A Psalm for the Wild-Built

, #1

Hardcover, 160 pages

Published July 13, 2021 by Tordotcom.

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4 stars (34 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?

3 editions

Leppoisaa utopistista skifiä

No rating

Kirjan maailmassa ihmiset elävät vehreissä kestävän teknologian kaupungeissa ja puolet planeetasta (tai siis kuusta) on rauhoitettu ihmiskunnalta. Ihmiskunnan muinoin rakentamat ja sitten omille teilleen lähteneet robotit ovat jo melkein unohdettua historiaa. Päähenkilö, kiertävänä "teemunkkina" toimiva Dex, lähtee etsimään merkityksen tunnetta ja törmää robottiin, joka on lähtenyt tutustumaan ihmisten yhteiskuntaan.

Eli siis jonkinlaista tekno-optimistista ja utopistista skifiä on tämä lyhytromaani. Mulle melko uutta "solarpunk"-termiä on myös käytetty teosta kuvaamaan. Ihan kivasti kirjoitettu ja sympaattinen tarina elämän merkityksen etsimisestä, jotenkin liiankin kiva ja mukava. Ehkä kaipaan skifiltäni enemmän konfliktia ja säröä.

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 Psalm for the Wild-Built

5 stars

Content warning minor spoilers

Gentle, thoughtful, optimistic sci-fi

No rating

If I were able to write fiction, I think this is the kind of fiction I’d like to write. The first book in the Monk & Robot series is gentle and thoughtful, but manages to pick at some anxieties I’ve been having for a long time, about purpose and direction and satisfaction. There’s not much in the way of conflict, but plenty in the way of insight, and it’s short enough that I basically inhaled it.

Even more than the characters, I want to spend more time with the book’s religious system, which is revealed in small details but still largely mysterious by the end of the book. The best fictional religions have a way of concisely showing what’s important in a given world—which I guess real religions do, too, but those are so much more multilayered and convoluted from centuries of revision and interpretation that it takes real scholarship …

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?

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

5 stars

I'm such a huge fan of all the Becky Chambers books. The author's work continues to amaze me with futuristic stories full of hope and diversity. A Psalm for the Wild-Built is no exception to that. The ideas I loved most in this story were humanity reacting with acceptance when the robots gained sentience far in the past. That humanity adapted to life without them. But also the idea that what those robots chose to do with their lives was to retreat to nature and study it, with excitement and curiosity. The idea that a robot created to work in industry would then turn around and spend decades just watching a tree grow for no other reason than because it was fascinating, is such a refreshing take. And of course, it's a lot more complex than all of that, but the story doesn't feel overly complicated. These are the kind …

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.