Why this book?
Though gender fluidity has been a part of Becky Chambers’s work since her debut, this nonbinary giant was especially struck by her 2021 novel, A Psalm for the Wild-Built. It’s a thoughtful, witty, meditative story set in a distant eco-utopia where gender variance is simply part of the norm, with characters naturally identifying as she, he, or they without any kind of fanfare. It may not be the most dramatic read, but seeing as we live in a world where people are killed for not conforming to a gender binary, weaving this quiet acceptance into an optimistic vision for the future truly gives me hope. Oh, and there are sentient robots. Did I mention the robots?
A Psalm for the Wild-Built
Why should I read it?
6 authors picked A Psalm for the Wild-Built as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.
What is this book about?
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 honour 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.