Book Review: Do You Dream of Terra Two? by Temi Oh

Loved it! I was a bit worried to read Temi’s book because well… I actually know her as a person. We are writer-friends. We met in 2016 at a ‘How to Get Into Publishing Event’ at Dundee University, and three years later – her debut novel Do You Dream of Terra Two? was published. And while I’d read her beautiful instagram posts and had marvelous conversations, I’d never read her book. I was so excited to support her at her launch party at Forbidden Planet and witness the birth of her baby. Those cupcakes were delicious!

And then her novel sat on my bookshelf, waiting patiently for me to be ready to read it. I started it, and then a personal crisis overtook my life and all I could read were self-help books. Until finally eight months later, my brother was telling me about Tesla’s space initiative SpaceX, and I said, “My friend Temi wrote a book about a group of teen pioneers who go into space. It’s supposed to be good. I really want to read it.” I couldn’t go around telling people about my amazing friend and not have read her book; it was hypocritical. It was time. I read a bit before bed each night, and then, when they took off into space, I couldn’t put it down. I spent the weekend on my couch with my dog, my mind in a spaceship with a vision of paradise. 

Do You Dream of Terra Two? is about a group of teens who are chosen to represent Britain in the race to establish a settlement on the planet Terra Two in order to prepare for the inevitable evacuation of Earth once it has become unlivable for humans. They have to send teens because the journey will take 23 years, and they need to be fit enough to survive in a wild terrain. While the characters are brave and inspiring in their sacrifice, they are normal teens with problems who are still trying to figure out how to be in the world, let alone in space! 

I found the characters fascinating, and enjoyed getting to know them as they got to know each other. Contrary to the hype about the dangers of being an astronaut, most of the time they were trapped in a tiny space for the next 23 years together and could only study, talk to each other, and try not to get overwhelmed by boredom. And as author Tim Ferris says, “The opposite of love is indifference, and the opposite of happiness is boredom.” The characters each responded differently to the situation, their childhoods and diverse backgrounds unraveling along the way. 

Temi is a very descriptive writer, the way she paints Terra Two – I too can see it, am almost there, the colors so vivid, the hope almost tangible. 

‘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.’

(Read full excerpt here)

It is a beautiful, haunting book that explores our global fear about the end of Earth as we know it. It connects perfectly to current events with young organizations like Extinction Rebellion and Sunrise Movement and youth environmental activists like Greta Thunberg, Autumn Peltier, and Marie Copeny taking action; the next generation is working hard to save our home. 

Temi Oh’s Do You Dream of Terra Two? left me with my head spinning and my heart crying. Are we really going to leave our future to a chosen group of teens with elite educations and billions of dollars spent on one spaceship that might never even get there? If we don’t act now and work together, this may truly become our only hope. 

I’d highly recommend reading this book, and letting your mind go there, so that you, too, can find the fire in your heart to take action and make your impact in saving our home. 

Go to your library, your local bookstore, or Amazon to read this book. I’d love to hear what you think and ways to take action to live in harmony with our planet: 

5 Things to do After Reading: 

  • Message Temi and tell her how proud I am
  • Eat popcorn
  • Appreciate earth so much more and find a way to be more sustainable. 
  • Make a dream catcher and put it above my bed. 
  • Learn more about astronomy.

Temi Oh is a a writer and artist living in London with her husband. Find out more on her website, or follow her on Twitter!