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New Treasures: Do You Dream of Terra-Two? by Temi Oh

Friday, September 13th, 2019 | Posted by John ONeill

Do You Dream of Terra-Two-small Do You Dream of Terra-Two-back-smll

Cover design by Krista Vossen

I’ve recently signed up for Audible, Amazon’s downloadable audiobook service, and it’s totally changed my daily commute to downtown Chicago. I’ve finished three audiobooks in the past two weeks, and enthusiastically filled up my queue with titles from my to-be-read pile. Sure, it’s a little irritating to pay for audio versions of books I already own, but the satisfaction of finally making progress on that towering pile more than makes up for it.

If anything can interrupt that victorious clearing of the dusty pile on my night table, it’s a highly acclaimed debut. There have been a few in the last two months, and one of the most compelling is Temi Oh’s Do You Dream of Terra-Two?, which NPR calls “Gorgeous. Thoughtful. Contemplative.” And Colleen Mondor at Locus reviewed it warmly, saying:

This book is a doorstop, but it’s also an incredibly unique and realistic space novel that will give read­ers a lot to think about and should not be missed… various space agencies have been working on various plans to reach a distant planet, Terra-Two, and have begun a colonization project. As humans have already been to Mars and there are other missions slightly beyond that point, reaching Terra-Two is not im­possible. The problem is that it will take over 20 years to get there, and so the first astronauts need to be very young when they depart. The solution is a space academy for teenagers and a selection of six of them to launch, with four older, experi­enced astronauts, when the younger “beta” group is under 20 years old….

In most space operas, there is an attack or some other horrific drama brought upon the people traveling in space. There certainly is, eventually, something dramatic that happens to the crew of the Damocles (spoiler alert: no aliens), but most of the narrative involves itself with the quieter dramas involved in the reality of this great commitment the young crew has made… once on Damocles, once they have settled into what will become a years-long rhythm of life and work, then the proverbial wheels start to come off the bus… Do You Dream of Terra-Two? is not the usual sort of space novel; it’s an investment in relation­ships, a look at how complicated the social aspects of interstellar space travel will likely be. Temi Oh takes big risks with this big novel, and I think she accomplishes some big things. It’s not what you expect but, in every important way, it’s what you really need to read.

I haven’t decided yet if Do You Dream of Terra-Two? will displace any of the titles on my Audible queue, but I did pick up a print copy. It was published by Saga Press on August 13, 2019. It is 532 pages, priced at $16.99 in trade paperback and $7.99 in digital formats. The cover was designed by Krista Vossen. See all our recent New Treasures here.

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