In the future, instead of terraforming planets to sustain human life, explorers of 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.
'Becky Chambers takes space opera in a whole new and unexpected direction, her books bring me so much joy' Ben Aaronovitch, author of Rivers of London
'Some of the most forward-thinking, inspiring science fiction out there' Claire North, author of The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August
Becky Chambers is the author of the Wayfarers books, which currently include The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet, A Closed and Common Orbit, and Record of a Spaceborn Few. To Be Taught, If Fortunate is her first stadalone work. Her books have been nominated for the Hugo Award, the Arthur C. Clarke Award, and the Bailey's Women's Prize for Fiction, among others, and won the Prix Julia Verlanger in 2017. She grew up in a family heavily involved in space science, and hopes to see Earth from orbit one day.