crown shy

A Prayer For The Crown-Shy by Becky Chambers

November 15, 2022


After touring the rural areas of Panga, Sibling Dex (a Tea Monk of some renown) and Mosscap (a robot sent on a quest to determine what humanity really needs) turn their attention to the villages and cities of the little moon they crown shy call home.

They hope to find the answers they seek, while making new friends, learning new concepts, and experiencing the entropic nature of the universe.

In a world where people have what they want, does having more even matter?


Mosscap and sibling Dex continue on their journey in this second installment of the Monk & Robot series. They continue to learn more about one another as well as getting to know more about themselves. Mosscap is ever so grateful for sibling Dex taking the time to show it around and helping it understand more about its reason for being. While on their journey, they meet amazing and understanding people willing to converse as well as help along the way. Mosscap has even acquired its very own belongings that it cherishes knowing it has never owned anything before.

Although this book is a work of fiction, it has made me better understand our meaning of life and how we work ourselves in it with the creatures we share it with. It has even made me question the very things we say we “Need” in the world. Do we really need them? Can we just simply live more humbly reusing the things that have been? The book is such an eye-opener. The writing continues to be ever so soothing and it is the perfect book to sit curled up in a blanket next to a fire.

This title will be available on July 12, 2022, published by Tor Books. I want to say a huge thank you to Tor and Net-galley for providing me with an ARC.

Crown Shyness: Are Trees Social Distancing Too?

Social distancing is a behaviour that millions of people of around the world are now familiar with, used as a tool to slow the spread of the COVID-19 virus.

Some trees have also been keeping their distance from one another but were doing so long before we started.

When one or many trees fall in a forest, gaps occur. But neighbouring trees usually rapidly grow into these spaces.

In some forests, if you were to look up to the treetops, you might spot conspicuous channel-like gaps between the outermost branches of the trees above your head.

Scientists have been discussing this phenomenon since the 1920s, proposing multiple potential reasons for why it occurs.

Treetop Jigsaw Puzzles

Crown shyness doesn’t occur between all trees. It has documented in black mangrove (Avicennia germinans), lodgepole pine (Pinus contorta), Japanese larch (Larix kaempferi), some species of eucalypt and several other species.

Typically, it’s seen between trees of the same species but it can occur between individuals of different species, such as between spiny hackberry

Is Wind The Only Cause of Crown Shyness?

If abrasion is the primary cause of crown shyness, you would expect it to be more pronounced among trees in windy locations than those growing in sheltered spots. But this was found to not be the case in a study of trees in the Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve in Costa Rica.

This cloud forest is frequently subjected to high winds – they regularly exceed 100 kilometres per hour in some places during winter. Little difference was found in the crown shyness of trees in windy areas compared to more sheltered ones.

The scientists observed that trees in more wind-swept locations had adaptations that make the trees resistant to strong winds, such as thicker trunks and shorter, stouter twigs. These adaptations would minimise the ability of the branches to clip neighbouring trees.

Benefits of Crown Shyness

As with animals, plants also compete for resources – including nutrients, water, space and light – to survive.

In forested areas with dense canopies there is intense competition between plants for light. It is possible that gaps in the canopy resulting from crown shyness allows trees to increase their exposure to light and optimise the process of photosynthesis.

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