A Psalm for the Wild-Built By Becky Chambers is a charming little fairy tale, and I’m excited to read future Monk and Robot volumes. Becky Chambers has a great skill of writing novels that are bigger than they appear. Books which leave the reader having a positive feeling on themselves and humankind at large. This was my first Becky Chambers book, and obviously now I need to return and read her Wayfarers series. What a brilliant, feel good story this was.
The story happens in a future world on a moon called Panga. Many years prior, every one of the robots that had been made to work in manufacturing plants out of nowhere “awoke” and decided that they would not like to work for people any longer, thus something many refer to as the Parting Promise was made. This settlement expressed that the robots could never hurt people, and that people would agree to stay away from the wilds, the place where the robots chose to live. Nobody has seen a robot in the years since the Awakening, and people have kept their side of the deal and remained in the urban areas where they should be.
Sibling Dex is a young monk. He aches for an alternate life, outside the rush of the city. One day, they choose to wander into the outer villages as a tea monk. Dex aches for a simpler life in nature, and in particular, they want to hear crickets sing, since crickets don’t live in the city. Dex is given a ox-bike wagon to head out from one town to another, and they start to learn the craft of tea making.
But one day, Dex sees what they never expected. A robot named Splendid Speckled Mosscap gets out of the wild and discloses to Dex that they have been sent on a mission, to discover what people need. Dex isn’t at all certain what the response to that question is, however they consent to help the robot sort it out. In return, Mosscap will go with Dex into the wild, where crickets are supposed to live.
It is one of those books where not a ton occurs, yet you feel absolutely content after reading it. Becky Chambers, manages to impeccably capture an emotional state that I figure many can relate to: feeling that nothing is truly “wrong” with your life, but you actually feel like it is lacking something. A Psalm for the Wild-Built By Becky Chambers is the start of a promising new series. I’m looking forward to seeing more of Monk and Robot in the future.
Also Read: Six Crimson Cranes By Elizabeth Lim