According to the satirist TC Boyle, writing and nature saved their own lives. I was the hippies hippie and immoral to boot, and never devoted a was just thinking about putting a needle in my limb, the 67 -year-old says of his wild years in New York, during the late 60 s and early 70 s. I was a youth, I didnt care, I was experimenting with everything in life. I was angry and disturbed and banging my head against the wall to find out what its all about. I turned 25, realized what I could do and wanted to do, and I sought it fanatically ever since. What he ended up seeking was writing. Boyle is now one of Americas most prolific novelists, one the Paris Review once referred to as the maximalist novelist. The author of suffering Americana like The Harder They Come and The Tortilla Curtain lives up to this reputation in conversation. In person hes energetic and flamboyant, with a penchant for driving yet meandering conversation. The Terranauts, his 26 thbook, fictionalizes a notable 90 s Arizona experiment. Eight scientists, coined the Terranauts, lived under glass in E2, a model of a possible off-Earth colony. Their closed, three-acre compound encompassed five biomes rainforest, savanna, desert, ocean and marsh to sustain them over two years. Following on from the likes of A Friend of the Earth and Tooth and Claw, The Terranauts addresses environmental challenges. Sitting in his Frank Lloyd Wright-designed home in Montecito in southern California, hes fired up about the state of the nation. He is not exactly optimistic about the future. I think its going to turn out like The Road within 50 years. Well eat everything left to eat and then well eat one another, he says. He takes a spoonful of his lunchtime cereal. War and climate change and some microbe will decimate us and well go back to The Road or The Road Warrior or some scenario like this and maybe build another civilization again. Where Im living and talking to you from, the capitalist system is dependent upon infinite product and infinite consumers and its a finite world. Donald Trump, Boyle says, is the supreme emblem of everything wrong with the US. This ogre jester in the orange makeup has somehow embarrassed and humbled America. He will soon vanish back into reality Tv where he belongs.