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really liked it 4.00  ·  Rating details ·  214 ratings  ·  42 reviews
Mars showcases a series of unique and twisted universes, where every character is tasked with making sense of their strange reality. One woman will be freed from purgatory once she writes the perfect book; another abides in a world devoid of physical contact. With wry prose and skewed humor, an emerging feminist writer explores post-Soviet promises of knowledge, freedom, a ...more
Paperback, 167 pages
Published March 19th 2019 by The Feminist Press (first published 2015)
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really liked it Average rating 4.00  · 
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Amalia Gavea
‘’Death is typically a European film. The scenes are evocative, the atmosphere and characters charged. But in my case, death took a different form.’’

When you start reading a book and you feel the need to underline entire paragraphs from the very first pages, you know that an exciting reading experience is waiting for you. In the case of Mars by the Bosnian writer Asja Bakić ‘’exciting’’ is too weak a word to describe this collection of short stories by one of the most talented writers in our
Jenny (Reading Envy)
These stories from Bosnian writer Asja Bakic, translated by Jennifer Zoble, run a gamut of speculative and satirical situations (so don't expect Mars as a setting for most of them.) These stories capture a bit of bizarre combined with complex characters but all with a larger commentary on the world. (They reminded me of Julia Elliott (The Wilds) in the way there are elements that sneak up on you and take a story in an unexpected direction.)

I had a copy of these stories from the publisher through
Mar 18, 2019 rated it really liked it
Strange and mysterious settings plague this intensely striking and infectiously readable debut collection of speculative short stories. From a woman who must write herself out of pergatory, to a future world in which all literature and their authors are packed up and sent away to Mars, many of the stories focus on the power of the written word in some fashion, creating interesting and alluring atmospheres. Worlds are upended, relationships are not what they seem, protagonists face personal epiph ...more
Nov 12, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a very well reviewed collection of fantistika from Croatian Asja Bakić that made the Publisher's Weekly best fiction list for 2019. It is the feminist perspective that makes this stick out and I would compare this with Carmen Maria Machado's short stories.
Mar 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Simply extraordinary.
Ronald Morton
It’s basically pure coincidence that I read this book of Croatian speculative short stories immediately after reading Daša Drndić’s Belladonna - I say it’s coincidence as it’s been years since I’ve read Danilo Kiš, literally the only other Croatian author I’ve read, and here I’ve read two new-to-me Croatian authors in the span of two days. Life is funny some times.

This was really good. Not terribly surprising, as I’m only aware of it due to its presence on a few best-of 2019 lists - the same one
Aug 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This slim volume of short stories brilliantly blends elements of horror, feminist thought and science fiction. The tension and pacing of these stories is intense, plus I was propelled from each story to the next and rarely felt myself dragging in reacclimating, a feat many short story collections don’t achieve for me. Definitely my favorite of my recent strange speculative collection reads! Quick, strange, and completely compelling, I highly recommend to you all. ⁣⁣
My favorite stories were Abb
Deedi Brown (DeediReads)
Feb 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: publisher-arcs
All my reviews can be seen at

Rating: 4.5/5

Thank you to The Feminist Press for providing me with an advanced review copy of this book! It’s out March 19th.

I’m not sure where they had me: “short stories,” “speculative fiction,” or “feminist lit.” Because I love all of those things. And I was supremely ~not disappointed~. These were make-you-squint-and-think stories. I carried a pencil with me when I was reading it and underlined or circled a significant portion of the word
Galen Strickland
Feb 06, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Interesting collection stories from a Bosnian writer, none quite the same, yet eerily similar in tone.
Ellie Botoman
Apr 29, 2019 rated it really liked it
my grandmother's folktales got a cyborgian upgrade
Feb 12, 2020 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: short-stories
I should have given up on this sooner than I did but it was such a quick read and the reviews were so positive that I powered through. I'm probably not the ideal audience for this book, stories about future or alternative worlds don't always appeal to me and sci fi usually doesn't but at the same time I think if I'd appreciated the writing I could have handled the subject matter. Asja 5.0, Passions and Heading West were the only ones I liked at all, the latter of which was effective in its simpl ...more
This collection is eerie and wry, very writerly with delicious genre flourishes. Come for the writer stuck in purgatory; stay for the writer exiled to Mars. In between there are cults and doppelgangers, murderesses and clones. Weirdness abounds. Favorite line: "The moon overhead is incredibly close now, enormous, like a nipple wanting to breastfeed my paranoia."
Karl Hallbjörnsson
Good stuff
Weird stories. Sometimes it felt like parts of the narrative were just ... not there? So the stories never really let you settle in. I was occasionally reminded of Olga Tokarczuk.
Nic Figley
Aug 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Reading this is a compulsion. It possesses you easily and I found myself weak and feverish to complete it.

