In an era where thinking about the future is an increasingly depressing task, A Psalm for the Wild-Built was just the story I needed. This novella by modern-day sci-fi superstar Becky Chambers presents a wonderfully optimistic view of a future where humanity has learned to live in harmony with nature.
Dex, our main character, is a tea monk– they travel from village to village across the continent of Panga, serving tea and lending a listening ear to those in need. Dex enjoys their life, their job, and their time spent cycling from village to village on their ox bike, but they can’t shake a nagging feeling that there is something missing from their life. On a mission to figure out what this nagging feeling is about, Dex ventures into the wilderness of Panga– a place where humans usually do not venture. Along the way, they meet an unexpected new friend– a robot named Splendid Speckled Mosscap. All Mosscap wants is to learn more about humans, and all Dex wants is to be left alone, but when Dex reluctantly agrees to travel with Mosscap, they may both just find the answer they’re looking for after all.
A Psalm for the Wild-Built is a book that feels as healing as a warm sunny day spent lounging in the grass. As I write this, I am just about to crack open the sequel A Prayer for the Crown-Shy, in the Monk and Robot duology, and I can’t wait to dive back into this peaceful, welcoming world.
--reviewed by Athnie