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Cover for A Half-Built Garden

A Half-Built Garden

Ruthanna Emrys


List Price: 26.99*
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A literary descendent of Ursula K. Le Guin, Ruthanna Emrys crafts a novel of extraterrestrial diplomacy and urgent climate repair bursting with quiet, tenuous hope and an underlying warmth. A Half-Built Garden depicts a world worth building towards, a humanity worth saving from itself, and an alien community worth entering with open arms. It's not the easiest future to build, but it's one that just might be in reach.

"A Half-Built Garden deserves to be the first contact novel that defines a generation." —Seanan McGuire

On a warm March night in 2083, Judy Wallach-Stevens wakes to a warning of unknown pollutants in the Chesapeake Bay. She heads out to check what she expects to be a false alarm—and stumbles upon the first alien visitors to Earth. These aliens have crossed the galaxy to save humanity, convinced that the people of Earth must leave their ecologically-ravaged planet behind and join them among the stars. And if humanity doesn't agree, they may need to be saved by force.

The watershed networks aren't ready to give up on Earth. Decades ago, they rose up to exile the last corporations to a few artificial islands, escape the dominance of nation-states, and reorganize humanity around the hope of keeping their world liveable. By sharing the burden of decision-making, they've started to heal the wounded planet.

But now corporations, nation-states, and networks all vie to represent humanity to these powerful new beings, and if any one accepts the aliens' offer, Earth may be lost. With everyone’s eyes turned skyward, everything hinges on the success of Judy's effort to create understanding, both within and beyond her own species.

Praise For A Half-Built Garden

“This complex, complicated, gorgeous musing on the future of humanity and the power of connection, the things we owe to each other and the essential strength of consensus, deserves to be the first contact novel that defines a generation.” —Seanan McGuire

“A fascinatingly rich and original vision of our future world, explored at a moment of crisis; a vitally important exploration of the meaning of family and community; and a refraction of today's conundrums through a fresh interpretation of first contact.” —Malka Older

“Emrys’ fast-paced and fun story paints a picture of a future that’s imaginable within our lifetimes. Hers is a unique and ultimately hopeful vision of the world we might bequeath to our grandchildren.” —Karl Schroeder

“Rigorously imagined, gentle and terrifying by turns, this book is a visit to a hopeful near future filled with bright possibilities and intriguing characters who hope to draw Earth beyond the brink of Anthropocene ruin.”
—L. X. Beckett

“An incisive, meaty, dive into an imperfect future shaped by the hard truth that escaping a bad system is the easy part, building better is where the work begins. Emrys masterfully demonstrates how a medium-good future can send more chilling warnings than dystopia about how hard making a good world truly is.” —Ada Palmer

Tordotcom, 9781250210982, 352pp.

Publication Date: July 26, 2022

About the Author

RUTHANNA EMRYS lives in a mysterious manor house on the outskirts of Washington, DC with her wife and their large, strange family. Her stories have appeared in a number of venues, including Strange Horizons, Analog, and She is the author of the Innsmouth Legacy series, which began with Winter Tide. She makes home-made vanilla, obsesses about game design, gives unsolicited advice, and occasionally attempts to save the world.