How to Mars
Ebenbach (Miss Portland
) imagines the first pregnancy on Mars in this gentle, domestic sci-fi novel of a reality show gone interplanetary. Two years into the filming of reality show Destination Mars!
the cast have settled into a quotidian routine on the Red Planet, leading to declining ratings and a production shutdown. Jenny, an astrophysicist, maintains the team’s telescope, and Josh, a psychologist, works to keep things running smoothly in the Destination Mars!
base camp. Ignoring the constantly repeated prohibitions against intercourse (“Even Elton John thinks it’s a bad idea,” warns the Destination Mars!
handbook ), the pair have sex—repeatedly—and despite their prophylactic precautions, soon Jenny is expecting the first child born off Earth. The challenge of a developing life adds both stress and excitement to a base grown weary of Mars and discouraged with searching for alien life. It also brings the attention of some Mars inhabitants who, like Stefan, the team engineer, fear the additional chaos that a bawling baby will bring to the quiet planet. Ebenbach keeps an intimate focus on Jenny’s pregnancy while portraying the technical details of base living through a satiric lens that sees the relentless deliveries of useless towels and the revival of freeze-dried goldfish. The result is funny, fresh, and winsome. Agent: Michael Carr, Veritas Literary Agency. (May)