Likely Stories - A Psalm for the Wild-Built by Becky Chambers
A Psalm for the Wild-Built is the first book in the Monk and Robot series by Becky Chambers. This charming novella won the Hugo award in 2022 - the Hugo recognizes the best science fiction or fantasy titles of the previous year.
Although this book. is the first of a series, it can easily stand alone and is a quick easy read. A Psalm for the Wild-Built is set in a world much like our own, in an optimistic - not dystopian - future. The Monk and Robot series is an example of Solar- Punk - a sci-fi, a sub-genre that focuses on sustainable future for humanity.
Discovering this utopian fantasy world was one of the most enjoyable elements of this book. I see stories and articles about the doom and gloom of the future almost daily. Retreating to Chambers optimistic vision of the future, was a comforting breath of fresh air.
In A Psalm for the Wild-Built, people have found balance with their environment and with technology. They've built sustainable communities and pursue their vocations while living in gorgeous homes surrounded by nature think tree houses and rooftop urban gardens. In this future, Al robots gained sentience and decided to peacefully leave humanity. Humans and robots have been co-existing separately, with no contact, for as long as anyone can remember.
Our protagonist, a young monk, is struggling with their sense of purpose within this ideal world. In many ways, this book is a meditation on the big questions in life, "What's the point, why am I here, do I matter?”
Furthermore, why do I feel unhappy and discontent when everything around me seems perfect. The monk heads out into the wilderness on a quest for answers and is shocked to stumble upon a robot.
The robot, has come to check on humans and to learn "What do people need?" As the monk and robot travel together, they observe the natural world and discuss what it means to be human. Their conversations are thoughtful, inspiring, and humorous. I would recommend this book to anyone who is feeling pessimistic about the future or struggling to find their purpose.
It is also perfect for sci-fi, fantasy, or fiction fans who are looking for a fresh series. Tea ceremonies feature heavily in this novella - and reading this short book is very similar to having a cup of tea - I felt like I was sitting under a tree, holding a warm mug, peacefully reflecting.
A Psalm for the Wild Built reminded me to slow down and pay attention to the world around me, it prompted me to ponder my place within my community and my environment.
This delightful little book left me feeling hopeful.