Regular price: $39.92

Membership details Membership details
  • A 30-day trial plus your first audiobook, free.
  • 1 credit/month after trial – good for any book, any price.
  • Easy exchanges – swap any book you don’t love.
  • Keep your audiobooks, even if you cancel.
  • After your trial, Audible is just $14.95/month.
OR
In Cart

Publisher's Summary

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

Critic Reviews

"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)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 3.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    39
  • 4 Stars
    40
  • 3 Stars
    26
  • 2 Stars
    12
  • 1 Stars
    8

Performance

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    56
  • 4 Stars
    30
  • 3 Stars
    22
  • 2 Stars
    4
  • 1 Stars
    4

Story

  • 3.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    31
  • 4 Stars
    39
  • 3 Stars
    24
  • 2 Stars
    12
  • 1 Stars
    10
Sort by:
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Aggravating Narrator Ruins Great Book

If you could sum up The Terranauts in three words, what would they be?

Houck ruins Terranauts

What didn’t you like about the narrators’s performance?

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.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Not all that I was hoping for.

Set in the 1990s just outside of Tucson, Arizona, E2 awaits! It’s a big glass dome that houses a complete ecology and acts as a model for possible future biodomes on other planets. That’s if we can just get it consistently right here first. Linda Ryu and Dawn Chapman are best friends, at least until one of them is picked over the other to actually go live in E2. Ramsay Roothorp has a libido that may be his undoing.

I went into this book with pretty high hopes. I read reviews and I also had my own fascination since teen years with biodomes. Unfortunately, this book fell short. It wasn’t bad but it was more about the messed up relationships these folks have than about any science that goes into the biodomes or the survival skills of the terranauts. I really wanted it to be more balanced but instead it was just one character or the other grumbling, scheming, or being bitchy. There was little else going on yet the author had this perfect set up to tell a great story.

OK, so while I didn’t love it, I obviously liked it well enough to finish it. The story started off strong with the 16 candidates all training together in the various skills – from swimming to farming to animal slaughter. They not only have to be good at any job that needs to be done inside a biodome, they have to be able to get along with their team mates in the most difficult of circumstances. Think of all those team building work retreats times 10. While everyone know this is a competition to be one of the history making 8 that actually gets to go into the biodome, they still have to act like they get along with everyone and really want all their team mates to be successful.

Great set up. But once we get the 8 packing up to go into E2, nearly all the science goes out the door and enter the bitchy, scheming side to all the characters. At first, I was OK with this because I thought it was going to be a phase for some of the characters and that things would come back around to more interesting stuff. Alas, no. The story just stays in that phase for the rest of the book. Because of that, I felt that most of the characters were pretty superficial. We saw how their characters could develop but then the author didn’t get them past this jealousy phase.

Anyway, there is one big twist towards the end of the book and that gives us a few little twists off of it. Plus I like all the references to tacos. Food was often on the main characters’s minds since those in E2 had a limited menu and limited calorie intake. Definitely makes me think I can do a better job of creatively cooking up the contents of my kitchen cupboards.

The Narration: The narration was really good. Each of the ladies, Joy Osmanski and Lynde Houck, did a great job. I don’t which lady took which main character (Dawn Chapman and Linda Ryu) but they were each distinct and each did a great job getting the catty behavior across. Charlie Thurston was a really good sex-obsessed Ramsay Roothorp. I could clearly feel the character’s frustrations with how things turned out for him.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

hmmm....

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.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Masterpiece

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.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars

If you like soap operas

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.

5 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars

loved it. I was inside each character and <br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br />

Loved the way each character made his or her part spin the story to unbelievable heights. Excellent. Five stars.

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Boyle's novels are an iffy proposition.

Would you try another book from T. C. Boyle and/or the narrators?

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.

What was your reaction to the ending? (No spoilers please!)

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.

What three words best describe the narrators’s performance?

Once again, I just hate this question. Particularly given that there are three narrators, it is impossible to answer.

Was The Terranauts worth the listening time?

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.

Any additional comments?

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.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Totally unexpected

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.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Love the ending.

Enjoyed Tortilla Curtain more but this kept my attention. 3 good narrators. Interesting info on biosphere. Makes me want to visit it again.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Excellent! Excellent! Excellent!

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!).