I think, in general, my policy is not to review sequels – particularly not in close succession. I’m making an exception here because this is both so great and so different from ‘The Long Way…‘ that I have plenty of thoughts. It is a sequel, in that it picks up directly where the previous book leaves off; but it is also a perfectly formed stand-alone novel in its own right.
Like all the best SciFi, ‘A Closed and Common Orbit’ uses exaggerated concepts to project and explore fundamental human experiences. The focus is much closer than that of its prequel, with alien species providing a background and mirror for the two central characters: a genetically modified human and an Artificial Intelligence.