To Be Taught, If Fortunate

A Novella

Hardcover, 160 pages

English language

Published Aug. 7, 2019 by Hodder & Stoughton.

ISBN:
9781473697164
ASIN:
1473697166

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4 stars (3 reviews)

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. …

2 editions

what does anything mean, basically?

4 stars

I really appreciated this book as much as I enjoyed it - not the same thing. I am also a sucker for the Golden Voyage disc, so that drew me in, and all of it together got me thinking deeper than most sci-fi would lead me to do. That titular bit about learning and teaching just nails it. What we do is either important or inconsequential or some mix of both… who ever knows which?

A deeply personal plea for space exploration funding

4 stars

Unlike the super-high-tech far future of her Wayfarers series, Chambers focuses on just the near-future of the human race. Seen from a team of exoplanet explorers surveying alien life, To Be Taught paints a future where governments fail in the mission to space but the human spirit leads ordinary people to crowdfund the mission instead. And when the interstellar mission outlasts human lifespans, government lifespans and even societal lifespans, Chambers leaves us with a deeply personal question, ask from both her perspective and that of the protagonist, chronologically ancient, barely human and too distant to ever return home: how much is space exploration worth?