“Ultimately we don’t really want 10,000 people on Mars
…we want millions.”

Elon Musk

Poets should learn with their eyes, the forms of leaves.
They should know how to make people laugh when all are together.
They should go to see what folks are really like.
They should know about oceans and mountains in themselves,
and the sun and the moon and the stars.
Their minds should enter into the seasons.
They should go among many people in many places,
and learn their languages.
Kshemendra, 11th century

Mars is beautiful, hospitable, inhabitable, fun, adventurous, playful, gorgeous, challenging: home. Mars is not virus laden, alien supervised, deluged by meteorites, shredded by dust-storms, or already inhabited by humans and/or other intelligent lifeforms. Please, enough.


(These two obscenities shut down Mars movies for over a decade)

Be original. What you create has effect. You can inspire teenagers to study science and foster the next generation of engineers capable of solving any number of issues unrelated to either Mars or space:

“I would rather be governed by the first two thousand people
in the Boston telephone directory than by the two thousand
people on the faculty of Harvard University.”
William Buckley, Jr.

Mars will be better settled by people selected randomly from anywhere on Earth, with any amount of training, at any station of life, than by the system worms who have ass-kissed their way through the personality cleanser which passes for higher education in America. International Space University, NASA’s Astronaut Candidate Program, these bottlenecks for character will make Mars boring as hell.

They also make science-fiction boring right now: a fetish for hierarchies and chains of command, a reinforcement of comfortable, predictable, rule-worshiping by-the-book passive personalities — who will not get us anywhere — and an easy-to-write reliance upon danger, threats, and xenophobia — have become staples of science fiction.

(no green women, thank you)

Write literature. Write about people. Write about interesting people who happen to live on Mars. Or plan on going there. Or settling it in a Mars to Stay mission. Write about entrepreneurs who don’t give a damn about NASA, barely remember college, and know how to get things done. Send people who would think it corny to be called astronauts. Make your settlers more interested in painting murals on their hab walls, playing guitar with their children, and understanding Mars than figuring out who isn’t following the manual from Houston. Let Houston’s Starfleet Academy worry about an astronaut driving cross-country in a diaper to assault the wife of another astronaut with whom she was having an affair. We have places to go.

Unacceptable, lame and misleading: “I just wanted to be as accurate as I possibly could. There are, there are a few places that are inaccurate. The biggest place that’s inaccurate is right at the beginning. Um, don’t – don’t tell anybody but if you’re in a dust storm on Mars you’re not even going to feel it. Mars’ atmosphere is less than one percent of Earth’s – so a 150 kilometer per hour wind, would feel like about a 1 kilometer wind does on Earth. It wouldn’t do any damage to anything. Shhhh. […] Most people don’t know how Martian dust storms work. People don’t realize that it’s not like being in a sand blaster and it’s just more dramatic that way, so I just made that concession. I know I’m a liar I just – I just, uh, wanted that more, it’s just more dramatic.”

We only need to move people from the surface of Earth to the surface of Mars. They do not need to do this quickly, with gravity, or in comfort. And they will not need lasers or warp drives to fend off Klingons either, unfortunately (that would be the fun part). Most of the hardware your settlers will need can now be purchased from off-the-shelf commercial vendors. Its use will require only a few team-members have the engineering perspective of an average intelligent building superintendent; your crews do not need to be the most recognized scientists in their fields, they only need to be able to Skype with those who pay for the privilege. Focus on unique characters and heartfelt stories, not teaching “Info”.

(space just isn’t this fun yet…should be, but…let’s settle Mars first…)


Whether you writeThe Merry Wives of Windsorset in a M*A*S*H-like early settlement or teach love for Geology through a reality TV show supposedly set on Mars, share your art. Encourage studios to release under Creative Commons licensing the 3D models used in special effects. Attend Mars Society Conventions, share tips, techniques, perspectives, contacts and opportunities.

Ann Rice on Breaking Into Writing:
Rod Serling “Writing for Television”:
“This sentence has five words. Here are five more words. Five-word sentences are fine. But several together become monotonous. Listen to what is happening. The writing is getting boring. The sound of it drones. It’s like a stuck record. The ear demands some variety. Now listen. I vary the sentence length, and I create music. Music. The writing sings. It has a pleasant rhythm, a lilt, a harmony. I use short sentences. And I use sentences of medium length. And sometimes, when I am certain the reader is rested, I will engage him with a sentence of considerable length, a sentence that burns with energy and builds with all the impetus of a crescendo, the roll of the drums, the crash of the cymbals–sounds that say listen to this, it is important.” — Gary Provost
“Your opening shows great promise, and yet flashy
purple patches; as when describing
a sacred grove, or the altar of Diana,
or a stream meandering through fields,
or the river Rhine, or a rainbow;
but this was not the place for them. If you can realistically render
a cypress tree, would you include one when commissioned to paint
a sailor in the midst of a shipwreck?”
— Horace, Ars Poetica (on ‘purple prose’)
“Be who you are and say what you feel because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.” I ♥! Dr. Seuss

“Sarcasm: the last refuge of modest and chaste-souled people when the privacy of their soul is coarsely and intrusively invaded.” Dostoevsky


“Every single Pixar film, at one time or another, has been the worst movie ever put on film. But we know. We trust our process. We don’t get scared and say, ‘Oh, no, this film isn’t working.'” Lasseter
“I was obliged to be industrious. Whoever is equally industrious will succeed equally well.” Bach

“Be a yardstick of quality. Some people aren’t used to
an environment where excellence is expected.”

“A writer who waits for ideal conditions under which to work
will die without putting a word on paper.”

“Every artist was first an amateur.”

“The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.”

“Do not despise small beginnings.”

“Write more. Do everything else less.”

“Do your work with your whole heart, and you will succeed –
there’s so little competition.”

“Write a screenplay that will change your life.
If you don’t sell it, at least you will have changed your life.”

“The purpose of the writer is to keep civilization from destroying itself.”

“Man will only become better when you show him what he is like.”


“Whatever you can do, or dream you can do, begin it.
Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it!”
William Hutchinson Murray, The Scottish Himalayan Expedition

“Men are failures not because they are stupid, but because they are not sufficiently impassioned.”

“The most powerful entity on earth is a human soul on fire.”

“No tears in the writer, no tears in the reader.
No surprise for the writer, no surprise for the reader.”

“The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena; whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again; who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, and spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement; and who at the worst, if he fails at least fails while daring greatly”.

Woodie Guthrie: “I hate a song that makes you think that you are not any good. I hate a song that makes you think that you are just born to lose. Bound to lose. No good to nobody. No good for nothing. Because you are too old or too young or too fat or too slim too ugly or too this or too that. Songs that run you down or poke fun at you on account of your bad luck or hard traveling. I am out to fight those songs to my very last breath of air and my last drop of blood. I am out to sing songs that will prove to you that this is your world and that if it has hit you pretty hard and knocked you for a dozen loops, no matter what color, what size you are, how you are built. I am out to sing the songs that make you take pride in yourself and in your work.”

The most informed and thorough reviews of Mars movies have been written by
Dwayne Dayand Jeff Faust in The Space Review:

“Mission to Mars”
“The Astronaut Farmer”
“Red Planet”
“We Watch So You Don’t Have To”

Screenwriting Resources and Script Archives:

“A writer who waits for ideal conditions under which to work will die
without putting a word on paper.”