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 best-selling 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, 40 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 - rain forest, 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 wild man - 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.
©2016 T. Coraghessan Boyle (P)2016 HarperCollins Publishers
"This audio performance captures the intensity that is typical of Boyle's work.... The overall performance, combined with Boyle's imagination and detail, results in a mesmerizing listen." (AudioFile)
Houck ruins Terranauts
I love TC Boyle. His satirical, clever fiction is engaging, fascinating, and fluidly written from first person point of view. I was excited to get this book and pre-ordered it. I even was looking forward to three narrators. It is sometimes distracting to hear a female voice for a male first person, etc. HOWEVER, Lynde Houck, narrator for Dawn the beautiful young ecologist, absolutely ruined this experience for me. TC Boyle writes very long, descriptive, compound sentences. Lynde Houck paused at each comma in the writing as if it was the end of a sentence, then took a breath, and continued, as if starting a new sentence. It was so aggravating! It seemed to me like she could not read ahead in her mind before speaking aloud, as if she was reading the text for the first time. Her inflection was often on the incorrect part of the sentence, leaving me confused,trying to puzzle out the true intention of the author's writing. Miserable experience. So disappointed.
It's about so much: the compelling characters for whom you will care & from whom you will learn, the science of human & other life in closed systems-- a prelude to life on Mars? The superb writing proving that style is substance.
I found the narration the hardest part of getting thru this book. I chose this book from a recommendation by Jim Parsons. I found the story and the characters to be rather dull. the narration was probably what killed it for me. I guess I should have just read it on my Kindle. I am not quite sure what they plan to do with this book, but I hope they reinterpreted for the project.
you will like this book. If you purchased it hoping for something along the lines of "When the Killing's Done" or "The Harder They Come" then stay away. What a disappointment.
I am a 67 year old psychologist. I have been married for 28 years, with two sons who are 27 and 24. I love listening to the books.
Yes. I have been enjoying T.C. Boyle for about thirty years. He is a master of short stories, but his novels are overblown in many ways. Drop City, however, is his best novel, and I can recommend it without reservation. The novels are variable. Some are long biographies of men like Frank Lloyd Wright, Alfred Kinsey, the founder of Post cereals, etc. I lose interest in these quickly. This book is extremely fanciful, as are a number of his books: stories about the environment with cataclysmic prophecies. Tortilla Curtain is very good. The collections of short stories are your best bet: they showcase Boyle's extremely fertile imagination at its best.
I have to admit that I am giving up on this book about halfway through, so I have no idea how it ends. The problem for me is that the conceit of the book is just not tenable. The whole idea is the utterly whimsical creation of a very rich guy, and it is full of really questionable assumptions. The whole setup is phony, to tell the truth. The idea that one can create a mini-Earth in the Sonoran desert, with maybe several football fields worth of room; the inviolable rule that one break in the whole biosphere is a catastrophe that submarines the entire concept: these are highly arbitrary rules for the E2 experiment. God the Creator, the rich guy who is the money behind the whole deal: the whole concept that everyone must play by his rules: this is phony. No humans would ever agree to it. It creates all kinds of arbitrary conditions and sets up entire series of relationships that are under the microscope of all who run the system and the public, the tourists who watch through the glass, the press, etc. None of these people behave in ways that are believably human. Would you stay in a glass dome when the temperature reaches 118 degrees? Because a rich guy insists that it would be a violation of his precious principles if you want to get out? Ridiculous.
Once again, I just hate this question. Particularly given that there are three narrators, it is impossible to answer.
No. That's why I am giving up now. Most of the novels are like this: they stretch credulity and interest to the breaking point. Boyle is a great writer, no question, but not everything he writes is great to read.
Read Drop City, if you want to read Boyle at his best. Briefly, it is about a group of dropouts in the 70's who gravitate to a country home owned by one pretty rich guy whose money and lack of rules make for chaos in Sonoma. However, the group decides to move to Alaska, without knowing the first thing about how incredibly hard it is to adjust to the environment there. The book is a unique adventure, very well narrated, with drama and comedy and characters who hold your interest. Boyle at his finest is fine indeed.
Colorado Springs, CO, United States I particularly enjoy romance/fantasy books, management books, and YA fiction.
This book was totally unexpected. I really enjoyed it and it constantly kept me on my toes. Having three narrators helped it feel like you were listening to someone's journals instead of a book which is refreshing. This thing is a monster. I listen to it in 30 minute intervals when I drive to and from work so it took me a long time to finish it. It was well worth the time. This book causes you to evaluate how you see scientific experimentation, social dynamics, and makes you think about what you would do if a situation like that occurred for you. I was really not expecting to enjoy this book as much as I did and this will probably be the first book I share with a friend(which is saying a lot since I have over a hundred audiobook titles). Get this book: you will enjoy it.
I pretty much listened to this title non-stop. Came to it after hearing an interview with the author on NPR and was absolutely blown away by the detail imagery painted by the author and the ability to seemlessly weave 3 stories into a coherent fabric of a story. Simply genius work (period!).
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