A funny, poignant, and page-turning debut novel that skewers billionaire-funded space travel in a love story of interplanetary proportions.
Amber Kivinen is moving to Mars. Or at least, she will be if she wins a chance to join MarsNow. She and twenty-three reality TV contestants from around the world—including a handsome Israeli, an endearing fellow Canadian, and an assortment of science nerds and wannabe influencers—are competing for two seats on the first human-led mission to Mars, sponsored by billionaire Geoff Task. Meanwhile Kevin, Amber’s boyfriend of fourteen years, was content going nowhere until Amber left him—and their hydroponic weed business—behind. As he tends to the plants growing in their absurdly overpriced Vancouver basement apartment, Kevin tunes in to find out why the love of his life is so determined to leave the planet with somebody else.
An audaciously original debut from an “immensely talented writer” (Emily St. John Mandel), Girlfriend on Mars is at once a satirical indictment of our pursuit of fame and wealth amidst environmental crisis, and an exploration of humanity’s deepest longing, greatest quest, and most enduring cliché: love.
DEBORAH WILLIS’s last short story collection, The Dark and Other Love Stories, was longlisted for the Scotiabank Giller Prize. Her first book, Vanishing and Other Stories, was named one of The Globe and Mail’s Best Books of 2009, and was shortlisted for the Governor General’s Award for fiction. Her work has also appeared in The Walrus, Virginia Quarterly Review, The Iowa Review, Lucky Peach, and Zoetrope. She has worked as a bookseller at Munro’s Books in Victoria, BC, as a technical writer, and as a writer-in-residence at Joy Kogawa House in Vancouver, MacEwan University, and the University of Calgary. Deborah currently works as an editor at Freehand Books and lives in Calgary with her partner and daughter.
The Dark and Other Love Stories (2017)
Vanishing and Other Stories (2009).