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The Martian Child: A Novel about a Single Father Adopting a Son

3.75  ·  Rating Details  ·  1,015 Ratings  ·  164 Reviews
In 1995, David Gerrold finalized an adoption process that would end up changing his life forever. As he would discover, however, there were many times ahead when the joy of single fatherhood would be tempered by a single profound thought: What the hell was I thinking? "The Martian Child is a novelized portrait of Gerrold's sometimes exhilarating and sometimes exasperating ...more
Audio CD, 0 pages
Published April 1st 2006 by Blackstone Audiobooks (first published June 1st 2002)
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Jul 11, 2009 Bobby rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
David Gerrold calls his book a novel. I would like to suggest that he wrote a memoir instead. He definitely touched me. I know this kid, his martian child. I know this kid well. I spent 16 years of my life, more actually when adding volunteer work and additional contacts, with this kid. My martian came in all shapes and sizes and displayed multiple behaviors, but I cared for this kid so tenderly. While I can provide individual names and tell kids stories, I must admit I loved collectively, and t ...more
Jun 04, 2007 Trin rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This book was incredibly frustrating. I stumbled across it at the library and picked it up because I’d heard that it’s being made into a movie starring John Cusack. I was also somewhat intrigued by the premise, which is based on the author’s own life: a single, gay sci-fi writer decides he wants to adopt a kid, but the boy he becomes committed to is very troubled and thinks he (the boy) is a Martian. My main worry going in was that it was going to be too saccharine (favorable comparisons to Tue ...more
Jun 18, 2012 Karl rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone
David Gerrold, perhaps best known for writing the classic Star Trek episode "The Trouble with Tribbles," gives us a fictional account of his true life adventures as a gay, single father adopting a special needs child.

At times both funny and sad -- but heart-warming throughout -- "The Martian Child" is a fabulous read. Gerrold's writing is simple and direct, even spartan at times. The first-person narrative is conversational and confessional, and Gerrold draws you into the story like you're an o
Laura V.
Es una experiencia sobre el deseo de ser padre y poder lograrlo. David se ha preparado de todas las maneras posibles para este hijo que va a tener. Dennis fue calificado por sus cuidadores como inadoptable. A los ocho años ya fue dado por perdido y ya nadie espera nada de él.

Cuando Dennis y David se encuentran, empieza a forjarse una familia. Una familia hermosa. David se asegura de que Dennis se sienta querido y seguro y peca de confiarse en que solo él debía prepararse constantemente. Dennis
Aug 01, 2008 Leona rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed this book - I read it in one night! I was thinking as a therapist as I read, and was amazed at how some of the "professionals" treated this poor boy, while his new dad had so many good ideas and instincts, and insights. Different from the movie of course, but I don't think they changed too much. The book was nice because it followed the two of them for a longer period of time.
Mar 19, 2012 Kristin rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I haven't read a book so quickly in a long time. This was a beautifully written novel about the author's real life experience of adopting an eight-year-old boy. Mostly, it was a story of two people who needed love and family and their journey together. More touchy-feely than most things I read, but I loved it.
Nov 26, 2011 Guillermo rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"Today, I recognize that being human is the greatest adventure of all. And being a parent is the best part of that adventure," David Gerrold writes in the afterward of the Kindle edition of The Martian Child - an autobiographical piece about his adoptive son. "[A]nyone who hasn't experienced that hasn't finished the job of learning how to be human."

I caught the film adaptation Thursday morning, staying up until three to watch it - after baking pies all Wednesday night for Thanksgiving, I needed
Jul 08, 2010 Minh rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
The Martian Child was disappointing to me mostly because of the way it was presented. A few of the labels I've seen have presented this novella as the story of a single gay father adopting a child who believes he's from Mars.

The problem was having this expectation in my head, there was absolutely nothing in the novel about his sexuality, in fact the entire novel was skimpy on details. The #1 omission for me was the loss of the entire first year of their lives together, simply jumping to an alre
Mar 16, 2011 Luke rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
It certainly seemed like it would be good, but I was tired of it halfway through and the end, while touching, just wasn't narratively powerful at all. The author seems addicted to bad jokes (and, if it wasn't just me, likes to repeat the same ones).

The storytelling tricks in the second half, like the narrator talking to his old self, or the narrator talking to the supercomputer character in a book he'd written are ham-fisted at best.

