Hello again, dear readers! It’s time to return to the Five-Hop One-Stop and rejoin our mismatched band of stranded strangers, who are becoming less strange to each other and warming my heart while they do it.
Let’s discuss The Galaxy and the Ground Within. (With spoilers!)
This week’s questions are courtesy of Mayri at Bookforager! Let’s dive in…
Each of Ouloo’s three guests is in a predicament: Speaker is separated from her sister, Roveg is potentially going to be late for his appointment, and Pei has begun her shimmer… What do you make of these small crises? And any predictions for how things might turn out for our travellers?
Well, predictions are always tricky when you’re rereading. In my case that’s because I often forget the details from my first reading! But also because I wouldn’t want to spoil anything. So I will sidestep that part of the question. HOWEVER. The small crises – I’m not entirely sure ‘small’ is the right word, because even though they might not be of the ‘immediate danger’ variety, they likely don’t feel small to these characters.
But what I appreciate about how they’re handled is that, while they’re each learning that they don’t necessarily have to deal with them alone and that these other people are willing to help them, it’s much more “what can I do to help you here and now” rather than anyone trying anything stupid and risky to get the problem resolved faster. They’re using their skills to try practical solutions, like Roveg trying to help Speaker get a message to her sister, but it’s more about the means they have at their disposal in this situation to help make one another feel better. It’s the best kind of hopeful comfort reading.
Do you have any thoughts to share on the GC’s treatment of the Akarak people?
Well, it’s pretty hypocritical and shameful of them, as the Akarak speech stated. I couldn’t help feeling for them, and I think it goes without saying that a lot of it is holding a mirror up to our real-world politics, and that’s a whole other barrel of Ouch. But that’s politics, and politicians, for you. I’m sure they thought that their reservations and denials were perfectly reasonable, but they sure as hell don’t actually help anyone, do they? So it’s completely understandable that the Akarak people would eventually decide it wasn’t worth their own time and effort.
Let’s talk about Tupo’s Natural History Museum. Actually, let’s talk about Tupo more generally – what are your feelings about the adolescent Laru?
Oh my gosh. I had completely forgotten that Tupo was the one responsible for the Natural History Museum! And xyr explanation of the Anthropological display?? I WANT TO VISIT THAT MUSEUM. I am so glad we got to see a side of Tupo that wasn’t just Sullen Youngster, that there is something xe is truly passionate about. And xyr perspective on how interesting Gora actually is was so refreshing! Yes, it was entertaining and kind of goofy, but that describes too many nerdy interests to count when you think about it. It certainly doesn’t invalidate it, and I deeply appreciated that we got to learn something from Tupo, along with everyone else. The young people know what’s up.
Chambers is very good at capturing small but meaningful moments. Do you have any favourites so far?
‘Nobody’s ever bothered mapping Akaraks, it would seem. I’d never thought about it before, but you’re … you’re not an option in the design tools I use.’ His words came out quiet, bothered.
‘I guess nobody expects us to buy them,’ Speaker said.
‘Yes, well, you can’t buy them if they don’t exist, can you?’
REPRESENTATION MATTERS. I really liked that we got to have a moment like this, and I don’t remember if Roveg decides to do anything about it later on but I hope he does. This ties back into the Akarak people being effectively excluded from the GC because “logistics”, but at least here we get to see Roveg realise that things like this ARE an issue and that they’re unfair at best.
That’s it for the questions, and I think that’s it for my round of ranty answers, heh! Next week I am back in the hosting seat for the final round, but a big thank you to Mayri for her excellent questions! And it’s never too late to join in with us – the schedule is here if you’re keen!