Tag Archives: Monk and Robot

The Rise of Cosy Sci-Fi and Fantasy in the Pandemic Era

Fiction always responds to, and reflects, the context it is created in. In the year of our lord 2023, we’re several years deep in what one might politely call Historic Times. COVID-19, and the social context surrounding it, is gradually making itself known in various genres.

Jodi McAllister’s rom-com Here For the Right Reasons (2022) asks what might happen if a cast of reality TV contestants were suddenly trapped together by a snap lockdown. Emily Gale’s middle grade novel The Goodbye Year (2022) explores how the already weird, transitional phase between primary school and high school is disrupted by the first, scary wave of the pandemic in 2020. Contemporary YA novels are increasingly having to decide if, and how, they factor more than a year of remote learning (and a boatload of collective trauma) into the high school experience of their characters.

Alongside these texts that address the realities of COVID times, though, seems to be a rising wave of speculative fiction that responds to the pandemic. And I don’t mean sci-fi thrillers about post-pandemic post-apocalypses—quite the opposite vibe, in fact!

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Filed under Archetypes and Genre

The Best Books I Read in 2022

It’s been a weird, transitional year filled with an exciting variety of stresses and challenges… but hot damn, did I have some excellent fiction to carry me through it. Below are my favourite books I read in 2022, from funky queer sci-fi to uplifting teen rom-coms.

As of next year, I’ll be moving across to Story Graph for all my book-cataloguing needs! Send me a friend request if you’re on there~

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Filed under Alex Reads

The Cosy Theology of Monk and Robot

We are the work of the Parents.

We do the work of the Children.

Without the use of constructs, you will unravel few mysteries.

Without knowledge of mysteries, your constructs will fail.

Find the strength to pursue both, for these are our prayers.

And to that end, welcome comfort, for without it, you cannot stay strong.

A Prayer for the Crown-Shy (2022)

Becky Chambers’ novel A Psalm for the Wild-Built, first in the Monk and Robot series, is dedicated to “anyone who could use a break”.

Chambers has been known for writing “cosy sci-fi” even before this book: oriented around humanistic details and personal stakes, and often leaving readers just… feelin’ good. Monk and Robot is my first Chambers series, and I can’t help but feel like that “cosy” label fits. From literally before page 1, comfort, cosiness, and self-care is built into this story. Not only that, but comfort, cosiness, and self-care are built into the story’s world—chiefly shining through in, of all things, its fictional system of religion.

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Filed under And I Think That's Neat