The Galaxy, and the Ground Within by Becky Chambers
Trade Paperback – Harper – Apr 2021 – 325 pages
With no water, no air, and no native life, the planet Gora is unremarkable. The only thing it has going for it is a chance proximity to more popular worlds, making it a decent stopover for ships traveling between the wormholes that keep the Galactic Commons connected. If deep space is a highway, Gora is just your average truck stop.
At the Five-Hop One-Stop, long-haul spacers can stretch their legs (if they have legs, that is), and get fuel, transit permits, and assorted supplies. The Five-Hop is run by an enterprising alien and her sometimes helpful child, who work hard to provide a little piece of home to everyone passing through.
When a freak technological failure halts all traffic to and from Gora, three strangers – all different species with different aims – are thrown together at the Five-Hop. Grounded, with nothing to do but wait, the trio – an exiled artist with an appointment to keep, a cargo runner at a personal crossroads, and a mysterious individual doing her best to help those on the fringes – are compelled to confront where they’ve been, where they might go, and what they are, or could be, to each other.