But the heart of the story is immensely sweet, and the first h
This semi-autobiographical novella is an interesting study of child (and adoptive father) psychology. It is also insanely cute.
The narrator adopts Danny, a child who believes he's from Mars. The father questions Danny's origin as the kid starts displaying many "talents". Written as a memoir, The Martian Child made me ponder about adoption, and what it feels like to adopt an abandoned, unwanted hyperactive child with a crazy imagination. (Or a martian).
The movie is different from the book, but
Laura Chazarín
Aug 07, 2015 Laura Chazarín rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Es un libro bastante corto, pero tierno y reflexivo. La historia de cómo un escritor lleva a cabo su deseo de adoptar a un niño, comienza a adaptarse y a descubrir cosas acerca de la paternidad y la familia, y la manera de aceptar y amar a un niño que asegura venir de Marte.
Citas Favoritas:
Lo más difícil de la adopción es que tienes que pedirle a alguien que confíe en ti para dejarte a un niño.
—Después de lo que este pobre pequeño ha tenido que pasar, si quiere pensar que es un marciano, yo
Lis Carey
Jan 10, 2014 Lis Carey rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, audiobooks
This is a fictionalized account of David Gerrold's adoption of his son, at the time an eight-year-old boy who had been "in the system" since birth, and had averaged one placement a year over that time.

Having decided to adopt a child, and having cleared the first challenging hurdle of being approved as a potential adopter, Gerrold attends an event that sounds rather like a setting he's more familiar with--a science fiction convention, but with a really, really different focus, both in programming
If you go into this book expecting science fiction you're going to be disappointed. If you pick up this book expecting a powerful expose on the trials and tribbleations [sorry, I just couldn't resist] of the adoption process you're going to be disappointed. This book is not science fiction and it's not non-fiction. This is a fictionalized biography with more in common with Augusten Burroughs than Edgar Rice Burroughs. David Gerrold relates the process he went through to adopt his son and how he ...more
Apr 21, 2012 Dana rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is my second read through of this book and I think it is one of the few novels that I find the movie to be more interesting (although I'm disappointed in some of the changes that movie made to make it more PC). However, Martian Child is a unique little story that is based on one mans journey through his adoption of his son... who thinks he's a Martian. It's quirky and its cute and the writing flows. Twice I found myself underlining passages that I liked or that made me laugh out loud and if ...more
Lacey Louwagie
Knowing that this book was based on the author's actual experiences of adopting an older boy as a single father, I admit that wanting to know how much was "true" and how much was "made up" distracted me through a lot of the listening. Luckily, Wikipedia cleared it up by explaining that most of the experiences were true, but that the thread about the adopted boy believing he was a Martian was fabricated. Thank you, Wikipedia! Now I can move on.

I wanted to know because, honestly, this book works b
Jamie Collins
This rather odd book calls itself a novel based on a true story, and it reads mostly like a memoir about Gerrold’s adoption of an abused, troubled child. Gerrold is a single gay man, a science fiction novelist and screenwriter who is most famous as the writer of one of the most popular Star Trek episodes.

The child he adopts claims occasionally to be a Martian. At first the narrator shrugs at this, understanding it to be a coping mechanism. Then the book segues into weirdness when the narrator st
McKenzie Richardson
This is a cute book. I wanted to read it, because I loved the movie version of it so much. After reading it, however, I was a little disappointed in the movie for making David's character a widower when in actuality he was a gay man. I think the movie really missed out on some important plot pieces by excluding this.

One of the things I loved about Gerrold's novel is that he is so open about his sexual orientation, which I know can be hard for many people even in today's culture which is more ac
Jan 23, 2010 Lisa rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Well, first of all my edition said on the front cover that the author was a Nebula award winner. So I thought it was sci fi. It isn't, and I guess judging from the subtitle it isn't nonfiction either? This is a nice memoir that mostly sounds true about a guy who adopts a difficult little boy, gives him the love he needs, and forges a family. Very sweet. But the prose is workmanlike at best -- it has a mass-market magazine feel that gets old in book form (very reminiscent in tone to "I'm Hosting ...more
I have had this book for sometime. I got it on sale at Borders before they closed. I picked it up a few times but never really wanted to read it.

This is a novel about a single man who decides that he wants to adopt a child. It's a semi-autobiographical tale about the journey he goes through in order to provide an abused/neglected special needs child a warm and welcoming home. Is it an easy journey....nope....far from it. There are ups and downs.

I was surprised when I went through the reviews an
Dec 30, 2014 Shazia rated it it was ok
I chose this book on a whim. It sounded somewhat intriguing, but not my typical choice. I guess this is a know thyself moment. This book was not for me. There are definitely some good moments and sequences, but overall, the author seems unwilling to grapple with the hard parts of the story - describing hard moments, but then airily resolving them without detail. Moreover, the vignettes are extremely disjointed, and the piece about the child being a martian are jarringly out of place. The Martian ...more
Allan Dyen-Shapiro
This book won the Hugo, Nebula and Locus Awards. You'd expect it to be a great science fiction book from this noted science fiction author. But it isn't. It's a semi-autobiographical tale of a gay man who adopts an abused, special needs, neglected child. It's a book infused with Gerrold's humor, informed by the research he undertook in the process of the adoption, and graced by his talent at writing a very touching story. He doesn't shy away from his mistakes; he doesn't gloss over how tough it ...more
Oct 06, 2008 Nancy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: adults, adoptive parents, older children who were adopted
Shelves: modern-writers
I wanted to read about adoption and children with psychosis. Instead I found a short novel about a neurotic adoptive parent (who wouldn't be) and what it means to love and raise a kid. The screen play (movie) was very different and played well, but the book has more of an emotional insight into my original goals: adoptiona and psychosis only for the parent not the child.
Phillip Vincent
Apr 30, 2015 Phillip Vincent rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2015
A heart warming book full of humor and good parenting. Not at ALL what I was expecting when I downloaded this from the sci-fi section of scribd. I kept waiting for the sci-fi, hahaha.

