Record of a Spaceborn Few is the final instalment in Becky Chambers’ Wayfarers trilogy and is, by far, the most narratively disparate of the three books and yet, conversely, it is also the quietest book. There is no 'main' character of the book; rather, it flits between five characters - Kip, Tessa, Sawyer, Isobel, and Eyas - and explores them and their situations. All of their stories converge on the Asteria, one of the spacecraft that makes up the Exodus Fleet: a flotilla of ships that escaped Earth before it became wholly inhospitable.
The fleet works on the principle that everyone aboard contributes to the community and to the running of the ship and then they, in turn, are provided guaranteed food and shelter. Through the five characters, the book explores what it means when you lose faith in the system around you and no longer feel safe in your home. Though the book is set in outer space, the problems that the characters, and the ship in general, face are very similar to our own problems on Earth: how technology and the workplace fit together; over-population; and xenophobia.
The book may not be very loud or full of action, but it explores heritage and tradition and how these fit into our sense of purpose as a human being. When Chambers’ books were first recommended to me I was told that it was obvious that these were sci-fi books written by a woman and so I think these books make a very interesting case study for the gendered stereotyping that we place on science fiction and fantasy books and how this plays into our expectations of the genre.