A Closed and Common Orbit (Wayfarers Book 2) – Becky Chambers

What was the difference between strung-together neurons and a simple bundle of if/then code, if the outward actions were the same? Could you say for certain that there wasn’t a tiny mind in that bot, looking back at the world like a beetle might?

The book presents in two separate, but interlinked stories, the survival and friendship adventures of an artificial intelligence (AI) and a clone on the run, sometime in the far future. A Close and Common Orbit is the stand-alone second book of the Wayfarers series.

The impressive world-building and memorable characters remain the strong-points of the series, but this time the story goes in a new direction compared with the first book. If the first book followed a motley crew, this volume is more about personal discovery, grit and friendship. The author explores the consciousness of an AI and how it evolves and interacts with sapient organics, through two separate stories (will not spoil how they are linked).

The book is captivating and fulfilling in its climax, with a good pace, creating a rich world, but unburdened by long descriptions. It is excellent storytelling. The plot is rather straightforward, but the introspection of the main characters makes a fascinating read.

An AI and a clone on the run, in two separate, but interlinked stories.

The author, Becky Chambers, is a well recognized and award-winning sci-fi writer, and these were the books that made her fame, the Wayfarers series being her most accoladed prose so far.

Overall, the second book of the series is an engaging and captivating read that has plenty of food for thought.

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