Review of Gregory Scheckler, “Grow, Give, Repeat”, in Glass and Gardens: Solar Punk Summers, edited by Sarena Ulibarri, (World Weaver Press, 2018): 199-221 — Purchase here. Reviewed by Sara L. Uckelman. (Read the review of the anthology).
One thing that’s tricky about writing near future SF is getting right the balance between filling the reader in on how the future has gone and letting the reader extrapolate from the present themselves. Unfortunately, I’m not sure that balance was hit with this story; I kept finding myself with questions I couldn’t puzzle together answers to, both global questions like What has happened to Wisconsin that people can afford expensive electronics, but cannot afford food? and Just what are the public health concerns that mean people can’t raise chickens at home? and Who are the protestors and what are they protesting?, but also local questions like Where has Alex’s shipment of chickens come from, if her family cannot afford new chicks?
But against all that, I found Alex to be a very intriguing choice of main character — she is young, she is angry, she is not sympathetic, she’s too smart for her own good. Even if I didn’t really like her or approve of her actions, I found her complex and interesting.