Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Martian Child: A Novel about a Single Father Adopting a Son” as Want to Read:
The Martian Child: A Novel about a Single Father Adopting a Son
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

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

3.78  ·  Rating details ·  1,208 Ratings  ·  186 Reviews
Gerrold, a science fiction writer from California, adopts a son who has been classified as "unadoptable" due to his violent emotional outbursts resulting from abuse. Another side-effect of his turbulent early years is that he believes himself to be a Martian. Gerrold begins the long, involving work of trying to earn the acceptance of Dennis, a hyperactive eight-year-old wh ...more
Audio CD, 0 pages
Published April 1st 2006 by Blackstone Audiobooks (first published June 1st 2002)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Martian Child, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The Martian Child

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
Rating details
Sort: Default
Jul 11, 2009 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 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 13, 2012 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
Jul 08, 2010 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
Feb 25, 2012 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.
Feb 08, 2008 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.
Nov 26, 2011 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
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
Sep 20, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I listened to the Audible audiobook version of this work. David Gerrold is an emotional guy and he writes a darn good "feel good" story especially when that story is a true story. I'm not always a fan of his work but this was a grand slam. This is the story of his adoption of a boy named Dennis (who changed his name to Sean after the adoption was finalized). This story definitely has some funny moments. Scott Brick was a good choice for the narrator. I don't think a better one could have been se ...more
Mar 16, 2011 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
Apr 22, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
it is amazing because its a true story
Carole O'Brien
Lovely little story to be honest, about a little boy who thinks he is a martian and how his adopted dad deals with that, to be honest I think it is a sweet story, that i will read again and again.
Lis Carey
Jan 07, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobooks, fiction
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
Laura Chazarín
Aug 02, 2015 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,
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
Jane Gehr
I fell in love with the movie version before I read this, so my perspective is probably skewed, but I thought the film had a lot more heart.
Apr 20, 2012 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
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 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
Oct 02, 2008 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.
Jun 17, 2007 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.
Apr 09, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Quick and fun read, definitely predictable, but full of humor and genuinely sweet moments about a single man who wants to be a father, and a complicated little boy who wants a dad.
J.K. Grice
Oct 05, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
A good read about a dad and his out-of-the-box son.
Marshall Wayne Lee

This is a delightful read and heartwarming. Not long and very sweet.

however, I don't think this is particularly good writing. I felt that I was sitting at the table while Gerrold told me the story of adopting a child. Lots of telling.
Apr 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Another great book by a great author.
Apr 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Audiobook. Thoroughly enjoyed this book. So much so, that I then watched the 2007 movie starring John Cusack and Bobby Coleman. If you are looking for a love story ... I recommend both.
Rob Feraco
Mar 08, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Emotional, Funny, heart warming tale of a man adopting a somewhat difficult child.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Secret Thoughts of an Adoptive Mother
  • The Waiting Child: How the Faith and Love of One Orphan Saved the Life of Another
  • Forever Lily: An Unexpected Mother's Journey to Adoption in China
  • Reasonable People
  • Two Little Girls: A Memoir of Adoption
  • In Their Own Voices: Transracial Adoptees Tell Their Stories
  • The Russian Word for Snow: A True Story of Adoption
  • China Ghosts: My Daughter's Journey to America, My Passage to Fatherhood
  • The Baby Thief: The Untold Story of Georgia Tann, the Baby Seller Who Corrupted Adoption
  • Front of the Class: How Tourette Syndrome Made Me the Teacher I Never Had
  • Adoption Nation How The Adoption Revolution Is Transforming America
  • The Red Thread: An Adoption Fairy Tale
  • When Katie Wakes
  • Enough, Dammit: A Cynic's Guide to Finally Getting What You Want out of Life
  • Press Enter
  • Conduct Unbecoming: Gays and Lesbians in the Us Military
  • Wanting a Daughter, Needing a Son: Abandonment, Adoption, and Orphanage Care in China
  • A Single Square Picture: A Korean Adoptee's Search for Her Roots

