Review: Do You Dream of Terra-Two?

“Astrid burst through the luminescent atmosphere and into the black firmament beyond. She had been longing to leave her whole life, and finally nothing was standing between her and the stars.” ~ Temi Oh, Do You Dream of Terra-Two?

Do You Dream of Terra-Two? by Temi Oh
532 pages
Published by Saga Press, 2019
Genre: Sci-fi
Re-readability: While the discovery was half the fun, I’ll happily reread this one someday.
Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed by Pete
Spoiler-free review

Six students have spent years of their lives preparing for a mission to Terra-Two, an Earth-like planet just a twenty-two-year journey away. On a small spaceship, accompanied only by a handful of senior crew, they learn to live in an incredibly dangerous microcosm, with only the dreams of a distant planet to sustain them. 

Though this novel was not the space voyage I expected, I still enjoyed every moment of it, from the pithy summary of many years at a space academy to the strained relationships forced into a delicate bubble of air traveling at high speeds. 

This is sci-fi on the most human end of the spectrum, focusing on what technology does to humans rather than what humans can do with technology. There’s very little technobabble to slow you down or confuse you—Oh has boiled this adventure down to its essence, making for an extremely enjoyable and fast-paced read. 

It’s hard to talk about any of the characters in detail, as the crew of the Damocles is featured nearly equally, and almost all of the characters were tied for my favorite by the end. Getting onto a spaceship to be trapped with the same people for twenty-two years—after saying goodbye to everyone else on Earth forever—is something I can’t even process, but this book gave me a glimpse of it. It reads almost like an adventurous slice-of-life, though at times it borders on horror (I won’t ruin any surprises… it’s best experienced open-minded). 

While the world Oh has created is unique (space travel has existed for centuries and there are several long-term space voyages in progress during the novel), it’s recognizable enough as our own, and the story is so fundamentally human. I felt like the crew were my friends and family at times, and I experienced the terror, danger, and emptiness of space. It made me think of all of the deadly journeys humans have made across oceans and across mountain ranges and everything one risks sacrificing when they set out. Whether sci-fi is your cup of tea or not, this is a journey worth experiencing.

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