A Psalm for the Wild-Built

A Psalm For The Wild Built – Becky Chambers

Centuries before our story begins, the robots of Panga gained self-awareness, laid down their tools, and ventured into the forest never to be seen again. Since that day, humans and robots have peacefully co-existed on the same moon, but occupying different regions.

Now, a robot has ventured into human territory encountering Dex, a solitary tea monk, and asks one question, “what do humans need?”

At some point, most of us have been where Dex is; dissatisfied with our current station in life and wanting something more. Cooped up inside the oppressively noisy city, Dex yearned for something quiet, something minimalistic. Dex needed to hear the sounds of the crickets amongst the wilderness and wanted a more personal connection with those they’ve pledged to help. Dex embarks on a life as a tea monk, one who listens to your problems and prescribes the perfect tea blend for how you’re feeling.

I really enjoyed this. In an interview with Wired, Becky called this the quietest story she’s ever written. While it’s true that not much happens, it’s still an affecting story about one’s purpose in life and how there is never just one way to quantify one’s existence. Coming in at under 200 pages, the story is as tight as can be, but still feels loose and relaxed. Very much like the novel’s protagonist, it feels like an enjoyable cup of tea for the frazzled.

Becky Chambers offers up a sci-fi story that is a breath of fresh air amongst the seemingly never-ending dystopian novels that take up shelf space.


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