A Half-Built Garden

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A Half-Built Garden (Paperback, en-Latn-US language, 2022, Tordotcom)

Paperback, 352 pages

en-Latn-US language

Published Jan. 1, 2022 by Tordotcom.

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5 stars (6 reviews)

5 editions

Very interesting book, which I don't read as optimistic at all

No rating

Content warning Major plot and worldbuilding spoilers

Queer Jewish first contact story

5 stars

A Half-Built Garden by Ruthanna Emrys is a beautiful, extremely Jewish, super queer story about a diverse future world facing first contact not as an alien invasion, but as something possibly more threatening: a well-intentioned helper, certain in their knowledge of what help is needed before ever setting foot on the planet.

what follows is high stakes negotiations, not just with the aliens, but also between different factions of humans (the watersheds, the corporations and the old state powers) and within factions and families. the watersheds might be healing planet earth, but the corporations still haven't learned that infinite growth isn't possible, and they everything the new visitors are offering (and more)

I won't spoil the story, but you should read this is you like complicated family dynamics that remind you of your own, complex characters with flaws and passions, weird (and interesting) gender stuff, fraught dinner parties (including a …

A Half-Built Garden

4 stars

There's really a lot to like here for fans of Story of Your Life/Arrival, Becky Chambers, and/or Adrian Tchaikovsky. I particularly like this take on the nearish future of technology for communication and community decision-making.

I felt like it got a bit preachy at times around the subject of distributed consensus governance, but this is a minor, subjective nitpick.

Queer solarpunk first-contact sci-fi

4 stars

As the title says: queer solarpunk first-contact sci-fi!

Recommended for anyone that liked:

  • the first book of the Wanderer series by Becky Chambers
  • for anyone solar-curious
  • for nerds with kids
  • for nerds without kids
  • for fans of peer-to-peer mesh networks (yes, really)

It definitely has some weird bits, not necessarily in a negative sense. I enjoyed this a bunch and kept telling people about during my travels in the past weeks—so that's probably a better recommendation indicator than anything!

The author even coined a potential subgenre in describing the book: diaperpunk!

Review of 'A Half-Built Garden' on 'Storygraph'

No rating

I get so tired of the narrative that humans are always going to choose the worst and most selfish means of planet stewardship, and this book is tired of it too! It’s one of those novels I put down and immediately begin longing for its vision of the future’s so badly it feels like I’ve lost something tangible. How much time do we have to get the watershed networks and dandelion networks underway and beat back the corporations? I’m ready to meet some aliens.