Someone on reddit asked for: “A book that tells you that your life doesn’t need a purpose, or a grand ambition; and that it’s okay to just wander through life finding interesting things to do until you die” on r/suggestmeabook, and I saw that quite a few people recommended “A Psalm for the Wild-Built” by Becky Chambers. I thought it was quite an interesting title – there was a line on the cover that says “A monk and robot book”, and I was immediately sold.
It was one of the most soothing books I’ve read in recent times. Sometimes I just want to freeze my brain and read something that would make me hate the world less. This is such a book. I loved the breadth of its imagination. There was a top Goodreads review that criticised it for utopian-like world without explaining how it solved all its issues. But personally I feel we need books like that. There is a lot of dark and hard sci-fi around which I don’t enjoy. I just need to look at the existing world for my dose of darkness.
I won’t spoil the book, but I thought I could share a highlight that I loved:
It’s very hard to keep track of robots. We get so caught up in things. Fire Nettle, for example. It walked up a mountain one day and we didn’t see it again for six years. I thought it had broken down, but no, it was watching a sapling grow from seed. Oh, and there’s Black Marbled Frostfrog. It’s something of a legend. It’s been holed up in a cave, watching stalagmites form for three and a half decades, and plans to do nothing else. A lot of robots do things like that. Not all of us want the company of others, and none of us keep schedules that humans would find comfortable.
How beautiful it is to entertain the idea that we can watch stalagmites form for three and a half decades and do nothing else and just be okay with that.