Fiction Deals

  • Mercy Among the Children
    $14.99 $1.99
  • Take Me with You
    $4.49 $1.99
  • The Diver's Clothes Lie Empty
    $7.49 $1.99
  • The Traveler's Gift: Seven Decisions that Determine Personal Success
    $9.99 $1.99
  • The Little Giant of Aberdeen County
    $9.99 $2.99
  • Her Sister's Shoes (Sweeney Sisters #1)
    $3.99 $1.99
  • The Rock Harbor Collection: Without a Trace, Beyond a Doubt, Into the Deep, Cry in the Night, and Silent Night (Rock Harbor #1-5)
    $5.99 $1.99
  • A Thousand Tomorrows (Cody Gunner, #1)
    $7.99 $1.99
  • Shoeless Joe
    $8.99 $1.99
  • Death in Venice
    $7.99 $1.99
  • Blonde
    $9.99 $1.99
  • Ever After (Lost Love, #2)
    $7.99 $1.99
  • Rescue
    $9.99 $2.99
  • The Lords of Discipline
    $17.99 $1.99
  • The Sheltering Sky
    $10.99 $1.99
  • Gena/Finn
    $13.99 $1.99
  • A Charles Martin Collection: When Crickets Cry, Chasing Fireflies, and Wrapped in Rain
    $14.99 $3.99
  • Remember Tuesday Morning (9/11, #3)
    $8.99 $1.99
  • The Scavenger's Daughters (Tales of the Scavenger's Daughters #1)
    $3.99 $1.99
  • Under the Udala Trees
    $9.99 $2.99
  • The Streets Have No King
    $9.99 $2.99
  • The Passion
    $11.00 $1.99
  • The Language of Hoofbeats
    $4.99 $1.99
  • Not Perfect: A Novel
    $5.99 $1.99
  • The Beach Street Knitting Society and Yarn Club
    $9.99 $2.99
  • The Seekers (Kent Family Chronicles, #3)
    $17.99 $1.99
  • Don Quixote
    $9.99 $1.99
  • The Essex Serpent
    $10.99 $1.99
  • The Storycatcher
    $9.99 $2.99
  • Domestic Violets
    $9.24 $1.99
  • The Devil Wears Prada
    $11.99 $1.99
  • Half a Heart
    $4.99 $2.49
  • The Keeper of Secrets: A Novel
    $9.24 $1.99
  • A Garden of Earthly Delights (Wonderland Quartet, #1)
    $9.99 $1.99
  • The Golden Notebook
    $11.99 $2.99
  • Life of Christ
    $11.99 $1.99
  • The Good Mother
    $5.74 $1.99
  • The Palest Ink (Tales of the Scavenger's Daughters Prequel)
    $4.99 $1.99
  • Go: A Coming of Age Novel
    $4.99 $1.99
  • As Close to Us as Breathing: A Novel
    $9.99 $2.99
  • The Child in Time
    $8.99 $2.99
  • Lowcountry Stranger (Sweeney Sisters Series Book 2)
    $2.99 $0.99
  • The Man in 3B
    $7.99 $1.99
  • Save Me
    $9.99 $2.99
  • Better Nate Than Ever (Better Nate Than Ever #1)
    $7.99 $1.99
  • Time Bomb
    $9.99 $1.99
  • Heat and Light: A Novel
    $8.99 $1.99
  • Reunion
    $9.99 $2.99
  • Stay Up With Me
    $5.99 $1.99
  • The Loser
    $10.99 $1.99
  • The Love Affairs of Nathaniel P.
    $9.99 $3.99
  • The Map and the Territory
    $8.99 $2.99
  • You Know Me Well
    $7.09 $2.99
  • Father's Day
    $3.99 $1.99
  • Skeletons at the Feast
    $11.99 $1.99
  • Even Now (Lost Love, #1)
    $7.99 $1.99
  • Sackett's Land: The Sacketts (Sacketts, #1)
    $5.99 $2.99
  • This Bright Beauty
    $4.99 $1.99
  • Intervention (An Intervention Novel)
    $9.99 $1.99
  • Star Sand
    $3.99 $0.99
  • Secrets of Nanreath Hall
    $11.74 $1.99
  • The Sugar Queen
    $11.99 $1.99
  • The Birth House
    $9.49 $1.99
  • Open City
    $12.99 $1.99
  • Out of Sorts
    $5.99 $0.99
  • The Hearts of Men: A Novel
    $9.99 $1.99
  • Revolutionary Road
    $13.99 $1.99
  • The Blessings
    $9.99 $2.99
  • Choke
    $14.99 $2.99
  • Bachelor Girl
    $11.99 $1.99
  • The Wednesday Sisters
    $11.99 $1.99
  • Allie and Bea
    $4.99 $1.99
  • After the War Is Over: A Novel
    $9.99 $1.99
  • Shanghai Girls (Shanghai Girls #1)
    $12.99 $2.99
  • What Belongs to You
    $9.99 $3.99
  • The Odds of Loving Grover Cleveland
    $3.99 $1.99
  • The History of Bees: A Novel
    $13.99 $1.99
  • The Love Goddess' Cooking School
    $10.99 $2.99
  • All the Summer Girls
    $8.74 $1.99
  • The Girl From the Train
    $9.99 $1.99
  • Bitter Winds (Tales of the Scavenger's Daughters, #3)
    $4.99 $1.99
  • If I Loved You, I Would Tell You This
    $14.99 $1.99
“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.”
More quotes…