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How to Mars

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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 a hint of The Real World. For the six lucky scientists selected by the Destination Mars! corporation, a one-way ticket to Mars—in exchan 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 a hint of The Real World. 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.


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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 a hint of The Real World. For the six lucky scientists selected by the Destination Mars! corporation, a one-way ticket to Mars—in exchan 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 a hint of The Real World. 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.

30 review for How to Mars

  1. 4 out of 5

    Farrah (on a short hiatus!)

    Six people, after a rigorous weeding-out process, are selected by DESTINATION MARS! to live out the rest of their lives on Mars. Studying the planet, making it a home, while being constantly filmed as a reality show for everyone else back on Earth. The biggest rule is NO SEX! (because a baby conceived on the red planet is sure to be doomed) but good luck anyone could follow that rule so naturally the book opens with a pregnant Marsonaut. Oops! I really liked 𝘏𝘰𝘸 𝘛𝘰 𝘔𝘢𝘳𝘴. It was funny- sometimes Six people, after a rigorous weeding-out process, are selected by DESTINATION MARS! to live out the rest of their lives on Mars. Studying the planet, making it a home, while being constantly filmed as a reality show for everyone else back on Earth. The biggest rule is NO SEX! (because a baby conceived on the red planet is sure to be doomed) but good luck anyone could follow that rule so naturally the book opens with a pregnant Marsonaut. Oops! I really liked 𝘏𝘰𝘸 𝘛𝘰 𝘔𝘢𝘳𝘴. It was funny- sometimes the silly kind of funny and sometimes a very clever funny. It had a bit of depth since it's mostly a story about family, but it didn't take itself too seriously. It seemed like it's goal was light-hearted entertainment and it succeeded. 3.5⭐ 𝘛𝘩𝘢𝘯𝘬 𝘺𝘰𝘶 𝘕𝘦𝘵𝘎𝘢𝘭𝘭𝘦𝘺 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘱𝘶𝘣𝘭𝘪𝘴𝘩𝘦𝘳 𝘧𝘰𝘳 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘢𝘥𝘷𝘢𝘯𝘤𝘦 𝘤𝘰𝘱𝘺. 𝘙𝘦𝘭𝘦𝘢𝘴𝘦 𝘥𝘢𝘵𝘦 𝘔𝘢𝘺 25

  2. 4 out of 5

    Lex Kent

    2.50 Stars. A good concept, but the story was not what I was expecting or hoping for. I was really excited about this book. I love sci-fi but I feel like I never get to read enough. It’s not just aliens and space battles, but I also enjoy the more – I guess you could say realistic sci-fi- that involves humans terraforming planets. And while I don’t get to watch as much TV anymore, I still consider reality TV to be a guilty pleasure. When I heard about this book, a reality show about a group of p 2.50 Stars. A good concept, but the story was not what I was expecting or hoping for. I was really excited about this book. I love sci-fi but I feel like I never get to read enough. It’s not just aliens and space battles, but I also enjoy the more – I guess you could say realistic sci-fi- that involves humans terraforming planets. And while I don’t get to watch as much TV anymore, I still consider reality TV to be a guilty pleasure. When I heard about this book, a reality show about a group of people who will be living on Mars, this seemed right up my alley. I was thinking something like Big Brother meets The Martian. Unfortunately, I had expectations that were just not met. I had trouble right from the beginning. We start when the people are already on Mars, their reality show cancelled, and with the characters not doing their work because they are bored. This is why one character gets pregnant even with a no-sex allowed decree. The problem is a bunch of bored characters translated into me being a bored reader. I thought there would be some excitement around who got picked for the show, what it was like coming to Mars, some crazy reality show antics, but it had none of that. I soon realized this book was really all about pregnancy, and I didn’t need to pick up a book about Mars if I just wanted to read about pregnancy. The characters were not very fleshed out, except for Stefan and I’m not going to get much into him here. But even with him, there could have been some excitement or something, but it just felt odd to be in his POV instead. The one character I was interested in, Nicole, an Air Force Captain and MD, but we never get to be in her POV so it was a let-down. There wasn’t really any personal growth to any of the characters and they just felt flat. About one third of the book is a ‘how to Mars’ handbook that the corporation wrote, that made the show. The author used it to inflict some dry humor on us. While I thought the first few parts were a little funny, and had some potential, I soon grew tired of it and found it to be more ‘dry’ than ‘humor’. I also found it odd that while I was expecting a good amount of science involved in the habitat and what they were studying/goals to accomplish, but there was very little of that. Most of the science, pages and pages of it, was about pregnancy on Earth versus what could be on Mars. For me personally, pregnancy science is just not very interesting. This book was not a fit for my tastes and it was hard that this was so much different than I expected it to be. I would only recommend this to people who are interested in what pregnancy could be like on Mars. I gave this a 2.50 rating and the reason I rounded up, in the absence of half stars- is because I actually liked the ending. It was the type of ending I wanted for the book, and the last few chapters were the best part of the whole book. A copy was generously give to me for a review.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Goblin Reaper

