An Aeluon, a Quelin, and an Akarak walk into a bar…or in this case the Five-Hop One-Stop Co-Op on the planet Gora in the Tren system. The only thing airless, lifeless Gora has going for it is its location, a five-tunnel hub for the Galactic Commons Transit Authority.
The Five-Hop One-Stop Co-Op is run by a Laru whose raison d’être is to make welcome every guest who lands a shuttle on her pad. Food for every species, fuel for any engine, baths of any temperature with every possible soap, lotion, and salt scrub, a garden, even an illicit bottle of home brew, if you’re there for a hour or a day Ouloo has what you need. If she doesn’t, her annoying adolescent child, Tupo, will give you a tour of The Goran Natural History Museum, which as Roveg discovers makes a lot more sense than at first look.
Then an accident causes a cascading collision of Gora’s satellites and everyone is planetbound until GCTA can get the atmosphere free of debris and travelers on their way again. Inside this dome of forced intimacy the four disparate galactic species learn more about their respective cultures and each other’s secrets than they ever anticipated, and all of their lives are the better for their chance meeting.
Marvelous characters every one, terrific dialogue (the conversation on the Human love of cheese alone is worth the entire price of the book), and as always, there is that thing the best sf authors do–reflect the real world right back at you.
“…You don’t want to. That’s it.”
“But–” Pei started.
Speaker leaned forward. “That. Is all. It ever needs to be.”
This is the fourth, last, and best of Becky Chambers’ Wayfarers series. I’m sorry it’s over, and it won’t be long before I pull them down for a reread.
Author and founder of Storyknife.org.