Wednesday, February 19, 2020

30. Do You Dream of Terra-Two?

Do You Dream of Terra-Two? Temi Oh. 2019. 520 pages. [Source: Library][Adult science fiction; science fiction; space opera; alternate histories]

First sentence: It is just like Earth; Terra Two.

Premise/plot: Do You Dream Of Terra Two? is a science fiction novel set in an alternate past or history. What if a life-sustaining planet had been discovered in the twentieth century? What if colonies and space stations had happened in the space race? What if at the dawn of the twenty-first century saw nations preparing to colonize this Terra Two planet? What if colonizing space was seen as part of the solution to global warming and climate change? The six young adults preparing for this first mission trained from 2004-2012. At the start there were several hundred students (10 to 13 year olds), through the years cuts were made until the final six and a back-up team of six were ready. These six will work with four veteran astronauts (one is picked up from Mars). These pioneers will prepare the way for future settlers.

It will take twenty three years give or take to arrive on Terra Two. The mission is dangerous and a once in a lifetime opportunity and experience. Yes, they’ve been trained, but training can’t prepare you for so many unknowns and uncertainties. Can they handle it?

Harry, Jesse, Astrid, Juno, Eliot, and Poppy these are the six young adults on board....

My thoughts: This one has many narrators. For over half the novel I found the characterization to be on the weaker side. By the end the characters were starting to come about and feel more developed. But make no mistake, this one is a premise-driven, action-driven space opera. The characters alone can’t carry this story forward.

I found the premise intriguing. I did. I like science fiction. I have a soft spot for books set in space. I liked the idea of space pioneers trekking across space dreaming of the future and battling the obstacles that stand in their way. I liked how some of these obstacles are internal. The six are troubled souls. I don’t know how these problems could have gone undetected on earth. So maybe these mental and psychological weaknesses were seen as strengths? I don’t know.

There were occasions of info dumping. In particular there’s a scene where socialism/communism is pushed quite strongly and obviously as the solution to everything. This new planet will be set up in such a way that it could never ever ever fail: socialism/communism. The characters acknowledge that humanity has messed up the planet earth. But fail to realize that transplanting humans to another planet won’t give any human a new nature. Human nature can’t be flawed on Terra Two! There will be a written constitution in place before settlers come! We all know that written constitutions, laws, and rules are always kept, obeyed, upheld and never changed, rewritten, updated, overturned, rebelled against, revolted against.

The ideals of a few characters and lack of a common sense understanding of reality caused a few eye rolls.

Also, this one has adult content of a semi-graphic nature plus a few obscenities. So it is not a clean read. (I don’t think all books should be, have to be, need to be “clean.” I mention it just because I like to know so I can make an informed decision when I pick a book up.)

I liked it. I think for the right reader it will work well. 

© 2020 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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