    “You could think about something without doing something.” How to Mars is David Ebenbach's first science fiction book. A news article about a now-defunct organization named Mars One that planned to send 12 people to Mars on a one-way trip sparked the idea for the novel. Ebenbach was interested in learning more about the concept, such as who would choose to do it, who would suggest it, and how the people who would be sent to Mars on the mission would live and prosper. I'd like to express my gratitu “You could think about something without doing something.” How to Mars is David Ebenbach's first science fiction book. A news article about a now-defunct organization named Mars One that planned to send 12 people to Mars on a one-way trip sparked the idea for the novel. Ebenbach was interested in learning more about the concept, such as who would choose to do it, who would suggest it, and how the people who would be sent to Mars on the mission would live and prosper. I'd like to express my gratitude to Tachyon Publications for providing me with an ARC in return for a fair review. The story is a somewhat provocative, sometimes sarcastic, and thought-provoking book about what it would be like to be one of six people selected for a one-way journey to Mars paid for and shown on a reality television program. This is a story about a fictitious corporation named Destination Mars! Even though they were all specifically banned from having sex, but one of them became pregnant. So, what's next? Jenny, the mother-to-be, tells some of it in journal mode, while the father-to-be tells some of it in the first person. And there are the third-person scenes, which include the resident engineer, who despises people and has begun hearing voices urging him to do dubious things. The funniest bits, though, are taken from the unofficial Destination Mars! handbook, which was written by the project's (seriously kooky) founder. There isn't much of a storyline, but that is part of what makes this book so good. The plot is very take-it-as-it-comes, but it is not the main focus of the book. We get witty takes on theory and science culture together with a nice laugh. I enjoyed learning about the characters and seeing how their various identities aided and hampered the quest. It's easy to see how a single person could derail the entire thing. It's crazy that, among all of the potentially life-threatening situations that might occur, boredom is a real problem that you must face. The only thing I wish there had been more of was learning more about the Martians, which seemed to be taking off but then fizzled out towards the end. And there were times when I was reading that I felt that life on Mars didn't sound so bad. Rockets delivering all of your supplies every few months and at a much slower speed of life. Unless you irritated the reality TV show's makers and they punished you by leaving out essentials like freeze-dried ice cream. You don't fully understand why those chapters are there or why there is an emphasis on those characters in the beginning and middle of the novel. It all came together in the end and made a lot of sense, which I really enjoyed. Even at the end, there is some suspense and intrigue, which adds an interesting aspect to the book. If you're looking for something light, entertaining, eccentric, and just a little bit different, this is the book for you.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Clifford

    What a fun read this was! Despite its setting on Mars, it isn't hardcore sci-fi, and in fact, I half expected the book to eventually reveal that the six residents of the Mars colony had been duped and they were really in the Australian outback (as they are for a portion of their selection process/training). But, no. The book has some great characters, an excellent narrative structure, and very funny writing. What a fun read this was! Despite its setting on Mars, it isn't hardcore sci-fi, and in fact, I half expected the book to eventually reveal that the six residents of the Mars colony had been duped and they were really in the Australian outback (as they are for a portion of their selection process/training). But, no. The book has some great characters, an excellent narrative structure, and very funny writing.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Bandit

