“Before long, Dex was no longer nursing something as simple as an odd fancy for a faraway insect. The itch had spread into every aspect of their life. When they looked up at the skyscrapers, they no longer marveled at their height but despaired at their density—endless stacks of humanity, packed in so close that the vines that covered their engineered casein frames could lock tendrils with one another. The intense feeling of containment within the City became intolerable. Dex wanted to inhabit a place that spread not up but out.”
Mostly, this was so lovely. It feels slightly unresolved, but that’s because it’s going to be a series of novellas not a standalone. I can’t wait for more. I very well might come back here and bump this up to five stars in the future.
Sibling Dex, a monk, is our main character. The book takes place on the moon of Panga several hundred years after the Robot Awakening, when all robots mysteriously and spontaneously gained sentience. The events that followed, which included all robots leaving human civilization to go into the wilderness, prompted humanity to collectively change their ways. Now, humans live in harmony with nature in eco-friendly buildings with eco-friendly agriculture and infrastructure. The events of the novella (and series) are set in motion when Dex has a quarter-life crisis of some sort and decides they want to become a tea monk, and travel in a cozy little wagon and basically comfort people as their job. (I now badly want to live in this world and be a tea monk.) After years of doing this new job very well, Dex gets restless again and decides to head to the wilderness, where humans seldom go. This is where he meets Splendid Speckled Mosscap, aka Mosscap, a robot.
This is a spiritual, meditative little novella, with an edge of mischievousness to it. Dex is soul-searching, a process very foreign to Mosscap. Both of them are impulsive people, feeling they are over their heads. Despite their differences, they start to become friends. The page length doesn’t leave much room to develop their relationship, but we get to know the world very well, and Dex, and this is all clearly set-up for their future adventures. I am very much okay with that.
[4.5 stars, might round up later]
CBR BINGO: Flora (and nature is central to the story as well!)