Renewal is a work of "social fiction"—exploring the possibilities that a change in social policies might bring to our society.
"We aren't really good at this, are we? At relationships, I mean. When it comes to impressing someone, we're sprinters, not long-distance runners."
In the near future, California has abandoned the institution of marriage and introduced in its place the concept of renewable, fixed-term Partnerships. Some call Partnerships "the death of marriage," while others hail it as a natural, evolutionary step more in keeping with the times. To administer and facilitate this "great social experiment," Governor Evans has established the Department of Social Harmony. David Harris is a councilor at the San Diego office of the Department of Social Harmony. It's his job to help people—every day—put in place the plans to establish Partnerships and try to keep them together. But, as David comes to learn, being good at his day job doesn't make it any easier to fix things in his own life.
Renewal follows the intertwined stories of David, his partner, Lydia, and other friends as they navigate the difficult waters of changing relationships. As they plot their courses forward, it becomes clear that not everyone looks at life through the same lens. There are choices that must be made, and most choices are not black and white. Each person must choose a path, and not every path can lead to happiness.