    Mars is one of my favorite armchair destinations, however impractical. And I’ll go there any chance I find with whatever book that’ll take me. Of course, it’s a much safer version and much less of a commitment than the six intrepid Marsonauts sign up in the book for, but hey…we do what we can. And one way trip to the red planet is much too permanent and terrifying of an option. Although when Mars One offered that very option a few years ago, apparently there were something like 200 000 applican Mars is one of my favorite armchair destinations, however impractical. And I’ll go there any chance I find with whatever book that’ll take me. Of course, it’s a much safer version and much less of a commitment than the six intrepid Marsonauts sign up in the book for, but hey…we do what we can. And one way trip to the red planet is much too permanent and terrifying of an option. Although when Mars One offered that very option a few years ago, apparently there were something like 200 000 applicants. Now, most of us read that sort of a story in the news, ponder it for a while and set it aside, but for an author’s fertile imagination it proved to be just the seed for this novel. Originally written as short stories and later quite seamlessly combined into a continuous narrative, How to Mars is an intriguing and deceptive science fiction novel. And In say deceptive, because for all its Marsiness, so much so some of it is literally a manual that teaches you how to Mars, it actually isn’t about Mars at all, or space or any of that Of all the things, this is actually all about family. You might get that idea with the very first sentence where one of the six Mars colonists just learns that he is going to be a father. The mother to be is his coworker and girlfriend and fellow colonists and this is a most unexpected of all developments, because there were strictly warned against having sexual relations or getting pregnant. Sterilized, in fact, just to avoid the possibility. And yet…to quote the one of the greats…Life finds a way. So now the already fraught dynamics of the six are getting even more shifted and skewed. Why fraught…when so much training and prescreening went into preselecting these individuals? Well, because it’s a difficult, impossible to imagine prior to being in it, really, situation and because the kind of people who’d leave their entire lives behind for something like this may not be the easiest people to get along with. First…there was the dream. Destination Mars…as new and exciting as they come. Pioneering on the intergalactic scale. Bold, ambitious and in the end…surprisingly tedious. So much so, in fact, that the reality show based on their lives got cancelled. In fact, until the improbable baby news, there was a lot of sitting around, killing time. Now it’s all about to change. Reproducing is apparently a lifechanging concept anywhere. It might be the thing that throws a wrench in the tightly wound works of the mission or it just might be the thing that saves them. So basically a character driven relationship drama, set among the red (some say orange) dust. Something with a moral. Something about a team learning to become a family. Something about growing as people while growing a baby. Definitely not what was expected and yet really enjoyable at the same time. Definitely the quirkiest of all Mars stories I’ve read or watched as movies. Like a Martian set indie drama. It has plenty of sci fi elements, from logistics or early colonization to alien cameos. But it deals much more with the mentality of the process than the special effects. In some ways, Mars is just an extraordinary set for a very quiet character drama with the main character apparently standing in for the author (psych training and all) and a very interesting kinda sorta antagonist in the grumpy dane. It’s almost more like a book you’d give to expecting first time parents than to a sci fi buff, but in theory it may work for both. Personally, I liked it a lot. It was different and I appreciated the humorous quirky tone of it. And the sheer concept of something so theoretically exciting turning so ordinary and bland…that was kind of an ingenious dash of realism for a high concept space adventure. I liked the ending and the cover. Guess I’m a fan. Another memorable trip, Mars, you never disappoint. Recommended. Thanks Netgalley.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Karen’s Library

    Reading the synopsis of How to Mars had me really excited as the premise of the story was something right up my alley. Contestants of a reality show “Destination Mars” win the trip of a lifetime: a one-way ticket to Mars… Forever. Sci-fi - check, reality TV show - check, living and colonizing MARS - check check check…. All things I love so much!! Unfortunately, this was not the story I got. The book opens up a couple of years after the “contestants” are already living on Mars. The reality show is Reading the synopsis of How to Mars had me really excited as the premise of the story was something right up my alley. Contestants of a reality show “Destination Mars” win the trip of a lifetime: a one-way ticket to Mars… Forever. Sci-fi - check, reality TV show - check, living and colonizing MARS - check check check…. All things I love so much!! Unfortunately, this was not the story I got. The book opens up a couple of years after the “contestants” are already living on Mars. The reality show is no longer, because it was too boring. The contestants are boring. The story is interspersed with a handbook from the show’s designer and at first it was quite quirky and interesting. As it went on, it was all I could do to read without skimming through the rest of the handbook bits. The most important part of the handbook and stressed throughout; No sex, ever. No sex for the rest of your lives. Do not have sex. And the storyline… It became all about a pregnancy on Mars. Yup, two of the Marsonauts had sex. That was pretty much the storyline. Not what I was expecting at all. The ending was good and I really enjoyed that part. But the rest of it… not so much. If you’re interested in how a pregnancy might turn out on Mars, read this book. *Thank you to Tachyon Publications and NetGalley for the advance copy. *

