A Psalm For The Wild-Built by Becky Chambers
Monk & Robot #1
Published by Tordotcom
In A Psalm for the Wild-Built, Hugo Award-winner Becky Chambers’s delightful new Monk and Robot series gives us hope for the future.
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?
This little novella is perfect for anyone suffering from grief and tragic loss. I am by no means healed from this book but for a little bit, it took me away from that feeling of drowning. A Psalm for the Wild-Built by Becky Chambers is all about life; healing when you feel lost in the world. If a book could love me unconditionally, it would be this one.
Becky Chambers writes great fun, making room for laughter and heartache in equal measure.
In this world, robotics and plants seemlessly intertwine into the coziest story of the happiest robot befriending a grumpy nonbinary human. Chambers paints a world where long ago the robots left the humans and their lives in the city for the forest. All the machines understood was human design, including that of their bodies and the building in which they lived. In droves, they left for the wild. So their descendants became: the Wild-Built.
The story follows Dex, who leaves their cushy job for a bit of soul searching. They become a tea monk. Providing travelers with a warm cup of tea, they help those with their troubles, grief, and sorrows. They heal in every way possible.
Chambers writes with such a cozy flair. Tea kettles are joyfully chubby. Water bubbles dance. A robot seems a perfect double for K-2SO from Rogue One if stripped of skepticism in return for absolute enthusiasm. Its name is Moscap. Yes, all the robots are named after the first thing they focus on. Just so happens to be stuff in the woods.
Moscap and Dex come together in a mutual exchange of goals. Moscap hopes to study and know more about human’s culture. Dex wants to get to a famed monastery, a hermitage if you will. They search for some purpose, some meaning for their life but Moscap, a whole machine, teaches Dex something about the meaning of life. It’s a rareity when an author is actually able to teach me a lesson that might change my own perspective of my life in this world. For that reason, Moscap is now one of my favorite characters.
Sometimes slowing down to process everything is self love. That’s comforting. It’s ok to remember that, in the scheme of things, everything else just seems less important. You’re allowed to take time to heal and to find what about life would make it more enjoyable, even if you don’t really understand what it’s all about.
I don’t know any other science fiction novel that would appeal so much to lovers of folkloric fantasy. If you love the folkloric fantasy, that strangeness of forestry, plants, and the magic that grows in odd places than you would absolutely love this. Whether you love science fiction or fantasy, you would love this. It’s cozy and warm all over. Are you a nerd for anthropological ideas? This has a lot of that.
I can’t emphasize this enough. Read this for comfort. Read it for self-love. Read it just because you deserve a fucking cozy good time.
Thank you Tom Doherty Associates for providing an e-book for review