Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “How to Mars” as Want to Read:
How to Mars
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

How to Mars

3.68  ·  Rating details ·  53 ratings  ·  45 reviews
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
Paperback, 256 pages
Expected publication: May 25th 2021 by Tachyon Publications
More Details... Edit Details

Win a Copy of This Book

  • How to Mars by David Ebenbach
    How to Mars

    Release date: May 25, 2021
    In celebration of the release of David Ebenbach's delightfully unconventional HOW TO MARS, we're giving a way a copy of the acclaimed novel ...more

    Format: Print book

    Giveaway ends in: a

    Availability: 1 copy available, 25 people requesting

    Giveaway dates: May 18 - May 25, 2021

    Countries available: U.S.

  • Friend Reviews

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

    Reader Q&A

    To ask other readers questions about How to Mars, please sign up.

    Be the first to ask a question about How to Mars

    Community Reviews

    Showing 1-30
    Average rating 3.68  · 
    Rating details
     ·  53 ratings  ·  45 reviews

    More filters
    Sort order
    Start your review of How to Mars
    Mar 13, 2021 rated it really liked it
    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
    Goblin Reaper
    Apr 20, 2021 rated it really liked it
    “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
    Feb 04, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
    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 ...more
    Jan 26, 2021 rated it liked it
    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 ...more
    Mar 24, 2021 rated it really liked it
    Shelves: arcs
    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
    Lauren Stoolfire
    May 15, 2021 rated it did not like it
    Shelves: sci-fi
    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
    Feb 02, 2021 rated it liked it
    Shelves: science-fiction
    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
    Feb 15, 2021 rated it it was ok
    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
    Jan 26, 2021 rated it it was ok
    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
    Jan 14, 2021 rated it it was amazing
    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.
    Joe Karpierz
    Apr 02, 2021 rated it really liked it
    What if you were a scientist who was presented with the opportunity of a lifetime: a chance to go to Mars and do research on the red planet? What if there was a catch or two, like a) it's a one way trip and b) the mission is going to be the subject of a reality show? Would you consider the proposition? If you were offered a spot on the mission, would you accept it, knowing that you'd never come back to Earth, and that your every move would be scrutinized by not only mission control, but by anyon ...more
    Feb 26, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
    Welcome to Mars, where you can’t have sex because it is not a good idea. No, seriously, don’t do it!

    Fast forward a couple of years and Jenny is preggers.


    Join our six “lucky” scientists as they continue to be bored, talk really slow, be socially awkward and mentally unstable. It’s truly a fun ride on Mars! Especially when all hell is breaking lose and Destination Mars! turns their lives into a television show once again.

    I laughed hard while reading this book. However, I do believe this kind of
    Jan 30, 2021 rated it really liked it
    * I extend my sincere thanks to Tachyon Publications for providing me with this ARC in exchange for an honest review *

    How to Mars was a delightfully fun novel about a group of scientists stuck on Mars after their reality TV show doesn't do as well as planned. A few things are important to note about this novel before reading it: firstly, the author wrote the chapters as mostly standalone short stories. If you are looking for an epic sci-fi over-arching plot, you will not find it here. It reads
    Lori L (She Treads Softly)
    May 16, 2021 rated it really liked it
    How to Mars by David Ebenbach is a highly recommended amusing science fiction tale about an unexpected pregnancy among the scientists on a reality TV show set on Mars.

    After an arduous screening process, six scientists were selected for a one-way ticket to Mars where they would conduct research for the reality TV show following them. The handbook of the Destination Mars! corporation clearly stated repeatedly that intercourse between contestants is prohibited and pregnancy is not allowed. Nonethel
    Donna Bull
    Apr 15, 2021 rated it really liked it
    A fun and enjoyable story about the first human colony on Mars!!! I loved the very plausible idea of a private company putting together a team and sending them to Mars, especially now that we have SpaceX and others doing so well, I can just imagine Elon doing DestinationMars!!! So six candidates: Josh, Jenny, Stefan, Roger, Nicole and Trixie are sent to a pre-made habitat along with monthly supply drops, as well as each person is given the DestinationMars! handbook. The handbook has some fantast ...more
    May 08, 2021 rated it liked it
    Welcome to Destination Mars!, a new kind of reality show. One that was first a hit, then got cancelled and now is back again because, listen to this, one of the astronauts... is pregnant!