  7. 5 out of 5

    Andreas

    Synopsis: The Destination Mars! corporation sends six scientists on a one-way ticket to Mars in exchange for a lifetime of research. They are the stars of a reality television which soon gets old for the broader audience. Not instantly, because there was the incidence where one scientist broke two fingers of another one, just because he could. There’s no police, judge, or prison on Mars. The audience comes back after a while when it became public that a pair of scientists, Jenny the astrophysicis Synopsis: The Destination Mars! corporation sends six scientists on a one-way ticket to Mars in exchange for a lifetime of research. They are the stars of a reality television which soon gets old for the broader audience. Not instantly, because there was the incidence where one scientist broke two fingers of another one, just because he could. There’s no police, judge, or prison on Mars. The audience comes back after a while when it became public that a pair of scientists, Jenny the astrophysicist and Josh the psychologist, did what they were strictly forbidden to do: they had sex. Not only that, but they became a child! Review: The novel strives to rebuild Andy Weirs success with “The Martian” by using the same mix of tongue-in-the-cheek humour with Hard SF. If you struggled with the science portion in The Martian, then this novel might be your next best choice. It is even softer in science up to a degree where its vanishing completely. Don’t come here for the Hard SF part, but for the sitcom entertainment between the six defunct scientists. The humour comes often from Jenny’s research notes and from the many handbook chapters which are everything but helpful. One might wonder how such an obviously unaligned, team-work incapable group of people could be sent to a long-term mission. But it’s clear when you’ve read a couple of handbook chapters and mused about the nature of TV entertainment. It’s an entertaining, quick read, but nothing to write home about. Enjoy!

  8. 4 out of 5

    Amy

    Much like the subject of this book, living on Mars, the book feels experimental. It jumps between being a narrative about a group of people living on Mars and being a quirky but useless instruction manual about how to live on Mars. The author says that he first envisioned it as a story about the first child born on Mars. I suppose the book is an interesting thought experiment, but I find myself not having much to say about it. There were some confusing bits that I never figured out. There was so Much like the subject of this book, living on Mars, the book feels experimental. It jumps between being a narrative about a group of people living on Mars and being a quirky but useless instruction manual about how to live on Mars. The author says that he first envisioned it as a story about the first child born on Mars. I suppose the book is an interesting thought experiment, but I find myself not having much to say about it. There were some confusing bits that I never figured out. There was something called "The Pattern" that they talked about that seemed like it could something interesting, but the idea just petered out. And one character starts to hear voices, but we never really learn anything about those either. The book really feels unfinished. It feels like it wanted to be 3 or 4 different things but decided to have a rush ending suddenly telling about the life of the first person born on Mars in a few paragraphs. This book was going somewhere other that! Wasn't it?

  9. 4 out of 5

    Shannon (It Starts At Midnight)

    You can find the full review and all the fancy and/or randomness that accompanies it at It Starts at Midnight 4.5* I am a huge fan of Mars mission fiction, I think. I loved a few shows I watched about "first humans on Mars" , and I found How To Mars utterly delightful, so Mars wins, I guess. In this particular voyage to Mars, we meet the gang when they've already been on Mars for a second, which was a fun change of pace. These particular Martians have signed up for a one-way trip, none of them You can find the full review and all the fancy and/or randomness that accompanies it at It Starts at Midnight 4.5* I am a huge fan of Mars mission fiction, I think. I loved a few shows I watched about "first humans on Mars" , and I found How To Mars utterly delightful, so Mars wins, I guess. In this particular voyage to Mars, we meet the gang when they've already been on Mars for a second, which was a fun change of pace. These particular Martians have signed up for a one-way trip, none of them having any particular desire to return to Earth. But as you can imagine, life in a very small bubble with just a few other people would have a tendency to have some rocky moments. And when one of the group members becomes unexpectedly pregnant, things definitely will get shaken up! It's a very humorous and engaging story. I loved the characters, and how much they came to care for one another, despite their differences. I also enjoyed the thought-provoking moments, the ones where I questioned myself, how would I handle any of these scenarios? Could I ever actually get on a one-way trip to Mars? Probably not, but as the story unfurls, you'll see that each Martian has their own reasons. There are also exciting moments of Mars adventure, even though it is absolutely more of a character driven book. The real highlight of the book for me was more how the group handled these various potential catastrophes- and how the Earth folks reacted as well. There are also excerpts from the handbook that the company who sent the team wrote- and frankly, they were hilarious and a quite welcome addition! Bottom Line: A humorous yet heartfelt look at Martian pioneers, How to Mars won me over with its empathetic characters and entertaining storytelling.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Lauren Stoolfire

    I received an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. DNF'd @ 25% How to Mars by David Ebenbach is a book that I was really looking forward to reading. The concept sounded like a lot of fun with a reality show on Mars and all. Unfortunately, it didn't work out for me. I was expecting something much different than I actually ended up with. It reeled me in right away, but when I realized the story was going to primarily focus on an unexpected pregnancy it lost me pretty quickly. The sum I received an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. DNF'd @ 25% How to Mars by David Ebenbach is a book that I was really looking forward to reading. The concept sounded like a lot of fun with a reality show on Mars and all. Unfortunately, it didn't work out for me. I was expecting something much different than I actually ended up with. It reeled me in right away, but when I realized the story was going to primarily focus on an unexpected pregnancy it lost me pretty quickly. The summary description definitely needs to be updated to reflect that aspect.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Hayla

