There were times when reading The Terranauts where I felt like I had read this story before. It wasn’t that it necessarily had a strikingly similar plot or anything nefarious; no, it was more so that its overarching themes rekindled a sense of hopelessness that so few novels can convey sincerely while still remaining fun to read.
While echoes of Stephen King’s Under the Dome rippled as I learned that the characters inside T.C. Boyle’s sixteenth novel are sealed beneath glass inside an experimental five-biome ecosystem called E2, The Terranauts are being shut off from the world by choice.
It’s 1994, the desert plains of Arizona. It’s three years prior to the Kyoto Protocol which extended the treaty on reducing greenhouse gas emissions from the growing uncertainty attributed to the knowledge that global warming has been caused by excessive manmade carbon dioxide. In Boyle’s latest fictional world, humans caught on to the threat of global warming much quicker and with more concern than, well, many of us today.
Scientists have whittled down prospective scientists to eight lucky contestants who will embark on a journey of trying to replicate an Earth-like colony that could persist off-Earth. Like Kim Stanley Robinson’s Red Mars, the