Series: Monk & Robot #1
Author: Becky Chambers
Source/Format: Tor ebook club; ebook
More Details: Speculative fiction
Publisher/Publication Date: TorDotCom; July 13, 2021
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Synopsis from Goodreads...
Centuries before, robots of Panga gained self-awareness, laid down their tools, wandered, en masse into the wilderness, never to be seen again. They faded into myth and urban legend. Now the life of the tea monk who tells this story 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 will need to ask it a lot. Chambers' series asks: in a world where people have what they want, does having more matter?
It’s been years since I’ve read one of Becky Chambers’ stories. A while ago, Tor.com ebook club had a free copy of A Psalm for the Wild-Built included in a bundle, and I thought I would give it a try.
This one was just fine for me. It’s a really slow and contemplative tale about a tea monk, Sibling Dex, who eventually crosses paths with a robot. The synopsis is true to form, and much of what happens is about questions and answers. It’s basically like one long conversation once the two characters get through their introduction to each other.
Even though A Psalm for the Wild-Built had all the hallmarks of the kinds of books I’ve been into lately, I never clicked with the story as much as I thought I would (The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet is one of my favorite books). I did like the commentary about environmental issues, as well as the robot and the part of the plot specific to the history of Panga.