It’s pretty safe to say that I love everything Becky Chambers writes, and so when this popped up on NetGalley, I immediately slammed that request button.
Thanks to the author, as well as Tor via NetGalley for the review copy!
It’s been centuries since the robots of Earth 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.
“So it is correct, then? You wouldn’t prefer they or—”
“Oh, no, no, no. Those sorts of words are for people. Robots are not people. We’re machines, and machines are objects. Objects are its.”
“I’d say you’re more than just an object,” Dex said.
The robot looked a touch offended. “I would never call you just an animal, Sibling Dex.” It turned its gaze to the road, head held high. “We don’t have to fall into the same category to be of equal value.”
This is the story of Sibling Dex, who lives in the only city on Panga, which is a rather lush moon. They are a monk of one of the many gods that are worshipped on Panga, and decide one day that they are not fulfilled by being just a monk but would like to be a tea-monk, who travels around Panga giving advice and serving tea from their traveling wagon. One day on their travels, Dex meets Mosscap, a robot. Probably the first robot that any human has seen for over two hundred years, since the robots all attained consciousness and then moved into the wilds. Mosscap asks, ‘what do people need?’ and our adventure is had while trying to answer that question.
I loved this one. I didn’t realize until I was nearly halfway through it in not a great amount of time that this is a novella, but, that said, I think that it is perfectly as long as it needs to be. The writing is fantastic, per usual from Becky Chambers, and the book is paced really well.
Dex is a great character to root for. They are… so relatable to me. So, so much. A bit foul mouthed, and tries their best even when they’re not sure what they want to do with their life. Mosscap and its relationship with Dex by the end of this book was fantastically done and it left me wanting more without leaving this story in a place that didn’t feel complete.
I can’t wait to read more Monk and Robot adventures. I’d like to travel this interesting world with Dex and Mosscap in however many stories there are to be of it. So much fun. 5/5 stars!~