The world built by Becky Chambers in A Psalm for the Wild-Built is one I’d visit in a heartbeat. This is probably best described as a Cozy Sci-Fi, where not a lot happens except lots of conversation that made me yearn for a place I can never visit. Set on a colonised moon some years after robots became self-aware and walked away from people.
The world moved on without them, moving to a simpler form of living with the land rather than just continually taking from it. In this novella, we follow Sibling Dex, who, after having an existential crisis, decides to pack up their life and become a tea monk.
Tea monks are mental health advocates, bringing their ears, their wisdom, a cozy place and a cup of tea to all that need to talk. Sibling Dex’s struggles to start their new career, but eventually, they become well respected… but still, the longing for something different is there. Eschewing their responsibilities, they head off into the wildlands and stumble upon a robot.
The robot is an ambassador of sorts, sent by the others to make contact for the first time since the great walking away after they gained sentience. The two struggle to connect but travel together following Dex’s journey.
It’s important to note that this is book one, and while the main arc of the story is wrapped up by the end, there’s plenty more journey to be had… and I’m glad. I’ll certainly be interested in getting book two and finding out what comes next.
The narration by Emmett Grosland mainly was good but let down by some poor editing. Really obvious retakes peppered the audio, with a distinct change in pitch, almost as if someone else did the re-reading. I found this rather jarring.
Overall, the story was like a warm cup of tea with loved ones. A surprising amount of swearing for something that felt so cozy and sweet most of the time.