A Psalm for the Wild-Built
July 16, 2021 4:26 PM - by Chambers, Becky - Subscribe

It's been centuries since the robots of Panga 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.
posted by curious nu (7 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
YES new Becky Chambers I'm excited will report back after I read!
posted by latkes at 4:31 PM on July 16

I read this yesterday. i enjoyed it. My primary complaint about Becky Chambers is that she writes short books. I read them and then I have to wait another year for more.
posted by rdr at 9:52 PM on July 16

This sounds really interesting. Ordering now.
posted by Orlop at 12:23 PM on July 17

I read through it in a couple of hours and enjoyed it. There's been a novella bloom in the last few years and I love it, though this one feels more clearly part of a series. It's pretty on-the-nose as far as social commentary, but that also feels okay given the framing. I feel like Chambers is pretty explicitly evoking a kind of (Asian?) philosophical dialogue that I'm guessing has a specific term, but I'm only familiar enough with it to get that "I've read this before in other contexts" vibes.

It keeps to her usual cozy scope, and the characters are more relatable to me this time. I think her characterization is getting a lot stronger and I'm really interested to see where the rest of this goes.

Also, it combines a total millennial-vibe character with a focus on tea with a generalist robot that's comfortable with bugs crawling over it ('Yes. It's fine.'), which is pretty much 100% my psyche, so I'm predisposed to devour this.
posted by curious nu at 5:53 PM on July 17

I enjoyed it; as some of her other work, this seems to be more about evoking a mood than telling a story.
posted by Marticus at 4:48 PM on July 19

Whoa! Thanks for the reminder, ordering.
posted by Halloween Jack at 11:25 AM on July 22

I passed by this multiple times because for some reason the title didn't appeal to me and I didn't know it was Becky Chambers. Once I realized who wrote it, I devoured it.
posted by Literaryhero at 7:04 AM on July 29

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