Homer's Travels: Book: Becky Chambers' "A Psalm For The Wild-Built"

Tuesday, January 17, 2023

Book: Becky Chambers' "A Psalm For The Wild-Built"

I decided to move away from non-fiction for now.  The second book of 2023 was a novella written by Becky Chambers.  I've read four of her books.  I liked all four of them, not because they told compelling stories, but because the author created a colorful and complex world full of interesting and fleshed out characters.

Becky Chambers' "A Psalm for the Wild-Built" is not explicitly in the same world as the other four books but it could easily be in it.  It takes place on a habitable moon orbiting a gas giant.  A world where the machines in the factories accidentally gain sentience.  The people invite the sentient machines to join them as equals but the machines refuse.  They chose to go into the wilderness to live a peaceful life away from humans.  The humans, not knowing how the machines became sentient, chose to deindustrialize.  They still have technology but they do not use machines for manufacturing.

The story follows a monk in search for meaning in his life.  In a spontaneous action he leaves in search of meaning in his life, going into the wilderness to an old abandoned religious retreat.  Along the way he meets a robot who is trying to find out if humans are doing ok since the machines left.  Their meeting helps both work through their issues.  Actually, the robot has few issues compared to the issues the monk is working through.

I enjoyed this novella as I've enjoyed the author's other books.  I gave it four stars out of five on Goodreads because it made me think about meaning and freedom.

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