    How to Mars is a quirky story with heart about a surprise pregnancy that brings a group of people together. I think I'd have liked it more if it was marketed more honestly; what I mean by that is that by reading the provided summary I assumed this story would be about a reality show on mars. The pregnancy really is the focal point of the story and having my expectations led otherwise ended up making me much more disappointed with the story than I might have been. There were also some formatting How to Mars is a quirky story with heart about a surprise pregnancy that brings a group of people together. I think I'd have liked it more if it was marketed more honestly; what I mean by that is that by reading the provided summary I assumed this story would be about a reality show on mars. The pregnancy really is the focal point of the story and having my expectations led otherwise ended up making me much more disappointed with the story than I might have been. There were also some formatting problems with the layout of the book and my kindle, that while probably looked really neat on the printed page, made for a less enjoyable reading experience for me with the ebook. Overall, I didn't love How To Mars, but I would recommend it to the right readers. Thanks very much to NetGalley and Tachyon Publications for allowing me to read this book for free in exchange for an honest review!

  12. 4 out of 5

    Monica

    I pre-ordered this book because I know the author, David Ebenbach, and have enjoyed reading his books before. "How to Mars" is easily my favorite of his. With many different writing styles and narrators in the book, the funny and profound mixed to create a great novel. What would it be like to leave nearly everything familiar behind and move for what you anticipate as the rest of your life? Each character had different motivations for their journey. And each experienced the reality of living on I pre-ordered this book because I know the author, David Ebenbach, and have enjoyed reading his books before. "How to Mars" is easily my favorite of his. With many different writing styles and narrators in the book, the funny and profound mixed to create a great novel. What would it be like to leave nearly everything familiar behind and move for what you anticipate as the rest of your life? Each character had different motivations for their journey. And each experienced the reality of living on a different planet in a unique way. Even at my least social moments, I am pretty sure I would want to stay on earth with the community I know and love. But I enjoyed reading about how these characters embraced or rejected the challenge of creating society and family on the surface of Mars.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer Claywood

    This was an excellent book! If hard science scares you, don’t worry about it. The kind of science included here should be easily managed and come as second nature to most of us at this point. I really liked all the aspects of human nature and life this book brought up...nationality, politics, religion, survival, our relationship with technology, relationships with each other, internal needs and desires. Our place in the universe, existence of alien life far different from our own. If you go in E This was an excellent book! If hard science scares you, don’t worry about it. The kind of science included here should be easily managed and come as second nature to most of us at this point. I really liked all the aspects of human nature and life this book brought up...nationality, politics, religion, survival, our relationship with technology, relationships with each other, internal needs and desires. Our place in the universe, existence of alien life far different from our own. If you go in EXPECTING hard science, only being entertained by hard science, only being able to enjoy a thoroughly laid out explanation of just what and how the alien life on Mars exists and is able sort of communicate with humans, or a technical explanation for every single second of humans LIVING on Mars...tamper down those expectations. Instead, look at this as an enjoyable journey into what would happen if a VERY less-than-science group got together and sent some people to another planet. Whatever your worries about this book, THROW THEM OUT. This is a fantastic, entertaining read. There's a little bit of everything for every earthling. And no doubt, future martians.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Jill Jepson

    How to Mars is a charming, thought-provoking, and alternately frightening and funny story of a small group of pioneers who've agreed to settle on Mars with no possibility of return. Woven into this sometimes hilarious, sometimes hair-raising novel are complex questions about how we process grief, build community, and establish what is and what isn't "home." The intriguing premise sets the stage on which complex, interesting characters interact, bond, quarrel, and fall in love. As they grapple wi How to Mars is a charming, thought-provoking, and alternately frightening and funny story of a small group of pioneers who've agreed to settle on Mars with no possibility of return. Woven into this sometimes hilarious, sometimes hair-raising novel are complex questions about how we process grief, build community, and establish what is and what isn't "home." The intriguing premise sets the stage on which complex, interesting characters interact, bond, quarrel, and fall in love. As they grapple with everyday life in the most foreign of environments and with the profound decision they have made never to return to Earth, the characters shift, change, and deepen before our eyes. The result is convincing and satisfying. This wonderful book is a deceptively easy read. It's written in such a lively, simple style, you can easily finish it in a weekend, but after you have, you'll end up thinking about it for a long time.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Carol

