This is a first-contact novel set in the near future when international governments have broken down in the face of climate crisis and local networks built around watersheds (known as the dandelion networks) have grown up to save the world. A member of the Chesapeake network is monitoring things one night when she gets a strange reading and takes her wife and infant daughter to check it out. There they meet with an alien ship that has come to save humanity by taking them away. But what if humanity does not want to leave? The ensuing story weaves together elements of science fiction, Jewish storytelling, politics, and family dynamics into a tale that is as contained as it is sweeping. As a mother of young children there was a lot that really resonated with where I am in my own life, which was an amazing thing to find in a sci-fi novel and also made it difficult to read at times. I absolutely cannot wait to see this out in the world. If this is the future of climate fiction then maybe there is a future beyond the climate crisis as well.
A Half-Built Garden by Ruthanna Emrys, (List Price: $26.99, Tordotcom, 9781250210982, July 2022)
Reviewed by Faith Parke-Dodge, Page 158 Books in Wake Forest, North Carolina