The Terraformers

Hardcover, 352 pages

English language

Published Jan. 22, 2023 by Tor Books.

ISBN:
978-1-250-22801-7
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Goodreads:
60784471

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4 stars (20 reviews)

From science fiction visionary Annalee Newitz comes The Terraformers, a sweeping, uplifting, and illuminating exploration of the future.

Destry's life is dedicated to terraforming Sask-E. As part of the Environmental Rescue Team, she cares for the planet and its burgeoning eco-systems as her parents and their parents did before her.

But the bright, clean future they're building comes under threat when Destry discovers a city full of people that shouldn’t exist, hidden inside a massive volcano.

As she uncovers more about their past, Destry begins to question the mission she's devoted her life to, and must make a choice that will reverberate through Sask-E's future for generations to come.

A science fiction epic for our times and a love letter to our future, The Terraformers will take you on a journey spanning thousands of years and exploring the triumphs, strife, and hope that find us wherever we make our home. …

1 edition

Engaging, but could have been better

3 stars

I didn't enjoy this as much as I'd hoped to.

The plot is broad in scope and sweeps across a period of a couple of millennia. Although set almost 60,000 years in the future it touches upon (and in some cases dives deeply into) themes that are very relevant in the 21st century, and the writing is generally engaging.

So why didn't I really like it? A couple of things: the structure of the book (three sections each set approx. 1,000 years apart) meant that just as you were starting to really understand some of the characters they were left by the wayside and a whole new set of individuals got introduced. At the end of each section it felt to me that there was still a lot of potential development of both plot and characters, and maybe this book could have worked better if each section was significantly expanded …

Wonderful

4 stars

The Terraformers is a wonderful examination of a world designed more for profit than for life. There are numerous takeaways in this remarkably well researched book, and the author is so imaginative and story line so engaging that it's hard not to read in one sitting. Analogies and metaphors abound, and each reader will perk up at recognizing ones that resonate. I enjoyed the story's strong environmental, anti-corporatist, and interconnectedness themes, and the personification of both sentient and insensate beings was remarkably entertaining. It was disappointing to bond with characters, only to be told in the next chapter that they had died without much explanation, but I have to admit that this may have been necessary given that the story's timeline covers thousands of years. I recognized many Buddhist themes in here too, but that may be just my take as a Buddhist reader. Read this and you'll never think …

.@annaleen@wandering.shop's epic tale of #enshittification on a geologic time scale.

4 stars

A really wonderful take on colonization and identity. Fast paced and full of some truly original takes on technology and the balances (and imbalances) of power resulting from the dynamics of capitalism in a seemingly post-scarcity era.

Who owns the land? What is intelligence and what rights (if any) does intelligence deserve? What if naked mole rats could talk and what if Miyazaki's catbus was part of an anarchist collective that lived under an active volcano?

These and many other questions are wrestled with in the this light and heavy sci-fi gem.

Should have been a Trilogy

4 stars

Newitz built a tripartite story, spread across millennia, and it's very good (as expected for previous readers). But, the characters aren't given QUITE enough room to breathe, and expanding this single novel into three, rather than the current three connected novellas, would really have been my preference.

Still, great book, but I want to know what else happened!

Review of 'Terraformers' on 'Goodreads'

2 stars

My library loan ran out at about 70% and I'm okay with it. I was struggling to keep going. The whole terraforming using modified "normal" systems was kinda neat, but all the characters and events felt flat and kinda boring.

I'm still getting used to authors using they as a singular in writing (I'm fine in casual convo but writing throws me off), but the inconsistentness of having characters sometimes share their pronouns and sometimes not was a little jarring.

As I said, just flat, there were so many characters even before the first time jump that I really didn't get invested in any, and nobody really got developed.

I'm sure it's a great story but I recommend passing.

Review of 'The Terraformers' on 'Goodreads'

4 stars

An absorbing book about terraforming, ecology, and various interactions between living beings. The suspense has a U-shape, as the middle part drags a bit.
Otherwise, a wonderful book with interesting thoughts and perspectives.
Thank you for this refreshing sci-fi adventure.

The Terraformers

4 stars

This is a novel about a corporate-run terraformed world and the struggle of the people building that world to push back on their awful corporate owners and ultimately become self-governing.

Chapter one of this book really gripped me: a park ranger on a terraforming planet (who can connect to sensors in nearby trees and grasses) and her texting/flying moose buddy stop a rich camping tourist hurting the local ecosystem. Here's a small handful of other delightful worldbuilding details that I enjoyed, just for flavor: new people are built/decanted rather than born; sentient worms solve NP completeness; there's an endearing cat/train relationship. I think there's something fun about a novel that sets itself extremely far in the future and stuffs itself with neat ideas.

It's hard not to feel the echoes of Kim Stanley Robinson's Mars Trilogy in this whole book. Aside from the obvious bit that it's about the terraforming …

Ökologische SF weiter gedacht

5 stars

In The Terraformers erzählt Annalee Newitz die Geschichte eines gesamten Planeten und der Personen, die auf ihm leben. Das Unternehmen Verdance verdient sein Geld damit, ganze Planeten über Jahrhunderte und -tausende hinweg zu terraformen und dann das gewonnene Land an Investoren zu verkaufen. Das ist auch der Plan für Sask-E, dessen Geschichte das Buch in Ausschnitten begleitet: von den allerersten “menschlichen” Siedlern bis hin zu der entstehenden Gesellschaft und ihren Folgen.

Im Mittelpunkt von The Terraformers stehen die Personen, die die Verwandlung des Planeten steuern und begleiten – entsprechend bestimmen sich auch die thematischen Schwerpunkte des Romans: geht es am Anfang besonders um die Stabilität des Ökosystems, kommen später die Perversionen eines galaktisch-libertären Kapitalismus hinzu und schließlich Faschismus und Rassismus.

Der besondere Twist dabei ist, dass Newitz das Konzept der Person weit ausdehnt: So ist in der Welt des 50. Jahrtausends Intelligenz nicht mehr auf hominide Körper beschränkt, sondern auch …

Great Ideas, Uninspired Execution

3 stars

As always, Annalee Newitz is astoundingly smart. She fills this book with many interesting ideas. Unfortunately, the story she writes around the ideas in this book is a little weak. The most notable example is in the first section where two factions have little reason to trust each other, yet they do so in only a couple pages.

Terraformers is still worth reading for the concepts, but Newitz's previous two works of fiction are easily superior.

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