Astronomy and Astrophysics

T.C. Boyle explores a world within a world in 'The Terranauts'

T.C. Boyle explores a world within a world in 'The Terranauts'

The protagonists of T.C. Boyle’s new novel, “The Terranauts,” live in a bubble — an actual bubble, their lives conducted under glass. They are the inhabitants of a biodome called E2, located in the Arizona desert. It has a savannah, a rainforest and an artificial ocean the size of an Olympic swimming pool. It is climate-controlled, but the hope of its creators is that it will become a self-sustaining ecosphere.

“Call it science-theater,” says one of his characters early on. “Call it a dramatization of ecological principles under the guiding cosmology of Gaia, in which E1, the original world where we were all born and nurtured,...

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