How far would you go for a better world? We’re excited to share both the US and UK covers for Do You Dream of Terra-Two? the debut novel from Temi Oh in which ten astronauts—six of them teenagers—are on a mission to reach an Earth-like planet. Check out both covers below, and read a short excerpt from the novel!
Do You Dream of Terra-Two? publishes in March 2019 with Saga Press (US) and Simon & Schuster (UK)
A century ago, an astronomer discovered an Earth-like planet orbiting a nearby star. She predicted that one day humans would travel there to build a utopia. Today, ten astronauts are leaving everything behind to find it. Four are veterans of the 20th century’s space-race.
And six are teenagers who’ve trained for this mission most of their lives.
It will take the team 23 years to reach Terra-Two. Twenty-three years locked in close quarters. Twenty-three years with no one to rely on but each other. Twenty-three years with no rescue possible, should something go wrong.
And something always goes wrong.
Astrid had grown up knowing that there was a distant planet outside her own solar system, a green twin of Earth. The first day that a longing to go there awoke inside her, she had been in assembly. All the children in her year group had been ushered into the school hall to watch a video, part of a presentation delivered by a team from the UKSA. ‘Another habitable planet,’ announced one of them across the darkened room and the screen lit up with dazzling vistas of an alien land. Astrid saw an ocean, lush mountain ranges and terracotta canyons ridged like jewel-box shells.
‘They call it a “New Earth”,’ said the young astrobiologist with exaggerated air-quotes, ‘but our findings actually suggest that Terra-Two is many millions of years older than our own Earth; truly, we’re living on Terra-Two.’
Under the collar of her shirt, Astrid’s neck prickled with goosebumps. She sat up as if she had been called by name, and in a way she had. This, they’d told her, was a place for the intrepid. The first settlers would not arrive until they were middle-aged, even if they left today. Their job would be to chart terrain, and to explore the land, to name the secret schools of fish which swept through the coral reefs, and photograph night-blooming flowers. Someone in this room, they’d said in a reverent whisper, may be the first to set foot in the crystalline caves which had formed underground. Astrid had imagined herself descending to find her own adult face reflected in the frosty mineral beams.
This is a job for the brave, they’d said, a job for dreamers, for people who, like Astrid, woke every morning longing for another world. ‘Imagine it,’ the recruiter had said. And Astrid had.
That week, she’d bounced around with the hyper energy of a new convert. She would get into Dalton, she would specialize in astrobiology, she would be accepted into the Beta and she would go to Terra-Two.
Astrid would remember the years after that assembly and before the launch as a single shining line of triumph. The shortest route between point A, the naming of her desire and point B, leaving Earth – its sole zenith of realization.
Later, they would ask what she had been thinking when the hatch slammed shut. Had she been contemplating what a slow labour their mission was, how many minds and hands it had taken to get her to this point, to this two-minute launch window? Or was she counting every sacrifice, every year of her life she had given and was still to give?
As the flight director commenced the countdown, she heard Professor Stenton’s measured voice crackle through the headset. ‘Take care of yourself,’ she said, the thing she said whenever she bid them goodbye from the driveway before a school trip, or at the start of a holiday with the sun in her eyes.
They would ask Astrid if she had been afraid and she would answer ‘no’ every time. And if she ever looked back at the strange arc of her life and wondered if any moment in her life had been as perfect as dreaming of it, she would say, ‘that one’.
The shuttle launched. 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.
Excerpted from Do You Dream of Terra-Two?, copyright 2018 by Temi Oh.
Temi Oh graduated from King’s College London in 2015 with a BSci in Neuroscience. Her degree provided great opportunities to write and learn about topics ranging from ‘Philosophy of the Mind’ to ‘Space Physiology’. While at KCL, Temi founded and ran a book-club called “Neuroscience-fiction”, where she led discussions about science-fiction books which focus on the brain. In 2016, she received an MA in Creative Writing from the University of Edinburgh.