I would devour anything this human writes.
Aug 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Collection of stories which don't, yet do, make sense (in the words of Ellen Elias-Bursac).
What I like most is her oblique style, giving things away with subtle hints, small twists.
Highly recommended.
Aug 16, 2019 rated it really liked it
Bakic dips her toes in multitudes of genres while exploring feminism in a fresh yet twisted way. there is tragedy lacing every story, behind sciences and magics and literature.
Its hard go gauge a collection that is quite small yet whole of its parts, but can only say that it was incredible.
Sean Guynes
Apr 24, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: review-book, 2019
My review of this book is forthcoming in Strange Horizons. An excerpt from the review:

Like recent feminist sff story collections by Kelly Link or Carmen Maria Machado that have had significant appeal across genre and literary fiction markets, Mars is a tour of its author’s twisted imagination, where this hallway leads to death, that one to sex, and sometimes they’re one in the same. While Machado’s Her Body and Other Parties was a major hit—having won or been nominated for more than a dozen sf,

Oct 09, 2019 rated it really liked it
One of the best story collections I’ve read in a long time. The stories are surprising and ingeniously tinker with their speculative premises (a writer isn’t allowed to leave purgatory until she writes her masterpiece; a woman senses something is off with her husband, who keeps feeding her shellfish), but maybe most impressive are Bakić’s endings: they push forward and provide resolution to a question you already had, but then at the last moment seem to open up a side door you didn’t know was th ...more
Paperback Paris
Jun 28, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
—The review below was authored by Paperback Paris Editor, Eliza Namnoum. Read more.

It's safe to say that my literary endeavors do not often bring me either into the realm of short story anthologies or that of Eastern European authors, so the terrain of Asja Bakić’s richly-imagined collection, Mars, was about as familiar as the planet whose name serves as its title. What an apt title it is, too: Every so often, headlines present new findings of the prospect of an inhabitable Mars, of some new bil
This book caught my eye in the New Fiction display at my local library--the marbled green cover is something I'm bound to notice as a person always on the lookout for plant life. While I wasn't in the market for a short story collection, I do try to read a few translated works each year, and this book had been translated into English from the original Croatian published four years ago.

The first story is about writing and the afterlife, and was pretty amusing even if you're not fascinated by the
Carlos Anaya Camarillo
Decent quality of a collection of Sci-fi stories from the Bosnian feminist writer.

I would've never guessed that this was meant to be a 'feminist' science fiction book. I guess it is published by Feminist Press because she is a feminist (?). Bottom line these are good to decent short science fiction stories (2-8 pages) regardless. If you a fan of the Twilight Zone, Outer Limits or the classic Black Mirror you will like these short stories where things are not what they seem and characters have m
Mark Killackey
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
May 05, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Some SFF, some less so, but generally a decent collection. Maybe not to read all in a sitting, but a few would be fine- there's enough variety but also they sit well together to read through several (I sometimes find that author anthologies are too intense, or others read better collected, but this was between those). No story stands out retrospectively as 'read this' but I'll update if I find myself remembering any in particular.
Aug 24, 2019 rated it liked it
Imaginative, wry, speculative stories told in of a blunt writing style that works well for me. I think of these stories as kind of a cross between Kelly Link and the TV series Black Mirror. The first story felt just 'ok' to me until the zing of the last page, and then most of the rest of the stories kept up that zing. My favorites were The Talus of Madame Liken, Abby, Asja 5.0, and The Guest.
Jordan Villanueva
Jan 15, 2020 rated it liked it
The stories in this collection felt reserved, like they didn’t want to make too much of an impact. Entertaining enough, and the translation was very nice, but none of the stories carried the weight I was expecting.
Jan 17, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I have been trying to read more diverse authors in the scifi world, so picked up this volume, by Bosnian author Asja Bakic. I was not disappointed. The stories are odd, disturbing, dark, and creative. Basically brilliant.
Aug 03, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Apr 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Some of the best and most pleasantly and effortlessly startling stories I've read in a long time: Bakić goes on the short list.
Alyssa Staples
3.5 stars. Ideas outshine style in this solid collection that would probably resonate more with writers.
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Literary Horror: Buddy Read for June 2019: Asja Bakić's Mars 11 20 Jul 25, 2019 10:20PM  

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