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The Mars One Incident

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This novel is intelligent and imaginative, and pursues a wide variety of currently relevant topics and science fiction subgenres.

The Mars One Incident by Kelly Curtis is an imaginative and entertaining work which stretches its fingers to play with several different subgenres of sci-fi. In this story, Alma Johnson of the military guild is promoted to the rank of captain and is charged with morally compelling missions which examine issues of society, technology, culture, law, and family. Her missions involve interspatial relations and affect human society and its collective of sanctioned individuals referred to as “the twelve”. The issues delved into in this short novel are imagined futures of contemporary problems, marking this as an interesting read which captures complexity and awareness.


The world in which this novel takes place is Earth over 600 years into the future, in what is taken to be a social and environmental utopia. Here, technology is banned, violence is rare, and humans have focused on nature and the arts after what is called the “Great Leap Backwards”, which is suggestive of a previous apocalyptic setting. Humans are ranked according to sociability with social credits or SCs, which serve as a kind of currency and is apparently equivalent to general happiness. This leaves space for a discontented minority of introverts which introduces the idea of a strong but underlying dystopia, and this is explored further through Alma’s missions and her interactions within the military guild. Technology is accepted as a catalyst for violence and secretive behaviour, and yet this is considerably challenged time and again and this in particular holds a strong value to today’s debates regarding social media, personal growth, and the many facets of the wormhole that is the Internet. Rather than take a particular side to arguments, this novel consistently explores all the faces of a debate and hashes into their consequences. 


The writing is simple and unpretentious, although it needs an additional round of editing and proofreading for grammar and typos. The climax of the book also fails to convey any enthusiasm, which is mostly true throughout the second half of the book. The importance conveyed on certain things later on fails to carry any gravity or weight, which is rather inconsistent. The worldbuilding is unequivocally interesting and thought out, but it requires much more explanation than is actually given. Presumably it is to be discussed further in following book segments, and this is related to the ending of the book not being an ending at all but an introduction to the following book. 


The main reason to read this story is for is its ideas rather than its writing. The discussion regarding technology is relevant, even though the specifics regarding the word itself is never delved upon. For instance, technology-free human society uses trams and transfers which is like a global metro, but this is not labelled as tech. The concept of “the twelve” is briefly explained but the interesting notion of life in “the Ethereal” (those outside “the twelve”) is never touched upon. Although the framework of the story is quite interesting, it could still be improved. The details which send this story down a utopian, dystopian, post-apocalyptic, space opera road, expands its breadth of ideas and adds depth to the story. Even though the worldbuilding needs further acknowledgement, the story provides plenty of space for discussing ongoing social problems and possible solutions. Hopefully, the intelligent discussion encountered in this novel will be continued in the sequel or sequels to The Mars One Incident

Reviewed by

Book editor, freelance content writer, and translator with a literature MA. I'm passionate about all kinds of literature and art. I enjoy editing, reading, and writing creative and informative content to the best of my abilities. Originality, insight, and entertainment are priorities for me. #Scifi

Chapter One

About the author

I consider myself a global citizen and always include an array of international characters and languages in my stories. I like the idea of humanity moving toward a common goal, but maintaining our clever and unique identities view profile

Published on August 30, 2019

Published by

50000 words

Contains mild explicit content ⚠️

Genre: Science Fiction

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