About Venus on Mars

two covers

Summer 1971.
A lone spacecraft is on its way to Mars. Meanwhile, Venus Dawson heads toward Pasadena ­­– and back to her job at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, where confidence is high among rocket scientists that the red planet will soon reveal its secrets.

Venus is in no hurry. Her male colleagues make lewd jokes about her, enter her in beauty contests against her will, and encourage her to wear her miniskirts even shorter. So she dawdles as she drives, examining the journal she’s just inherited, written by her Great Aunt Lulu, secretary “with benefits” to a famous astronomer, and a woman who gazed at the red planet through a giant telescope long before women were allowed to do such things.

The clever JPL scientists are certain their new spacecraft will discover evidence of life on Mars, but Venus finds it first – on the pages of her great aunt’s journal. But before she can use this information to level the workplace playing field, a cosmic misstep strands her at Lulu’s old haunt, Lowell Observatory in Flagstaff. Venus must navigate the Victorian era and the space age simultaneously to claim her place in an expanding universe.

In this stylish and edgy novel, author Jan Millsapps deftly teases the female experience out of a history of mostly male astronomers and rocket scientists and tells a mesmerizing story about generations of women struck by the stars.

Three Books in One!

Author Jan Millsapps discusses how Venus on Mars is structured - there's the book, there's a book inside the book, and there's another book outside the book - and she explains why she wrote it that way.

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Augmented Moments

I want to see words flying off the pages, pages flying out of books, until there are no books left that behave themselves as traditional literary forms.

Jan Millsapps

Links inside every edition connect to additional online material that expands passages within the narrative.

Click here to see an active example.



Teaching Guide

Print edition and ebook are available from Amazon.