A Psalm for the Wild-Built

Monk and Robot #1

Hardcover, 160 pages

Published July 13, 2021 by Tordotcom.

ISBN:
9781250236210
OCLC Number:
1240266570

View on OpenLibrary

4 stars (28 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?

4 editions

Solarpunk tale of self-discovery and grappling with one's history

5 stars

A compelling yet soothing tale about a non-binary monk having a midlife crisis.

Topics: finding purpose in life, wilderness, the nature of consciousness, and more.

No violence, no struggle apart from that of a person against the pressures of exertion and survival outside of human civilization, and yet it is a page-turner.

It gets the "solarpunk" label because the setting is a human society which fits the bill: non-capitalist, low-impact technology. Main transport method: "ox-bikes," apparently the author's neologism to refer to electronically assisted bicycles that pull carts around. Personal computers are computers that last a person's entire life. Half of the available land is set aside for wilderness. Etc.

100% recommend. It would probably be a good introduction to science fiction for someone who's not familiar with the genre as it exists in the 21st century.

A breath of fresh air, the wild-built could be us

5 stars

Content warning Spoilers

A breath of fresh air, the wild-built could be us

5 stars

Content warning Spoilers

Tea, anyone?

4 stars

I like it sometimes when I don't remember why I wanted to read a book. This was one. It can make it a bit difficult at first. Either the author was being sparse of I was being more dense than usual.
By mid point or so I was all in. And really enjoyed it. a couple tears may have been shed at the end. Wonderful.

Review of 'A Psalm for the Wild-Built' on 'Goodreads'

3 stars

I wanted to read this because I had heard about this genre of “hope punk” or “cozy punk,” and I was curious. As I expected, there was no real conflict, or any jeopardy or much in the way of stakes. But this is what the genre is about, giving a break from the catastrophe that is our current world, so on that count, I would give it a high score, but I prefer novels with more at stake and more conflict. But I can see how many who are very stressed in everyday life and stressed about the planet and technology might take comfort in this sort of a book (not that I’m not stressed about these things, but I guess I’m used to higher level of stress). I don’t expect to continue with the series, but who knows?

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.

A gentle journey with real stakes

4 stars

This feels like a good LeGuin novel. Our characters go on a journey, they discover things, we learn about a very different world and we build to a crisis with a resolution that surprises in kindness.

Zero laser blasts. Real problems.

Tea throughout as a center to the plot. I loved it and will be following the next adventures.

A hopeful vision of the future

5 stars

It's easy to find dystopian science fiction. It's harder to find science fiction that provides a positive image of the future. It's not a blueprint, but you get the sense of a robust society that has overcome its most self-destructive tendencies. Very on-brand (in a good way!) for the author; if you've enjoyed her other books you will enjoy this one as well.

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

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