    With this premise, I was not really sure what I was embarking myself into. The cover made me think comedy, but the plot could have also been a potential horror story. (Imagine a pregnancy, with all the pregnancy issues... in Mars!) In the end, it was a light-hearted, quirky novel about some kind of smart but at
    Feb 03, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
    Six scientists are selected by the Destination Mars! corporation for a one-way ticket to Mars in exchange for a lifetime of research. The incredible opportunity was clearly worth the absurdly tedious screening process, the constant surveillance edited into a TV show for Earth; it’s even worth following the odd protocols in a nonsensical handbook written by an eccentric billionaire. But what happens when boredom sets in, when tempers flare, and unsanctioned affairs blossom? And what happens when ...more
    Mar 11, 2021 rated it really liked it
    I am genuinely unsure about how I feel about this novel.

    On the one hand, I really enjoyed the originality of a group of people sent to Mars on a one-way trip as part of a Reality TV show. I thought the interactions between the characters with their different opinions, specializations, and interests were fun. I enjoyed exploring the life of isolation on the red planet through the point of view of each person living there. In addition, I was very entertained by the different formats of some chapte
    Mar 01, 2021 rated it it was amazing
    Zany Space Story. The best way to describe this book, really, is that if you like Hitchhiker's Guide To the Galaxy - a perennial favorite among the geek set for decades now that has in many cases transcended into pop culture - ... you're probably going to like this one too. There are quite a bit of similarities, given the hilarious and offbeat humor and even the "guidebook" element of the story. (Though unlike the Adams epic, this one actually includes at least parts of the guide in the story.) ...more
    May 15, 2021 rated it liked it
    How to Mars follows six individuals sent to Mars to participate in a reality TV show called Destination Mars! However the show is canceled when people on Earth realize that watching six people stuck in a compound gets old after awhile...until two of the individuals break the number one rule of the program (no sex) and the first baby is about to be born on Mars.

    This was such and intriguing premise and I wanted to love it but I couldn't get into the writing style. The book is written like a serie
    Aimee (Book It Forward)
    This book had such a cool premise! The details provided reeled me in. I loved that the scientists down on Earth had seemed to think of everything before sending up their "cast" to Mars. Details like having unnecessary organs like an appendix or gallbladder, and wisdom teeth in order to prevent emergencies that may kill the Marstronaughts. Knowing that they would not return, each member of the crew had their own individual reasons for travelling to Mars. One factor that the ground team thought th ...more
    I would like to thank the author and publisher for providing an electronic review copy of this book.

    "How to Mars" by David Ebenbach is a slightly irreverent, sometimes funny, and thought provoking novel about what it would be like to be one of six people chosen for a one-way trip to Mars paid for and featured by a reality television show. No, this is not a story about actual company "Mars One", it is a story about a fictional company called "Destination Mars!".

    The story does have enough twists,
    Jan 31, 2021 rated it liked it
    This was quite a unique conceit, yet one that seems very timely, and strangely (from the afterword) was born of a real-life scheme in 2015. The thumbnail describes a one-way, reality show (funded?) research expedition to Mars, but the left turn (spoilers for the first sentence) comes from the first (forbidden) pregnancy on Mars and the changes that follow in the six person micro-society.

    We get a nice sample of the various points of view, interspersed with the fairly hilarious Destination Mars! h
    Desi Wolff-Myren
    May 08, 2021 rated it liked it
    Thanks to NetGalley for providing a free advance copy of this book.

    How to Mars follows 6 “mars-tronauts” how have been selected for a one-way trip to Mars. These 6 people, a combination of scientists, doctors, and engineers were selected and sent to Mars after a reality show stint that mimicked what life would be like on Mars. The book shows what happens when people stop being nice, and start being real. Just kidding. However, they are being filmed for a reality tv show that helps fund the Mars
    Rebecca Bowyer
    Mar 04, 2021 rated it really liked it
    This was really great fun. A reality TV show about 6 people taking a one-way trip to Mars. One of them gets pregnant, even after they were all strictly forbidden from having sex, and all the men have had the snip. What happens next?

