Tuesday, August 16, 2022

A Half-Built Garden

One of the first things I heard about Ruthanna Emrys was that she was an inheritor of Ursula K. LeGuin's legacy, or something to that effect. Which seemed both a burden for any writer to bear and enough for me to give her a try.

I heard she had a book coming out called A Half-Built Garden. I knew nothing about it, but I put in a preorder at my favorite independent bookstore and when it came out a few weeks ago, I picked up my copy right away and read it straight through.

Now, having read it, I see what the person who made the LeGuin statement means. The book feels like a 2020s, Earth-based, climate crisis conversation with The Dispossessed. Which is just what I need these days!

Not that readers generally have to be familiar with LeGuin or The Dispossessed to enjoy or understand the book.

Emrys is writing in the climate fiction genre, I suppose, within the subsection where many of today's emergencies have been addressed but there are still problems because... well, people. Not to mention the long-term damage from what we have wrought so far. It's a science book, but not the usual sciences of science fiction (water science, earth science, and, as in LeGuin's books, social science).

I don't want to give anything away about the story or the characters because it's all so good to discover on your own. But I will say that I should just start rereading it now, which is what I used to do as a teenager with LeGuin's books.

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