Linda is desperate to be one of the lucky eight chosen to take part in the world’s most ambitious ecological experiment. She knows that she can survive for two years under the glass dome of Ecosphere II, set in the Arizona desert. Competition is fierce between the hopefuls, among them smooth-talking PR man Ramsay, and Dawn, a naïve beauty.
Inside this humid microcosm, the terranauts’ labours over crops and livestock, their battles with creepy crawlies, their hostilities and sexual dalliances are all observed by tourists who come to gawp, Mission Control’s cameras and the watchful eye of the media. As they struggle to control nature, and hunger sets in, the snake in this Eden starts to look unmistakably human…
Inspired by real-life events, The Terranauts is a darkly comic, acutely insightful story of human behaviour, animal instincts, idealism and ambition. Placing utopian visions and individual motives under the microscope, this is T.C. Boyle at his acerbic, pitch-perfect best.
NOMINATING LIBRARY COMMENTS
By taking the reader inside a scientific experiment to see if humans can survive in a closed facility, T.C. Boyle succeeds to illustrate the fallibility of human nature itself.
The fictionalization of a project called BioSphere2, this novel is a study of human relationships in a difficult setting, of human nature at its worst. Using very accurate descriptions and perceptive prose, the author draws his readers into the daily life of the eight individuals in this artificial habitat. Hunger, headache, hardwork, strife, and sex is what they have to cope with and the reader is shown the limitations of human empathy.