Becky Chamber’s books have always had a sort of gentleness about them. In The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet, the first book in her Hugo Award winning “Wayfarers” Series, the galactic journey of the Wayfarer spaceship is far less important than the relationships between its crew. The result is a very personal story about the lives of a diverse group of people, against a backdrop of space adventures.
A Psalm for the Wild-Built, the first novella in a series titled “Monk and Robot,” takes a similarly personal, close-up view. Dex is a “tea monk” who feels vaguely dissatisfied with their profession, though they seem to be quite good at serving tea and advice. “Splendid Speckled Mosscap” is a robot who has decided, more-or-less on it’s own, to investigate and observe humans. They meet entirely by accident, in the wilderness between the human and robot colonies.
Behind the peaceful but completely separate societies that both inhabit, there is a past which may not be quite as utopian as everyone believes. A forgotten time ago, humans invented robots to do the hard work, then freed them. There has been no contact since then. Perhaps it is time for humans and robots to reunite. Perhaps there are world-changing implications in the meeting of the monk and the robot. Or perhaps not. The one thing that is certain is that their unexpected relationship will change the two of them.
The second novella in the series, A Prayer for the Crown-Shy arrived in July 2022.