RogerBW's Blog

A Psalm for the Wild-Built, Becky Chambers 14 January 2022

2021 science fiction novella, first of a planned series. Dex is a monk who feels hemmed in in the city; going out and serving tea-and-relaxation to villagers seems like a reasonable change. But it's not the answer.

Yes, all right, I might like to know more about this planet and its history, and how it came to be that all the robots suddenly gained consciousness and left, so that the humans ended up rebuilding a much lower-impact society, and it's now later enough that no living human has ever actually met a robot… but that's just hinted at in the gaps between the story of Sibling Dex and the robot Mosscap, who meet in the wilderness.

There's little in the way of physical threat, though there is some ground to traverse that's returned to native forest; Dex is looking for inner peace in solitude, Mosscap wants to learn what humans want, and each is something of a misfit in terms of their societies. Those things and how they deal with them are far more important than fighting could be.

This is the sort of thing Chambers does very well, and she does it again. This is less a novella in itself than it is part one of a longer story, and it has very little by way of conclusion, but what there is is distinctly promising.

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