    Every person in my house wanted to read this book when it came through the door. How could you not? The idea of being one of the first settlers on Mars...and part of a reality show, no less (because of course) is pretty delicious to consider. By turns, Ebenbach makes this tantalizing material funny, moving, nerve-wracking and tender. Although there's certainly a sci-fi element, a previous reviewer was right on when they said this was ultimately a book about family, and the fears and joys therein Every person in my house wanted to read this book when it came through the door. How could you not? The idea of being one of the first settlers on Mars...and part of a reality show, no less (because of course) is pretty delicious to consider. By turns, Ebenbach makes this tantalizing material funny, moving, nerve-wracking and tender. Although there's certainly a sci-fi element, a previous reviewer was right on when they said this was ultimately a book about family, and the fears and joys therein-- no matter what planet we're on.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Mary

    A group of scientists are sent to Mars for a lifetime of research under the condition that they will be filmed and the footage will be released as a reality show back on Earth. However, it turns out that Mars doesn't have a lot going on, so eventually the reality show is canceled and the scientists struggle to stay focused in their research. This leads to two of the scientists ignoring the restrictions laid out in the handbook and discovering that there is life on Mars after all... just not in t A group of scientists are sent to Mars for a lifetime of research under the condition that they will be filmed and the footage will be released as a reality show back on Earth. However, it turns out that Mars doesn't have a lot going on, so eventually the reality show is canceled and the scientists struggle to stay focused in their research. This leads to two of the scientists ignoring the restrictions laid out in the handbook and discovering that there is life on Mars after all... just not in the place where they would have expected to find it. This was a fun, light-hearted read. I really liked the premise of the book, and the plot was certainly fun and a bit quirky. The chapters from the handbook made me chuckle! I liked most of the characters, but I felt like the only one that really stood out to me was Stefan. I'm not sure I saw a lot of character growth overall, and the plot is dry at times, but I was never bored and enjoyed the book overall. It would be a fun read for anyone who enjoys imagining what a colony on Mars could look like! Thank you to David Ebenbach, Tachyon Publications, and NetGalley for the opportunity to read and honestly review this book!

  17. 5 out of 5

    Raelene

    2.5/5 - I’m honestly quite conflicted on how to review this book. I love the title, the cover, and the description immediately hooked me. But then I read literally the first line of the book, and realized that this book includes an accidental pregnancy. Because I read an advanced copy of this book, I hadn’t read a sample of some of the pages prior to actually starting the book, and didn’t know that this was going to be such a main focus of the book. While the idea of a woman being pregnant while 2.5/5 - I’m honestly quite conflicted on how to review this book. I love the title, the cover, and the description immediately hooked me. But then I read literally the first line of the book, and realized that this book includes an accidental pregnancy. Because I read an advanced copy of this book, I hadn’t read a sample of some of the pages prior to actually starting the book, and didn’t know that this was going to be such a main focus of the book. While the idea of a woman being pregnant while living on Mars is certainly a unique idea, I personally have no interest in reading about pregnancy. I found myself looking forward to chapters focused on Stefan just because there were almost exclusively about him, not Jenny’s pregnancy. Moving on from that topic. This was written in a very unique, intriguing way. There were various POV’s, and sometimes it took a moment at the beginning of a chapter to figure out whose POV you were reading. Chapters from Jenny’s POV were written kind of like a formal document, which I think would probably translate better in a physical book than on a kindle, but I enjoyed the way it was written. I think How To Mars just ended up being very different than what I expected, based on the description. While the handook chapters were a fun inclusion, I was hoping for a bit more about the reality show. This was definitely a unique concept, but unfortunately just didn’t win me over the way I wanted it to. Thank you to Tachyon Publications & NetGalley for the opportunity to read an advanced copy of this book!

  18. 5 out of 5

    Katelyn

    A group of scientists get a one-way ticket to Mars as part of a reality show. Unfortunately as time passes they grow bored as their research doesn’t turn up exciting enough results. Their boredom leads to tension in the group and love affairs, a big no-no accord to the show handbook. After some of the recent talk about doing a reality show on Mars a few years ago, I couldn’t resist this book. Unfortunately the reality show felt forgotten and wasn’t as big of a part of the story as I’d been hoping A group of scientists get a one-way ticket to Mars as part of a reality show. Unfortunately as time passes they grow bored as their research doesn’t turn up exciting enough results. Their boredom leads to tension in the group and love affairs, a big no-no accord to the show handbook. After some of the recent talk about doing a reality show on Mars a few years ago, I couldn’t resist this book. Unfortunately the reality show felt forgotten and wasn’t as big of a part of the story as I’d been hoping. In fact the show is already over by the time the book starts. I think my disappointment in the story was simply a case of the blurb causing me to expect something different than what the story actually is. The story skips between POVs and while I enjoyed getting to learn about characters that way. The story is heavily driven by the characters instead of the plot at times. The handbook for Destination Mars! was quirky and added comedic relief. Unfortunately a lot of the humor just didn’t quite land for me. It felt too wacky and quirky at times and I found myself wanting a more serious take on the topic. While not quite for me in the end since it wasn’t what I’d expected, those who want a more light-hearted take on sending scientists to Mars should check this one out. Thanks to the publisher and NetGalley for the ARC in exchange for a review.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Nikki "The Crazie Betty" V.

