The Terraformers by Annalee Newitz (they/them) is a far-future sci-fi focused on the people making a distant planet more earthlike over a long period of time. It came across my radar when I was searching for Newitz's older book, Autonomous, but the library had this one instead. Newitz has three novels, several short stories, and non-fiction books and articles, many with a climate or cli-fi theme. They have been nominated for and/or won several prestigious awards.
The book focuses on members of the ERT, a cross between park rangers, scientists, and colonists who are in charge of the terraforming process. There are essentially three novellas in the book. In the first, Destry, a member of the ERT, accidentally discovers a hidden city on the planet and must find balance between her corporate overlords and the people who should be extinct. In the second, Sulfur deals with the fallout of Destry's choices while also planning public transit. In the third, a sentient train must help with a disaster that shapes the planet's destiny.
This book had a lot of ideas in it, to say the least. It certainly didn't have any slow pacing, which kept me from being bored. I liked that the environmental group had so much power and the science was well written.
On the other hand, this book's pacing was killer. I felt like I barely got to know characters before their time was up, and there were so many names I got lost often. There was also a huge helping of weird, with things like talking, flying moose and a train falling in love with a cat. It got to be a too much for me.
Overall, this book is for you if you want three related novellas, if you like weird sci-fi/talking animals, and if you are looking for far-future cli-fi. It's not for you if you want a single novel with the same characters throughout, if you do not like talking animals, or if you don't want sex scenes.
Have you read The Terraformers? What about Newitz's other novels? Let's discuss in the comments!