This winter ended up being a season of cozy science fiction for me. I devoured Winter's Orbit by Everina Maxwell (amazing) and then plowed through every book in Becky Chambers' Wayfarers series. Those of you who regularly read our blog will remember Lori raving about Becky's Monk and Robot series (also amazing and cozy and full of self-acceptance and love). Well, it prompted me to get the audio-book of The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet, #1 in Wayfarers. Her world-building, wit, and characters are all *chef's kiss*. Of all of the probable and improbable sci-fi futures I've read, this is the one I like the most. Full of acceptance and a mingling of cultures and diverse beings who learn about each other's ways of life, it is so very satisfying to read.
Book 1 follows the motley crew of The Wayfarer, a ship tasked with making tunnels to connect one faraway place with another. When the crew (several humans from wildly different backgrounds, a reptilian Aandarisk pilot, a member of a mostly extinct species, a navigator shrouded in secrecy, and an AI) takes on a lucrative long-haul job, they're stuck together on their small vessel for almost two years. Along the way they encounter pirates, a xenophobic border control, sabotage, and more, only to reach their destination and end up in the crosshairs of a local conflict. It’s not all bad, though. They are also reunited with loved ones, make plenty of new friends, and grow closer as a crew (although begrudgingly for some of them).
The later books don't have to be read in any specific order; they're more companion novels than a series, with occasional references to characters from The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet, so definitely read that first. This series is an absolute joy to read. A little bit of romance, a smattering of found family, and a whole lot of space, these slower-paced books are a warm hug, or a cozy blanket on a rainy day. They are my new favorite comfort reads, and if you love a diverse cast of characters and enjoy books about the intricacies of people and their relationships with one another, then they might be yours too!