    Unfortunately, this book didn’t really stick with me and didn’t really give me what I was hoping for. Being that the story is around 6 people that were chosen to go to Mars as part of reality show, I really thought there would be some sort of reality show antics. But there wasn’t really anything like that. Yes, it turns out Mars is pretty boring. There isn’t much to do except continuing to check your machines and your readouts and then just sitting around and eating or whatever. But we didn’t ev Unfortunately, this book didn’t really stick with me and didn’t really give me what I was hoping for. Being that the story is around 6 people that were chosen to go to Mars as part of reality show, I really thought there would be some sort of reality show antics. But there wasn’t really anything like that. Yes, it turns out Mars is pretty boring. There isn’t much to do except continuing to check your machines and your readouts and then just sitting around and eating or whatever. But we didn’t even get any really good interactions between the individuals either. There wasn’t really any character growth shown and none of the characters were really fleshed out. I don’t even know the personalities of any of the characters except for Stefan. He’s the only one that really stood out and that appeared to have any depth. My favorite parts of the book were the excerpts from the Destination Mars! Handbook and the chapters from Stefan’s POV. But that still wasn’t enough to take this above a 2-star read. Honestly a book that basically 100% revolves around an accidental pregnancy, whether it’s on Mars or not, is just not enough to hold my interest. Releases May 25, 2021 Received from Tachyon Publications via Netgalley

  20. 5 out of 5

    Jimbo

    This is such a cool book. It is a handbook for moving to Mars. It is a reality TV show on Mars. It is the story of six strangers, who go through testing to be chosen for a trip to Mars--paid for by a reality TV show. It is a story of boredom, friendship, love, rebellion, challenges, gremlins, danger, and more. It is heartfelt and funny and carefully crafted social science fiction. It is HIGHLY recommended.

  21. 5 out of 5

    N. Moss

    Charming book that is often funny and more often moving. Yes, it's set on Mars, but a love story is a love story, no matter what planet it's on, and Ebenbach's loving tone and clear delight in his characters and setting make the book such a pleasure to read, and get lost in. Ebenbach is also inventive here, giving us the manual these Marsonauts had to cope with. It just works on so many levels. I loved it Charming book that is often funny and more often moving. Yes, it's set on Mars, but a love story is a love story, no matter what planet it's on, and Ebenbach's loving tone and clear delight in his characters and setting make the book such a pleasure to read, and get lost in. Ebenbach is also inventive here, giving us the manual these Marsonauts had to cope with. It just works on so many levels. I loved it

  22. 5 out of 5

    Kate

    The formatting was a but difficult, but that might have just been the digital ARC. The story was great.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Martin Ott

    A wonderful combination of sci-fi + great character development. Highly recommend this book and writer.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer

    This novel is set on a realistic, near future Mars where a scientific expedition funded by a reality tv show has sent the first six humans to live there, knowing that it will be a one way only mission. When the book begins, it’s been two years since they have arrived and the show has been cancelled a while back due to loss of interest by the viewing public, but the show gets revived when a pregnancy that not only was banned but shouldn’t have been possible occurs. Interspersed with narrative fro This novel is set on a realistic, near future Mars where a scientific expedition funded by a reality tv show has sent the first six humans to live there, knowing that it will be a one way only mission. When the book begins, it’s been two years since they have arrived and the show has been cancelled a while back due to loss of interest by the viewing public, but the show gets revived when a pregnancy that not only was banned but shouldn’t have been possible occurs. Interspersed with narrative from several viewpoints are reports, and excerpts from the very long and strange handbook written for the mission by the company funding it. The author described this in the afterword as a collection of linked short stories, but it felt like a novel to me - a quirky, lovely little science fiction novel that really is more about being human. Because despite the setting, it’s really more about what drove the characters to apply to leave Earth forever in the first place, and how being there has changed them. It’s quietly funny and a touch satirical with the reality tv aspect, but also touches on real emotions and even made me cry at the end. Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for a free copy in exchange for an honest review.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Anita

