Issue #144: Life Among the Terranauts

The current issue was edited by our managing editor, Tanya Rey, so I’ll leave her to do the proper introductions. Hope everyone enjoys this marvelously inventive world of the Terranauts. -HT

I knew from the minute I read “Life Among the Terranauts” that I wanted to work on it. Not only was the writing exceptional and the voice delightful, but how often do you read a moving story about people trapped in a simulated earth? With the added suspense of potential cannibalism? Not often, I’d venture to say.

From the beginning Caitlin Horrocks deftly draws us into NovaTerra, an isolated man-made ecosystem where six people have signed on to live for two full years without any contact with the outside world. We meet the group on day 543, after most of the enthusiasm, crops, and animals have died and they are eagerly counting down until they can get out and return to “Old Earth.” What follows is the unraveling of organization and faith, as told from the point of view of a narrator whose own experience with religious zealotry attracts her to Igor, NovaTerra’s only steadfast believer. The narrator is faced with the task of fighting her past in order to ensure the survival of the group.

This is a magical story whose magic lies, above all else, in the way it melts into the grainy existence of our own struggles with faith and religion. Caitlin possesses the coveted writerly ability to make readers think deeply when all they thought they were getting was a funny tale about a botched bio-dome project. (No easy feat, as Jason Bloom can probably tell you.)

Visit the Q&A section to read more about “Life Among the Terranauts” and how it was made. To read more of Caitlin’s work–which I highly recommend–visit her website at

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