**Longlisted for the Scotiabank Giller Prize.
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 attractive Israeli soldier Adam, endearing fellow Canadian Pichu, 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 (and smokes) 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. On screen, Amber competes in globe-trotting, Survivor-meets-Star Trek challenges and seems like she might be falling for Adam. But is that real, or is it just a tactic to keep from being voted off? And since the technology to come home doesn’t exist yet, would Amber really leave everything behind to be a billionaire’s Martian guinea pig? Sure, the rainforest is burning, Geoff Task has bought New Zealand, and Kevin might be a little depressed, but isn’t there some hope left for life on Earth?
An audacious debut from "a dazzlingly smart and strikingly original writer" (Molly Antopol), 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.