British Fiction Focus

Coming Soon to A Small, Angry Planet Near You

What a week Becky Chambers has had! After a successful Kickstarter campaign, “the progeny of an astrobiology educator, an aerospace engineer, and an Apollo-era rocket scientist” self-published her first science-fiction novel last summer. In The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet:

The crew of the Wayfarer, a wormhole-building spaceship, get the job offer of a lifetime: the chance to build a hyperspace tunnel at the centre of the galaxy. The journey will be time-consuming and difficult, but the pay is enough to endure any discomfort. All they have to do is survive the long trip through war-torn interstellar space without endangering any of the fragile alliances that keep the galaxy peaceful. But every crewmember has a secret to hide, and they’ll soon discover that space may be vast, but spaceships are very small indeed.

“I was proud of the small following [The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet] gathered,” Chambers said of the text’s success, “but I thought that was as far as it was going to go.”

It wasn’t.

On Friday, The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet was shortlisted for a Golden Tentacle for Best Debut, making it the first self-published novel to hit the Kitschies. Later that same day, editor Anne Perry took to the Hodderscape blog to announce the imprint’s acquisition of world rights to release what Jared Shurin called “a joyous, optimistic space opera” in Tor.com’s recent Reviewer’s Choice:

“I fell in love with Becky’s universe the moment I started reading The Long Way; the world she creates is warm and wonderful and so involving that I found myself resenting any time spent not reading the book. I was thrilled to learn about the Kitschies shortlisting so soon after agreeing the deal with Becky—The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet is an incredibly assured debut and I am absolutely delighted [to] be working with her at such an exciting moment in her career.”

This wasn’t a decision Chambers made lightly, either:

“[The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet] was a very personal project, and I wouldn’t have sold it to just anyone. The team at Hodder has gone out of their way to demonstrate how much they care about this story. I know this is the right place for it.”

As if to underscore Chambers’ newfound faith, this morning Hodder unveiled new cover art which “captures the novel’s vast scope and human scale and makes a feature out of that wonderful, compelling title.”

Astonishing, isn’t it?

Hodder mean to release the ebook of The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet in mid-March, with the hardcover to follow in August in the UK and elsewhere.


Niall Alexander is an extra-curricular English teacher who reads and writes about all things weird and wonderful for The Speculative Scotsman, Strange Horizons, and Tor.com. He’s been known to tweet, twoo.

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