate specific planets. These planets are varied, some teeming with life, some none. All have differing environments too, and the book explores how we humans can ‘change’ to adapt to that environment - which was ...
  • Bradley
    The good:I honestly enjoyed the science bits and exploring the worlds. I kept thinking of Peter Watts' book, Starfish, where the people alter themselves for the harsh environment rather than the other way around. But unlike Peter's book, this is downright mild and doesn't go for the mental health issues. At least, it doesn't go for them in quite such a hardcore way.The bad: This is hard-SF, and while the cool focus is mostly on biology rather tha...
  • Evelina | AvalinahsBooks
    Sigh. This is a case of managing your expectations. If you are coming into this book expecting what you've already read by Becky Chambers, well... Maybe don't read it (or don't have those expectations).This book is basically a big metaphor. I would call it literary, not the typical scifi. Not a bad thing, and in another context on its own, I would have enjoyed it. But that's not what I was expecting. Not the author's fault at all! But I feel like...
  • Emma
    This was fascinating and a very engaging concept. It did not charm or entertain in the same way the Wayfarers did, but I did enjoy it.
  • Lata
    A lovely, hopeful book. A love letter to science, a meditation on the wonder of space and discovery, both without and within.
  • Dawn C
    “Hello, I hope you are listening and it’s okay even though I’m a space traveller I won’t exclude you by using fancy words coz I want to talk to ALL of you so I’m gonna talk like you’re all simpleminded idiots ok? So yesterday I found a stone and it was so pretty and this is the whole meaning of life, you know? I used to live somewhere that sounds pretty and today we’re having this for dinner and I find animals so fascinating especia...
  • Shaun Hutchinson
    This was just such a lovely novella about everything. I'd be laying if I said it didn't leave me wanting more, but isn't that what a good book is supposed to do?
  • Trike
    While I feel the ending of this novella is a bit of a cop-out (view spoiler)[the crew of the Merian chooses not to choose, and, in my opinion, doom themselves to dying in hibernation waiting for a message from Earth that will almost certainly never come (hide spoiler)], I fully acknowledge that viewpoint comes from my own particular bias toward life due to who I am and my generation. Chambers is different from me in many important ways, some of w...
  • Hollis
    I really don't know what to say about this book. I’m coming to it months after Micky's original review, and the reviews of so many others, all of whom are far more eloquent than me. I just know that this story lulled me into loving it. It was a slow, smart, heartwrenching, and thoughtful, seduction. I'm an observer, not a conqueror. I have no interest in changing other worlds to suit me. I choose the lighter touch : changing myself to suit them...
  • Oleksandr Zholud
    This is a SF space exploration novella in tradition of classic SF educaiment.People go to the stars. And it is done not by a state or corporation, but by million of people across the globe giving money to a non-profit that launches several spaceships with small crews (4 persons) to stars with planets in a Goldilocks’ zone. Our narrator, a female engineer Ariadne O’Neill, aboard the spacecraft Merian, sent 14 light years from the Sol.The book ...
  • laurel [suspected bibliophile]
    Ariadne and her crew of four travel four of the planets (well, one moon and three planets), orbiting Zhenyi. All is well until they suddenly receive silence from Earth.While the idea of a long-term space exploration team losing track of Earth due to ~reasons~ isn't something that's often done, I did enjoy the hell out of the concept of exploration vice colonization.The Merian crew had no desire to colonize—and that wasn't their mission. They we...
  • Lauren James
    [Gifted]A near-future look at a manned mission to research primitive alien life outside the solar system. The crew wear patches that alter their genes to adapt to each planet - making their skin glitter on low-light moons, giving them more muscle strength on high gravity planets, etc. The alien lifeforms are fascinating and distinctly non-Earthian. I loved the crew too - some amazing diversity of race and sexuality for only 4 characters. The endi...
  • Jemppu
    A pioneering space mission in the near future with it's feet firmly on our reality. The joviality, compassion and diversity familiar from The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet crew meets the no-nonsense mentality and first-person narration reminiscence of Red Mars and The Martian: logging in details on daily maintenance and mission tasks, convincing bits of astrogeological and astrobiological observations, and perceptive personal thoughts on crew...
  • Lindsay
    While this excellent (mostly) hard SF novella isn't set in the Wayfarer's universe, it explores common themes for this author around social cohesion, shared purpose and found family, along with being a profoundly hopeful story about crewed space exploration.The framing conceit of this is as a message home from a small crew of extrasolar explorers. The mission targets exoplanets with signs of life and uses slower-than-light travel with suspended a...
  • Julie Zantopoulos
    This isn't in our Wayfarer world but Becky delivers on the characters and the feels, all the same. The only issue with this is how short it was and the ending...why that ending! But I love the message of trying not to influence the areas you explore, trying not to harm or change but only observe. And the diversity on a four person crew is phenomenal-we'd expect no different of a Becky Chambers book. I was a ltitle overwhelmed with the science asp...
  • wanderer (Para)
    ARC received from the publisher (Harper Voyager) on Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.And Becky Chambers has done it again. I know that's a cliché line to use in a review, but I wouldn't be surprised if in a few decades she will be remembered as one of the greats. This is the exact kind of thought-provoking, insightful, ultimately deeplyhuman sci-fi that makes up the best the genre has to offer.However, I went in with entirely the wrong...
  • Justine
    Originally posted to I Should Read ThatI received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This is a spoiler-free review.You all know how passionately I love Becky Chambers’ books -- she’s one of my favourite authors and consistently puts out incredible stories. When her next release was announced, I was initially a little disappointed that To Be Taught, If Fortunate wasn’t going to be a continuation of her W...
  • Rachel (TheShadesofOrange)
    4.5 StarsBecky Chambers packed such a beautiful and powerful story into this little novella!Unrelated to the Wayfarer’s series, this story had a slightly different narrative style and tone than her beloved companion series. This novella was more focused on the technical aspects of science fiction with a little less emphasis on the characters. The story still had the author’s optimistic view of the future. Yet it was noticeably more toned down...
  • Mara
    3.5 stars -- To me, the stand out elements of this book are the prose (which was lovely) and the character dynamics within the team, including the level of casual diversity. I'm not sure I was totally sold on how the book wraps up, and I think this is clarifying to me that I don't love a space exploration kind of trope. That said, this is a novella I can easily see people loving, and I look forward to trying A Long Way to a Small Angry Planet
  • Gerhard
    I kind of did a double take when I read in the brief author bio at the end of this novella that Becky Chambers has a … wife. Nothing wrong with that in our enlightened age, but it is quite ironic in the light of the main criticism of her Wayfarers’ series as being too conventional, hopeful, optimistic, and too caught up in the minutiae of her characters’ (often very complex and sex-packed) lives.Well, this criticism goes out the window with...
  • Dora
    ***4 Stars***This book is sci-fi, but it isn't about action. It is consisting mostly of the internal contemplation of an engineer on a small exploration ship. It is a journey of space travel, but maybe even more importantly it is the internal journey of one woman. We follow the main character, Ariadne, who's the ideal astronaut. She’s curious, but respectful, ambitious but realistic, and she has limits but they are being pushed. Ariadne and her...