Our Writers of Sci-Fi Interview series continues with the incredible Becky Chambers. Best known for her phenomenal ‘A Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet’, Becky talks about her writing process, her history, and how she developed her characters. Moreover, she gives an insight into how and why she tackled social issues such as gender, sexuality, and humanity’s place in the universe.
“I reject the idea that the future is for only one group of people.”
“Once I put my butt in a chair and started writing it, it took me about a year and a half, but I’d been working on it for a good seven years before that. Just writing little scraps of stuff; characters, cultures and what not. So, it really was just this sort of melange of things that interested me, documentaries I’d seen about a particular culture or whatnot… I compare it to making leftovers from whatever’s in the fridge!”
“A lot of my alien cultures do come from my general interest in biology and the animal world. So, a lot of the time I’m starting out with physicality – how are these people different from us physically? And then, how does that affect their culture. That, for me, is a really fun way to build a new culture.”
“I didn’t want to write a story in which humans are either the leading power in the galaxy, or are they’re the underdog that we see come up. I really wanted them to be in a sort of lowest rung on the ladder position.”
“We have this image of ourselves as the end-all be-all of evolution here on earth… But I like the idea that we’re not special, and that that makes us special. That sort of Carl Sagan idea of we’re very small and finite; we are not the best, but we are unique.”
“The thing about science fiction in particular, is you’re always talking about the world you want to see. So, whether that be a hopeful future – here’s what we could aim for – or something fearful – here’s what we should avoid. So, I think in terms of representation, in terms of creating futures that include lots of different people – I’m not interested in working with anything else.”
“I don’t like the idea of surviving just for the sake of surviving. We have to have a reason why this struggle is worth it.”