Bright and Dangerous Objects

Tin House. Oct. 2020. 240p. ISBN 9781951142100. pap. $16.95. SF
Mackintosh (So Happy It Hurts) presents an intimate portrayal of a woman at a crossroads. Commercial deep-sea diver Solvig learns that she has been short-listed for the Mars Project, a lifetime commitment to leave Earth behind and journey to the red planet. Her partner, James, wants to focus on settling down and beginning a family. Solvig is a very relatable protagonist for many women: she is trying to balance the ambitions of career and the excitement of journeying to Mars with the obligation to start a family and stay close to home. Is the desire to travel to Mars or take that opportunity real or is it just running away, driven by fear?
VERDICT The Mars Project and Solvig’s interest in it provides an exciting backdrop, but the core of the story is in the very human need to balance personal and familial desires. It will appeal to readers who appreciate realistic portraits and asking the question: “What if I just ran away to Mars?”
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