    Loved this winsome, funny book! I'm usually crabby about First Person Narrative because it is a very difficult thing to carry off - but David Ebenbach is a skilled enough writer to do it - and he doesn't overdo it. Note: halfway through the book, these 'charts' show up and they do require a bit of focus because of the way they're displayed - but what's a little effort, if not to sweeten the reading pot, yes? And they're charming/funny/thought-provoking. It sort of peters out at the end... and I Loved this winsome, funny book! I'm usually crabby about First Person Narrative because it is a very difficult thing to carry off - but David Ebenbach is a skilled enough writer to do it - and he doesn't overdo it. Note: halfway through the book, these 'charts' show up and they do require a bit of focus because of the way they're displayed - but what's a little effort, if not to sweeten the reading pot, yes? And they're charming/funny/thought-provoking. It sort of peters out at the end... and I was going to be mad about that.. but I think it makes as much sense as would a big, drama-filled denouement. After all, Ebenbach is writing about Daily Life on Mars which, as he has it crafted, is just.. Daily Life. Woot! Not going to Spoiler here. But! Make sure you read the Afterword, afterwards ;-) Life really is just as strange as Fiction!

  26. 5 out of 5

    Shamashtika

    March 24th, 2021 *this book and me have been thru a lot..I need some time to reflect before doing any reviewing!” *Update March 30, 2021* This novel encompasses a journey and interestingly, reading the novel itself was a journey. It took me a month to read it, but I read it little by little. By the time I finished, I felt a sense of completion like the characters did. This has to be one of the most creative novels I've read. David put a lot of thought and effort into the structure and delivery of e March 24th, 2021 *this book and me have been thru a lot..I need some time to reflect before doing any reviewing!” *Update March 30, 2021* This novel encompasses a journey and interestingly, reading the novel itself was a journey. It took me a month to read it, but I read it little by little. By the time I finished, I felt a sense of completion like the characters did. This has to be one of the most creative novels I've read. David put a lot of thought and effort into the structure and delivery of each chapter, it was amazing reading it all. A trip to Mars is exciting for both the reader and the chapters in the novel traveling there, however, there are downsides to this trip. What I found most amusing was that when the characters were bored (they were bored quite a bit) I was also bored, in the sense of how they felt. Whatever emotions they felt, I was able to relate to it. The readers can relate to the characters and reflect on their present lives. Also, there are a lot of questions and facts brought up here that stuck with me well after I finished it. Huge thanks to the Publisher or Author for providing an ARC in exchange for an honest review. How to Mars to set to be Published May 25th, 2021

  27. 5 out of 5

    MD

    First, ignore the blurb on the front of the book - this is nothing at all like The Martian. Then ignore the cover image - there is no scene even remotely like this in the book. Ok, I liked this book a lot until just after page 200 when a character undergoes a change that seems to have no explanation other than giving the author a way out of a corner he’d written himself into. I dislike stories that start out as humor and then turn oh-so-serious-and-philosophical. But because I was mostly enterta First, ignore the blurb on the front of the book - this is nothing at all like The Martian. Then ignore the cover image - there is no scene even remotely like this in the book. Ok, I liked this book a lot until just after page 200 when a character undergoes a change that seems to have no explanation other than giving the author a way out of a corner he’d written himself into. I dislike stories that start out as humor and then turn oh-so-serious-and-philosophical. But because I was mostly entertained for 200 pages I’m still giving it 3 stars.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Julia

    This book tried very hard to be something like; I'm just not sure what it wanted to be like. A group of six scientists, three women, three men, won seats on a one way trip to Mars. They'll be the heroes of a new reality TV show. And it is just as boring as it sounds. The book tried to be funny, but it wasn't. The story was mainly about pregnancy and childbirth on Mars. I only gave this 2 stars, because the last few chapters show what the novel could have been like. This book tried very hard to be something like; I'm just not sure what it wanted to be like. A group of six scientists, three women, three men, won seats on a one way trip to Mars. They'll be the heroes of a new reality TV show. And it is just as boring as it sounds. The book tried to be funny, but it wasn't. The story was mainly about pregnancy and childbirth on Mars. I only gave this 2 stars, because the last few chapters show what the novel could have been like.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Kaye

    Entirely enjoyable, this book explores what happens when 6 awkward individuals go to live together in space permanently, and how to make meaning and family with the people you have. I found the end very touching. I did get tired of all the instructions chapters from the Destination Mars handbook, but other than that, this was an unusual treat.

  30. 5 out of 5

    David Taylor

    How To Mars brings to the world of space exploration a blend of day-to-day realism, unexpected humor, and poignancy. Focused on the small crew of space station Home Sweet, and set within the peculiar parameters of our contemporary media landscape, the novel puts us in a unique world with compelling characters. And it took me through a stunning range of scenes where I found myself wondering, ‘How would I react?’ I couldn’t put it down.

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