The Terraformers

Annalee Newitz
The Terraformers Cover

The Terraformers - Annalee Newitz


Worldbuilding is a given, with the title, and there's also 1600 years of history between the first and last chapters. This sweeping story is told at the level of individual characters and their challenges, and was hard for me to put down.

The setting is a planet being terraformed for a private corporation for eventual profit. This in itself is not the point of conflict for the story, but quick decisions made by the company representative often are the nexus of complaint. How the characters feel about the company isn't as important in the story as how they feel about each other. Friendship often wins the day.

Gender fluidity and even person fluidity (both animals and programs / machines) are plot points, with the majority of characters having a fairly liberal interpretation and a desire to expand the far future norm. Uplift and anti-gravity are two of the technologies not given detail in this character driven story. Props to the Newitz here - building up an entire world and politics, then tackling the rights of the people of this world? Truly a massive task!

I really enjoyed the author's non-fiction book Scatter, Adapt, and Remember: How Humans Will Survive a Mass Extinction, but their previous fiction Autonomous didn't work for me. I am happy to say this novel is much better fiction.