A Psalm for the Wild-Built

(Monk and Robot #1)

Hardcover, 160 pages

Published July 13, 2021 by Tordotcom.


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4 stars (12 reviews)

It's been centuries since the robots of Panga gained self-awareness and laid down their tools; centuries since they wandered, en masse, into the wilderness, never to be seen again; centuries since they faded into myth and urban legend.

One day, the life of a tea monk is upended by the arrival of a robot, there to honor the old promise of checking in. The robot cannot go back until the question of "what do people need?" is answered.

But the answer to that question depends on who you ask, and how.

They're going to need to ask it a lot.

Becky Chambers's new series asks: in a world where people have what they want, does having more matter?

2 editions

A wonderful cozy read!

4 stars

I read this book in one sitting from start to finish on Christmas day with hot tea and a blanket. It is precisely what I needed for some relaxation and escape. The book is about breaking patterns, dealing with boredom, trying new things, failing and grappling with what it means to be human - all told through the story between sibling dex, a tea monk and a funny robot named mosscap.

Feels like a warm embrace

5 stars

This novella felt like a warm embrace. It's cozy, cute and light. A traveling tea monk exploring the world coming in contact with a conscious robot. Robots were long forgotten by humanity, having fled to the wilderness to live their own lives. I loved the discussions about life purpose and consciousness. It made me want to continue reading the next one.

Sleight book on weighty themes

4 stars

First a disclaimer: at this point I think a Becky Chambers book would have to be pretty terrible to get a bad review from me.

This is very clearly a novella, and continues Chamber's trend away from plot driven fiction as seen in the later Wayfarer books. So, not much happens, but deep themes are explored.

The solarpunk aspect has been remarked elsewhere, but I didn't expect was how much it seemed like a reflection on the (privileged) human condition. As a fellow privileged human, I recognized some of Sibling Dex's disquiet.

solarpunk road trip?

5 stars

Becky Chamber's works are rare among science fiction stories because instead of action-adventure plots they're about people talking about what it means to be alive.

The first couple of chapters felt like the plot was jumping around a hell of a lot, because they're really just backstory/preamble for the actual story

It's good that there will be a sequel because I do want to know what both Mosscap and Dex will do next

Humane sci-fi. With robots.

4 stars

There isn’t much I can add to loppear@bookwyrm.social’s review; once again, Chambers is simply wonderful. Here, she is running with the wholesome if slightly insipid promise for the future Solarpunk holds to explore human condition and (not entirely incidentally, I suspect) thumb a very long nose to the whole “machine uprising” crowd. I don’t know how someone can be so relentlessly, melancholically upbeat, but I do know I had to finish this before work, and that I had a little happy cry when I did.

Nice and short

4 stars

A monk looking for a purpose meets a robot. They both have much to discover from each other, as they tackle the meaning of life.

Short as it is, this book might serve as an introduction to a larger body of work set in the same world, but it also works well alone from other expectations.

I'd love to see more of that world, a sort of solarpunk utopia where suffering, or illness, or poverty, seem very foreign. The robot wants to check in on humanity, to ask them what they need, what the population of wild robots could help them with. What are the need of a society that's got everything? I'm curious. I want to read more.

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rated it

5 stars
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rated it

4 stars