Booksellers, librarians, bloggers, and reviewers get David Ebenbach’s delightfully unconventional novel HOW TO MARS
Review copies of David Ebenbach’s funny and wonderfully inventive HOW TO MARS are now available via EDELWEISS and NETGALLEY.
ISBN: Print ISBN: 9781616963569: Digital ISBN: 9781616963576
Published: May 2021
Available Format(s): Trade Paperback and Digital
What happens when your dream mission to Mars is a reality television nightmare? This debut science-fiction romp with heart follows the tradition of Ray Bradbury’s Martian Chronicles, with a dash of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, and The Real World.
David Ebenbach’s new novel wittily dismantles the classic space adventure story. In it, the first colonists on Mars struggle not only with the technical and existential challenges of living on another world, but also with much more familiar conundrums: boredom, cabin fever, a crazy coworker, an unplanned pregnancy, corporate incompetence. Funny and wonderfully inventive, HOW TO MARS is equal parts an absurdist cautionary tale and a warm-hearted exploration of those things, good, bad and indifferent, that make us human.—Emily Mitchell, author of Viral Stories
For the six lucky scientists selected by the Destination Mars! corporation, a one-way ticket to Mars—in exchange for a lifetime of research—was an absolute no-brainer. The incredible opportunity was clearly worth even the most absurdly tedious screening process. Perhaps worth following the strange protocols in a nonsensical handbook written by an eccentric billionaire. Possibly even worth their constant surveillance, the video of which is carefully edited into a ratings-bonanza back on Earth.
But it turns out that after a while even scientists can get bored of science. Tempers begin to fray; unsanctioned affairs blossom. When perfectly good equipment begins to fail, the Marsonauts are faced with a possibility that their training just cannot explain.
Irreverent, poignant, and perfectly weird, David Ebenbach’s debut science-fiction outing, like a mission to Mars, is an incredible trip you will never forget.
Two years after having been chosen to receive one-way tickets to Mars for a lifetime of research—all while living under constant surveillance for TV—six scientists are finding life undeniably monotonous, especially since their show was canceled because of low ratings. ‘After a while even scientists can get bored of science. Especially here. Mars, I can tell you, is pretty much rocks, rocks, rocks,’ according to Josh, a psychologist. But when Jenny, the astrophysicist, realizes she’s pregnant after having begun a romantic relationship with Josh—although the Destination Mars! Handbook repeatedly stresses that sex is strictly forbidden—the small community must come together to resolve the looming issues associated with welcoming a newborn into their cramped habitat. Not surprisingly, once the TV producers are made aware of Jenny’s pregnancy, the show is brought back and ratings soar. Told from the perspectives of various characters—even ethereal Martian life-forms that refer to themselves as the Patterns—and complemented with excerpts from the Destination Mars! handbook and Jenny’s humorous research notes, the story has a strong sense of whimsy, but Ebenbach also creates depth by exploring issues like engineer Stefan’s feelings of estrangement and violence and Jenny’s guilt over her sister’s suicide years earlier. A poignant examination of what it means to be human.