10 Sept 2021

Science Fiction and Fantasy Fridays: A PSALM FOR THE WILD-BUILT by Becky Chambers

Science Fiction and Fantasy Fridays introduces readers who are unfamiliar with the Adult SF/F genre to books, authors, and discussions all about the vast expanse of the world of Adult SF/F!

A PSALM FOR THE WILD-BUILT

Author: Becky Chambers
Series: Monk & Robot #1
Source: Purchased from Audible
Publisher: Tor.com
Publication Date: July 13, 2021
Summary:

Hugo Award-winner Becky Chambers's delightful new series gives us hope for the future.

It's been centuries since the robots of Earth 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' new series asks: in a world where people have what they want, does having more matter?
Purchase:


Wow, this was an excellent read. Coming off the tail end of a meh read, I am so glad I decided to read this afterwards. It's a very short read (160 pages, or about 4.5 hours on audio) and I loved every moment of it. I've really enjoyed the pieces of the Wayfarers series that I've read so far.

The somewhat prologue was confusing for me and I almost dread reading the book until I started chapter 1 and liked Dex a lot! I was concerned it was going to be too much of a "let me learn how to do my job" instead of what it was - I excel at what I do to the point that I can do this for everyone. I loved following Dex's view and seeing them stumbled through their first day on the tea service. It didn't even dawn on me, until it was explicitly said in the story, that Dex was nonbinary because they went by Sibling Dex instead of Sister or Brother. 

This story definitely reeled me in, as soon as I read the first person who came with a problem and how Dex handled the situation. I normally don't like swearing in my reading but Dex swore at all the right places and each time it sparked a smile from me like the tree blocking the road.

I listened to the audiobook and also loved the narrator, Em Grosland, who is a trans* activist. It's always great!!! to have someone who identifies the same way as the main character provide the narration since it adds that extra bit of nuance to how they voice a character. Like always with Chambers' audiobooks, the quality is superb. Especially given that they are usually on the shorter side.

On top of all that, the tea service was great. I want to be a tea monk and help people by giving them tea. I know how much a good cup of tea helps me. I did like seeing Dex fumble at the beginning, but become extremely confident in what they were doing by the end. And the symmetry with the beginning and ending? *Chef's Kiss*

I can't wait for the next book to come out in the series - and I hope it continues for a long time! There is still so much to explore: how this all got started, what it means to be a tea monk, how people are helped, and what purpose we all have.

TLDRWhat a great read. I'm always so impressed with Becky Chambers books, but this was superb. Chambers does this thing where she writes inclusively and you don't even notice. Dex is an amazing character, I loved the look at religion in a science fiction novel, and that this was an "aftermath" book without it being guts and gore. I highly recommend this one!


Have you read this one? What was your favourite part?

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