She put some of that knowledge to professional use, writing small fantasy stories, mostly fiction, based on her favorite books and movies. Chambers’ mother introduced it to Tolkien; Star Wars and Star Trek were mainstays on movie night. She was obsessed with Sailor Moon. When Chambers was twelve years old, Call went out. To explore the unknown, and to meet the aliens “through the protagonist,” Chambers says, “I was very drawn to it.” Next, she started reading Carl Sagan, beginning her fascination with space.
Looking up and out, though, distracts Chambers from having to look inward, into the “absolute absence” she felt at the heart of her young life. “Who am I, where I fit in, what kind of life I can expect, and there was none,” she says. Then, at the age of thirteen, Chambers met a girl in a science class whose older sister had a gay boyfriend. “I was like, Oh, is that an option?” Chambers remembers thinking. “Well, my whole life makes sense now.” It will be several years before she feels comfortable enough to talk to her parents. When I did, my mom was wonderful; Dad, not so much. “It was really bad at first, you know,” she said, shutting her doors a bit. Chambers says that even though it “comes a lot,” she still doesn’t like talking about it.
In Chambers’ books, people do not appear – the word you use not only for humans but for all species that are members of the so-called Galactic Commons. They simply don’t have to. “I don’t have gay, straight, etc. terms,” she says. “People are who they are and they bring home whoever they bring home and they love the ones they love.” in a the long roadRosemary, a human woman, develops feelings for a female reptile – a foreign bird called Sissix. Chambers writes in a pivotal scene that Rosemary “bends inward,” “running with a smooth finger along the feathers of the Sissex.” When I told Chambers that a colleague (straight, male) of me, who had read the book, didn’t think humans would actually want to have sex with giant lizards, I was appalled. Was it even online?
The Internet is where college-aged Chambers met her future wife, Berglug Asmundardottir. On the Star Trek role-playing forum, to be exact. Asmundardottir is not, to our knowledge, a lizard person; She is just Icelandic. When Chambers talks about it, the lighting in the room seems to light up and soften somehow at the same time. In the Thanks and Appreciation section of both Wayfarers books, Chambers thanks her wife in a new way. Little record of Spaceborn: “Berglaug who is incredible.” Closed and shared orbit: “The best part of every day.” Galaxy and Earth inside: “If a scrap of my writing stays longer than me, I want it to be the one you say I loved, and so I’ll write it wherever I can.”
After graduating from college, Chambers moved with Esmondardottir to Edinburgh. The plan was to find work in the theater scene there – that’s what Chambers studied at school – but nothing much came of it. Two years later, they moved to Iceland, where Chambers worked independently for American publications, all while writing dialogue and scenes for an undistorted story about Eccentric in space. For a long time, Chambers didn’t think it was a “real book,” she said. “I was like, no one is going to want to read this. It’s not a true story. There are no exploding planets.” In other words, the tension was internal. It came from the characters.
When I suggest to Chambers that her novels mirror the exit process—too much tension, too little plot—it pauses. “I think… I think that’s fair,” she says. “It’s not one of those conscious things, but I definitely think that’s fair.” Whatever the case, the story had an echo. With the help of the few followers she had as a freelance journalist, as well as the interest of a handful of strangers, Chambers was able to fund the Kickstarter autobiographical novel that became Long road to angry little planet. Among other positive notices, io9 called it This year’s ‘Best Space Opera’.