The Terranauts: A Novel

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In the blazing desert sun a dome is erected. The year is 1994 and eight scientists embark on the second attempt at simulating an off-world colony. These “terranauts” will live and work in a giant enclosed ecosystem named E2. For two years, they can only survive on the food generated by the small farms and dwindling livestock. The story rotates through three narrators. The first is Dawn Chapman a.k.a. E, the ecologist assigned to the mission. The second is ladies’ man Ramsay Roothoorp. Dawn’s friend Linda Ryu—passed over for the mission—serves as the third narrative voice. Rotating through the narrators highlights events from another angle but leaves the veracity up to the reader. Humanity in tight quarters with the eyes of the world watching every little move—what could go wrong?

Terranauts by T.C. Boyle is an ambitious novel that holds basic human behavior under the microscope, an epic story spanning years but contained within three claustrophobic acres. The decision to alternate narrators is a powerful one. It quickly becomes clear they are all untrustworthy and set out to explain their actions. Discrepancies mount as the mission becomes endangered. This is an interesting, if lengthy, read for lovers of character-driven sci-fi with strong social and interpersonal dynamics stretched to the limit.

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Author T. C. Boyle
Star Count /5
Format Hard
Page Count 528 pages
Publisher Ecco
Publish Date 10/25/2016
ISBN 9780062349408 Buy this Book
Issue 12/1/2016
Category Science Fiction & Fantasy


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