    Some of it's told in first person by the father-to-be, some of it is in report-format by Jenny, the mother-to-be. Then there are third-person sections with the resident engineer who really doesn't like people and has started hearing voices telling him to do questionab
    Shirley Freeman
    The title and cover might put off the non-science-fiction reader, but don't let them fool you. I loved this clever, funny, and dare I say, human book. Destination Mars! has arranged for a one-way trip to Mars for 6 people. Trixie, Roger, Nicole, Stefan, Josh and Jenny won the opportunity of a lifetime when they were chosen by the audience of the Destination Mars! reality TV show. One of the 'rules' they agree to is to get sterilized and to not have sex. In the opening pages of the book, after 2 ...more
    Apr 23, 2021 rated it really liked it
    Six scientists win a reality show competition, and the prize is a one way ticket to Mars. That’s the basic concept of How To Mars, an entertaining and off-beat book. This is not your usual sci-fi novel, no science lessons and no spacewalks. The story is not about the journey, but about how 6 divergent people with no formal training go about the business of settling on Mars, and the screening process that got them selected. It’s humorous, witty and poignant, and if you’re looking for something di ...more
    Mar 04, 2021 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
    Ebook/Science Fiction: I loved The Martian and I was hoping for more with this one. The author did some research with the potential problems of living in an isolated place that you can never leave.
    There was a lot of narrative that was repeated several times. Part of the book was the Handbook that was cute, but unrealistic. There's a reality show aspect to it, but that angle of the book is never really explored.
    Stephan was my favorite character, but his future is never told. The ending goes reall
    Randal White
    Feb 09, 2021 rated it liked it
    Shelves: fiction, netgalley
    A group of scientists is sent to Mars, on a one-way ticket, as participants in the ultimate reality show. Rather implausible, as the public gets to vote on who gets to go. As you might expect, things start out good, but as time goes on, people start going stir-crazy. Personality conflicts ensue, a surprise pregnancy occurs, and a possible undetectable in the normal way Martian life form interferes. Taken as a form of comedy, the book is entertaining.
    Jasmin Brooks
    Mar 26, 2021 rated it really liked it
    I really enjoyed this. How to Mars is not a typical narrative with a steady A to B to C sequence or singular POV. It's all the better for it. The story isn't the point as much as is the concept of what it means to be a human on earth. Take away earth and everything you know, are we still the same creature? Ebenbach manages to make you think and laugh at the same time and those are my favorite kinds of books. ...more
    « previous 1 next »
    There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

    Readers also enjoyed

    • Unity
    • The Hunting Wives
    • The Stolen Kingdom
    • The Night Always Comes
    • We Are Satellites
    • Jillian vs Parasite Planet
    • People Like Her
    • Safe and Sound
    • The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook
    • Anna
    • The Office of Historical Corrections
    • The Shadow of the Gods (The Bloodsworn Saga, #1)
    • Silvers Hollow
    • Girl A
    • People We Meet on Vacation
    • Slonim Woods 9: A Memoir
    • Winter's Orbit
    • Blood and Treasure: Daniel Boone and the Fight for America's First Frontier
    See similar books…
    David Ebenbach is the author of five books of fiction, two poetry collections, and a non-fiction guide to the creative process. His books have won numerous awards, including the Drue Heinz Literature Prize and the Juniper Prize, and David has a PhD in Psychology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and an MFA in Writing from the Vermont College of Fine Arts. A native of Philadelphia, David now ...more

    Related Articles

    If you've got an overflowing Want to Read shelf of books that you keep meaning to get to (one day!), you're in good company. Our company, that...
    22 likes · 3 comments
    No trivia or quizzes yet. Add some now »
    “There is meaning in absence just as there is meaning in presence. In fact, there may be more meaning in absence. The only difference is that you have to figure out what it is.” 1 likes
    “What do you think it means?" she says in a low, conspiratorial voice.
    "What do YOU think it means?" I say. It's an old psychologist move, that one.”
    More quotes…