cover image A Prayer for the Crown-Shy

A Prayer for the Crown-Shy

Becky Chambers. Tordotcom, $21.99 (160p) ISBN 978-1-250-23623-4

Tea monk Sibling Dex and robot Splendid Speckled Mosscap are back for the quietly brilliant second installment in Hugo Award winner Chambers’s Monk and Robot novella series (after A Psalm for the Wild Built). Dex returns from their sojourn into the dangerous wilderness of the Antlers, with Mosscap—the first robot to reach out to humans in the centuries since the Awakening, when robots gained sentience and went off to form their own autonomous societies—in tow. Built in the wild by other robots, Mosscap had never met a human before Dex and is determined to answer the question, “What do humans need?” As Dex and Mosscap navigate their new celebrity status and set out to encounter the full breadth of humanity through Panga’s varied human settlements, the question proves more complicated than either anticipated. The result is a lightly drawn but profound meditation on belief, entropy, and the nature of need and want that once again demonstrates Chambers’s prowess as both a storyteller and a thinker. Quiet and contemplative, empathic and warmhearted, this masterful sequel builds on the themes of the first volume to posit a more sustainable, more caring way of life. It’s both truly comforting and endlessly thought-provoking. (July)