The Terranauts

The Terranauts

by T. C. Boyle

Hardcover

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Overview

A deep-dive into human behavior in an epic story of science, society, sex, and survival, from one of the greatest American novelists today, T. C. Boyle, the acclaimed, bestselling, author of the PEN/ Faulkner Award–winning World’s End and The Harder They Come.

It is 1994, and in the desert near Tillman, Arizona, forty miles from Tucson, a grand experiment involving the future of humanity is underway. As climate change threatens the earth, eight scientists, four men and four women dubbed the "Terranauts," have been selected to live under glass in E2, a prototype of a possible off-earth colony. Their sealed, three-acre compound comprises five biomes—rainforest, savanna, desert, ocean, and marsh—and enough wildlife, water, and vegetation to sustain them.

Closely monitored by an all-seeing Mission Control, this New Eden is the brainchild of ecovisionary Jeremiah Reed, aka G.C.—"God the Creator"—for whom the project is both an adventure in scientific discovery and a momentous publicity stunt. In addition to their roles as medics, farmers, biologists, and survivalists, his young, strapping Terranauts must impress watchful visitors and a skeptical media curious to see if E2’s environment will somehow be compromised, forcing the Ecosphere’s seal to be broken—and ending the mission in failure. As the Terranauts face increased scrutiny and a host of disasters, both natural and of their own making, their mantra: "Nothing in, nothing out," becomes a dangerously ferocious rallying cry.

Told through three distinct narrators—Dawn Chapman, the mission’s pretty, young ecologist; Linda Ryu, her bitter, scheming best friend passed over for E2; and Ramsay Roothorp, E2’s sexually irrepressible Wildman—The Terranauts brings to life an electrifying, pressured world in which connected lives are uncontrollably pushed to the breaking point. With characteristic humor and acerbic wit, T.C. Boyle indelibly inhabits the perspectives of the various players in this survivalist game, probing their motivations and illuminating their integrity and fragility to illustrate the inherent fallibility of human nature itself.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780062349408
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 10/25/2016
Pages: 528
Sales rank: 729,103
Product dimensions: 6.30(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.80(d)

About the Author

T.C. Boyle has published fourteen novels and ten collections of short stories. He won the PEN/Faulkner award in 1988 for his novel World’s End, and the Prix Médicis étranger for The Tortilla Curtain in 1995, as well as the 2014 Henry David Thoreau award for excellence in nature writing. He is a Distinguished Professor of English at the University of Southern California and lives in Santa Barbara.

Hometown:

Santa Barbara California

Date of Birth:

December 2, 1948

Place of Birth:

Peekskill, New York

Education:

B.A. in music, State University of New York at Potsdam, 1970; Ph.D. in literature, Iowa University, 1977

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The Terranauts 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Realy hard to like the characters and after awhile you just won't care about any of them. The writing was good though.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I've read everything he has ever wrote and never been disappointed. Read this book and than read all the rest.
SheTreadsSoftly More than 1 year ago
The Terranauts by T. C. Boyle is a highly recommended fictionalized account of a biodome project in 1994. In the desert near Tillman Arizona is an Ecosphere, E2. Covering 3 acres, E2 is a sealed self-sufficient prototype of what a biodome on an off-earth colony, a new Eden, would be like. It has five biomes (rainforest, savanna, desert, ocean, and marsh) and enough water, vegetation, and animals to sustain a small colony of 8 adults. Out of sixteen finalists, eight are chosen to be Terranauts. E2, or New Eden is the brainchild of Jeremiah Reed. The Terranauts, in keeping with the religious theme, call him G.C. for God the Creator. G.C views E2 as "both an adventure in scientific discovery and a momentous publicity stunt." G.C. mans mission control with Judy, his assistant and girlfriend. To the Terranauts she is Judas, "because she was a betrayer, or at least that was her potential." Dennis Roper is called Little Jesus and Dennis Iverson is G.F., short for God the Financier. The Terranauts are sealed off from the world, although they can be viewed by the world through the glass walls. Visitors must come to a designated area and then speak through a phone to the person inside. It is both an ecological experiment on perhaps settling on another planet one day, and a psychological experiment looking at how a group of 4 women and 4 men will engage with each other and if relationships will form. Because the first group, Mission One, failed, this Mission Two group has taken up the anthem, "A pledge is a pledge: nothing in, nothing out." The novel is presented through three different narrators. They are having an inner monologue, sharing their inner thoughts while telling what is happening in E2, so they are very honest, for good or bad. Two narrators, Dawn Chapman and Ramsay Roothoorp, are Terranauts. Dawn is the positive narrator, the one who truly believes in the project and staying the course to the end. Ramsey is an immature womanizing jerk who can apparently charm whoever he wants into bed, but he can also put a spin on any situation. The third is Linda Ryu, one of the sixteen finalists who was not chosen for Mission two. Linda now works for Mission Control. Linda and Dawn were good friends, but clearly they are more frenemies now. Linda is bitter and scheming. The Terranauts was based on a real story of people who tried living sealed into a biosphere. Boyle takes their story one step further here and tells the story of the next crew through a two year stay. T. C. Boyle is an amazing writer. I found the quality of the writing to be incredible. Reviews are all over the place on this novel, which surprises me because I was totally engaged in the plot and the characters. Yes, it is a long novel, but I didn't even realize how long until after I was finished. (I just thought I was reading slowly.) Ramsey and Linda are unlikable characters, but the reader is privy to the narrators real thoughts on everything, and not everything that goes through a person's mind is positive or uplifting. On the plus side, this results in the narrators being very well developed characters. I finished The Terranauts and I could picture it really happening, as if Boyle recorded the thoughts of people during a real second mission in 1994. Disclosure: My advanced reading copy was courtesy of the publisher/author.