This book made me a better teacher. It gave me perspective. True story: I listened to the last quarter of this book on my hour long commute to work this morning and today, saw one of my students in a whole new light. He was very upset, claimed the cps worker was trying to take him away. I didn't even try to argue,
Jun 27, 2007 martha rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Based-on-a-true-story book about a gay sci-fi writer adopting a troubled kid who thinks he's a Martian. Wobbled between genres: straight non-fictiony, then he begins to legitimately ask if his son could be a Martian, then suddenly reverts to navel-gazing on the nature of family. I liked the anecdotes but not the inconsistency. Fast read.
Oct 21, 2015 Leah rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Unique book on one man's experience adopting a child through the foster care system. I had the opportunity to meet the author and got some great information that wasn't in the book. It's really hard to give a star number to someone's personal story but I did my best. At times it was hard to understand where David was going and his thought seem jumbled like he was writing more of a diary entry where he didn't feel he needed to write down everything because some things he could remember. Overall t ...more
Donna Hutt Stapfer Bell
Know the feeling

This is probably one of the first books involving adoption that wasn't a treatise on 'how to be the best parent ever' or how not to off yourself in the process. Some of the framing rings so true, it's uncanny (but then I spent two years in the same system he did before adopting from Taiwan in 2009), then he spins off wondering if he truly has a child like any other...or a total alien. As a memoir, it's charming. As a fellow AP, I would have liked more comiseration material. (My k
Diana Juárez
Jan 22, 2015 Diana Juárez rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A mi parecer, la clave para que este libro tuviera 4 estrellas, fue el no esperar mucho de él.
Empecé a leerlo sin altas expectativas, o sea, era una buena historia, pero no esperaba tampoco gran cosa.

Aquí viene el GRAN PERO... al estar leyendo y pasar las páginas, las palabras me fueron envolviendo, cautivando; y entre más leía más me estaba encantando.
La historia de Dennis es muy triste, pero cuando encontró un hogar con David rodeado de cuidados, de comprensión y por supuesto de muchísimo amo
David Gerrold, a science fiction writer, decided he wanted to become a father. Single and gay, he chose to adopt through the California Foster Care system. One day, while looking through a book of adoptable children, he came upon a picture of Dennis, a troubled young boy that the social workers had labeled unadoptable. Dennis was convinced he was a Martian, got into fights with other kids, and destroyed property. But David was ready to take him on. Together, they built a family.

This was a great
I was a bit wary about reading this because I am not a fan of overly emotional, heartwarming tales of love and suffering and ultimate triumph. But I found this book to be emotional without being overwrought. The author writes beautifully and has some pretty great descriptions.

However, it seems a bit shallow. I felt like we were just skimming the top of the story. It's a complex topic, but it seemed the author was telling us about how difficult adopting a troubled child was or he had been told/r
Alien  Citizen
The book is a very different story from the movie. The end of the book is somewhat different in style, I thought, a kind of stream-of-consciousness journey inside the mind of the author as he struggles to do the right thing. I wish I could have felt more sympathetic for him at that point but - really - who leaves a giant spaceship in their house with an eight-year old (or was it 7?) and expects them not to touch the thing? There were a lot of really hard situations that he had to deal with build ...more
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“know a lot of people who hide out in fantasy because reality is too hard to cope with [...] Fantasy isn't about escape; it's a survival mechanism. It's a way to deal with things that are so much bigger than you are. So I think fantasy is special, something to be cherished and protected because it's a very fragile thing and without it, we're so defenseless, we're paralyzed” 6 likes
“There's this thing that writers talk about--where the characters take on a life of their own and they run away with the story, taking it off to places the author never intended to go. That's what happened here.

Except, that's not what really happens. That's one of the stories that writers tell about storytelling.

What really happened was that I sat and wrote and had a conversation with myself--a conversation that wasn't possible, unless I let part of myself pretend it was someone else--a disembodied voice in the typewriter. And so I typed. I typed everything I felt and feared and worried about, everything I thought I knew, and everything else as well, the much larger domain of what I didn't know and didn't know how to figure out.

Because this, at last, was a place where I could talk to somebody about it all--and if that somebody was really me, that was okay too, because I was the guy who had to figure it out anyway. So I had all these conversations with myself--and these different parts of me talked into the keyboard. And talked and talked and talked.”
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