NASA's 1st Mission to Mars - For What?!!!

Fiction - Science Fiction
278 Pages
Reviewed on 08/24/2022
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    Book Review

Reviewed by Grant Leishman for Readers' Favorite

NASA’s 1st Mission to Mars – For What?!!! by brothers Michael and Danny D’Agostino is a satirical farce that takes a down-and-out, homeless man to become the first human to set foot on the red planet, Mars. Stanley Marczek is a man struggling to survive and avoid his grasping ex-wife who has already taken him for everything he has. Stanley, or Jokesy as he is commonly referred to by his friends, is penniless and living in a tent city with other homeless people in a junkyard on the south side of Chicago. He and his compadres make what little they can by begging at the intersections in the mean city streets. When NASA announces they are looking for a suitable candidate to be the first astronaut to land on Mars, and they will pay well for the privilege, Jokesy sees an opportunity for him and his friends to escape the deprivations of homelessness and poverty. To everyone’s surprise, Jokesy’s scores on the screening tests are phenomenal and before long he and his friends are rolling in cash and, to his horror, preparing for the trip of a lifetime. This is just the start of Jokesy’s journey, though, one that will test his character, laid-back humor, and easy-going approach to life, to the fullest.

NASA’s 1st Mission to Mars – For What?!!! is a genuinely funny story told with wit and imagination by Michael and Danny D’Agostino. Writing good comedy is extremely difficult and this pair has managed to perfectly achieve that delicate balance between satirical farce and stupidity. The characters are all grossly overdrawn but suit the style and the tale exceptionally well. I particularly liked that the authors imbued their lead character Jokesy with a good and caring heart, along with his cutting wit and sarcasm. He never forgot where he came from or the people he shared the hard times with and that allowed the reader to identify and empathize with his, at times, ridiculous situations. I appreciated the bond he created with his Nurse Hannah and especially with the little dog Chichi who was able to keep him sane on the long journey to and from Mars. What was especially pleasing was that the authors used the narrative to pose such a searching question as to why should we spend billions of dollars on a trip to Mars when there is so much here on Earth that needs fixing. That thoughtful and insightful question by Jokesy just gives the book the extra gravitas that it needed. This was a fun read that did indeed have me chuckling along in places with some of Jokesy and his companions' misadventures. For a light read that will surely lift your mood, I can highly recommend this book.

Bryone Peters

NASA’s 1st Mission to Mars - For What?!!! by Michael and Danny D'Agostino is a seriously wacky and insane page-turner. Imagine you are poor, living in a junkyard and sleeping in a cardboard box. One day, you hear about an opportunity that could change your life. NASA is looking for someone to go to Mars and will pay a million dollars before you even leave planet Earth. Imagine you passed all the tests, leading NASA to declare that you were the right person for the job. What would you do with the million dollars before you left on your mission to outer space? After living it up on Earth, would you still want to go? Soon after lift-off, imagine something went wrong - very wrong - with some hilarious results.

NASA’s 1st Mission to Mars - For What?!!! by Michael and Danny D'Agostino takes a traditionally serious subject and removes it from the realm of the scientist and into that of the layman. Dialogue structure is the format of the book. The conversations and turns of events are so hilarious and often bizarre that you will resist putting the book down, let alone believe the insane journey the protagonists take. Part of the story takes place on Earth and the remainder unfolds in space through communication with the annoying mission control. There are some crazy memorable moments like resuscitating a Chihuahua in hibernation when retrieved from a drawer on the spaceship. I sat open-mouthed to see how it would all work out. This book is worth reading again and again.

K.C. Finn

NASA's 1st Mission to Mars - For What?!!! is a work of fiction in the science fiction, tall tale, and humor subgenres. It is intended for mature readers owing to some explicit language and adult themes and was penned by the writing duo Michael and Danny D'Agostino. In this fourth edition of the award-winning space caper, the text has been reworked to fit a mature audience and get down into the gritty, hilarious tale of an ordinary man who becomes the first man on Mars. As Stanley Marczek goes from a penniless tent-city dweller to an interstellar traveler, his arrival back on Earth causes more controversy and tension than even he could have predicted.

When it comes to surreal fiction, the author team of Michael and Danny D'Agostino have got the genre down pat. Right from the off, this is a novel that never minces words, much like the central protagonist himself, and you always know that you’re getting a tall tale told in such straight terms that you could almost believe it was real. The characters only serve to enhance this element, grounded in great humor, witty dialogue, and some wild situations that sound truly wild, until you get to know them. There’s a delightful inner logic to the plot that holds all these crazy events together, and the conviction of the narrative and nods to our current culture and society will keep you smiling from ear to ear throughout the read. Overall, NASA's 1st Mission to Mars - For What?!!! is a recommended read for sci-fi parody fans everywhere.