A House Between Earth and the Moon by Rebecca Scherm
From Penguin Books:
“Inventive and thrilling. . . . I couldn’t put it down.”
—Brit Bennett, #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Vanishing Half
“It’s a thrill to read this novel.”
—Jia Tolentino, New York Times bestselling author of Trick Mirror
The gripping story of one scientist in outer space, another who watches over him, the family left behind, and the lengths people will go to protect the people and planet they love
For twenty years, Alex has believed that his gene-edited superalgae will slow and even reverse the effects of climate change. His obsession with his research has jeopardized his marriage, his relationships with his kids, and his own professional future. When the Son sisters, founders of the colossal tech company Sensus, offer him a chance to complete his research, he seizes the opportunity. The catch? His lab will be in outer space on Parallaxis, the first-ever luxury residential space station built for billionaires. Alex and six other scientists leave Earth and their loved ones to become Pioneers, the beta tenants of Parallaxis.
But Parallaxis is not the space palace they were sold. Day and night, the embittered crew builds the facility under pressure from Sensus, motivated by the promise that their families will join them. At home on Earth, much of the country is ablaze in wildfires and battered by storms. In Michigan, Alex’s teenage daughter, Mary Agnes, struggles through high school with the help of the ubiquitous Sensus phones implanted in everyone’s ears that archive each humiliation, and wishes she could go to Parallaxis with her father—but her mother will never allow it.
The Pioneers are the beta testers of another program, too: Sensus is designing an algorithm that will predict human behavior. Katherine Son hires Tess, a young social psychologist, to watch the experiment’s subjects through their phones—including not only the Pioneers, but Katherine’s sister, Rachel. Tess begins to develop an intimate, obsessive relationship with her subjects. When Tess and Rachel travel to Parallaxis, the controlled experiment begins to unravel.
Prescient and insightful, A House Between Earth and the Moon is at once a captivating epic about the machinations of big tech and a profoundly intimate meditation on the unmistakably human bonds that hold us together.