A Psalm for the Wild-Built
Monk & Robot, book 1
by Becky Chambers
Centuries after the robots disappeared into the wilderness, Dex, a tea monk, is approached by a robot, Mosscap, that wants to know what it is people need.
This story follows Dex, who leaves their old life behind to set out on their own and become a tea monk. The first third of this story shows Dex’s struggle and success at this endeavor. I do think this part of the story could have been a little shorter, but it does well to establish the world we’re in and where Dex is at before they encounter Mosscap.
Then, Mosscap appears. I loved Mosscap. It’s a robot that volunteered to go to the humans and find out what they need centuries after robots left civilization. It’s curious and supportive and I enjoyed its interactions with Dex.
This book examines what humans need when needs are ever-changing and oftentimes we have no idea what we need ourselves. It captures the inexplicable desire to retreat when there is no clear gain from doing so, the fear of failure associated with returning to what is familiar, and an enthusiasm for learning and connecting with others.
Sometimes you just need someone to hand you a cup of tea so you can take a break, however brief.