Rootless by Chris Howard

Rootless by Chris Howard

His father taught Banyan, seventeen, how to build trees out of salvage and scrap mental.  You see, there are no more trees in their society, not since the Darkness when everyone burned them, and most of the books, just to keep warm.  But now his dad has disappeared, and Banyan travels around in his van, building metal forests for rich patrons.  He’s never even seen a real tree, but he hears rumors that they might still exist, somewhere, somehow.  His dream is to find these last surviving trees, but unfortunately, he’s not alone in this quest.  And everyone’s motives are not as pure as his.  He ends up teaming up with a beautiful but defiant pirate named Alpha and some other not-completely-trustworthy accomplices, and they fight their way through the world searching for the secret place where urban myths say the last trees still exist.

Author Howard has created a fascinating post-apocalyptic America, where a giant corporation (GenTech) controls the food supply and hence everything important.  The story reminds me a lot of Paolo Bacigalupi’s   books Ship Breaker and Drowned Cities, in that they all rely on crumbling societies that humankind has messed up ecologically.  Howard aptly makes his points about mega-farms, ecological responsibility and corporate greed without being dogmatic, allowing readers to come to their own conclusions.  I highly recommend this title to dystopia fans, Science Fiction readers, and fans of Bacigalupi’s books.

     

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