Saturday, July 30, 2022

Q&A with Ruthanna Emrys

From my Q&A with Ruthanna Emrys, author of A Half-Built Garden:
How much work does your title do to take readers into the story?

I wrote this entire novel under the working title of The Fifth Power – a reference to how the people of 2083 think about themselves. They see the dandelion networks – which integrate human opinion with AI advocates for rivers and prairies and trees – as improving on four earlier forms of power (nature dominating humans, religion, nation-states, corporations).

My editor hated that title, though, so I ended up with a whole page of ideas riffing on images and ideas that were important to the story. These ranged from Bring Us To This Season (emphasizing the Jewish characters with a prayer about survival through hard times), to The Reach and the Grasp (referring to the alien Ringers’ obsession with symbiosis), to about two minutes of consideration for Symbiosis and Synthesis. I do think first contact is a kind of novel-of-manners, but this isn’t actually an Austen riff and I’m the only one who’d get the joke.

I finally chose A Half-Built Garden as a metaphor that works for all the conflicting groups in the book. They’re all in the middle of some great effort, whether it’s keeping Earth habitable or building a Dyson Sphere, and for all of them success depends on...[read on]
Visit Ruthanna Emrys's website.

The Page 69 Test: Deep Roots.

Writers Read: Ruthanna Emrys (July 2018).

Q&A with Ruthanna Emrys.

--Marshal Zeringue