This podcast is a hidden gem of an audiodrama. I haven’t heard much about it but then maybe I just don’t run in the right circles on Twitter. Anyway, the first season of Mars 2060 focuses on the first set of astronauts to set up a habitat on Mars and study the planet. A second ship filled with supplies and more people comes about a year later. The story is told through a series of interviews by two people, Jenna and Megan. Megan is on Earth, interviewing the team on Earth and those who returned with the second ship when it went back to Earth. Jenna is on Mars and interviews both those from the first and second crews.
At first everything was going fine for the first crew then people started getting sick. A lot of people were falling ill but they couldn’t work out what was causing the illness and they couldn’t contain it. This happened when the second ship was on it’s way to Mars but wasn’t quite there yet. The sickness had to be contained and they needed to find the reason everyone was getting sick before the second ship landed. The second ship had orders that they weren’t to disembark if the sickness was not contained and they had to turn around and go back to earth.
“Mars is unfriendly. We are at work here everyday.”
At first the major worries are psychological, such as anxiety and depression, but they had psychologists on Mars and they found ways to deal with this adequately such as with music or in extreme cases with medication but medication was not used a lot. These people were chosen to be able to withstand a lot of mental and physical strain. They were well trained and eager to do their jobs.
Some people were up there to search specific rock formations on Mars. The ship is divided into people who believe the rock formations are made by aliens and those who think there is either not enough evidence for that or they believe the formations are naturally made. The divide is not extreme, but it is there.
There is an interesting unfolding of the story through the interviews. Slowly with each interview more and more is learnt by the listener but at the same time more and more questions are raised. The interviews make you feel part of the crew and you feel what they feel as they explain the different reactions they had to landing and living on Mars. For example, there is an underlying questions of whether or not there were once aliens on Mars. If there was what happened to them? Did someone make the rock formations? And then there is the sickness that takes over the crew. How are they getting sick and what can be done to stop this sickness before it takes over the entire crew?
I listened to this in one go, so I don’t have a standout episode for you today because it seemed to me to be just one story. The voice recording is outstanding, the story telling is realistic and there are recognisably human moments even in such an inhuman place as Mars. The story quickly descends into a tense, mesmerising tale, told tantalisingly slowly, giving bits and pieces of the story before changing track and focusing on something else. This way of storytelling can sometimes be frustrating but all of the storylines in this audiodrama are so interesting you don’t mind being pulled from one storyline to another. It ends on a cliff hanger, but luckily I have been told there will be a second season. I cannot wait to see where this story takes me, it’s wonderfully told and everyone involved in the making of this podcast should be very proud of what they have produced. Loved it!
“The option of quitting was taken off the table the day we launched.”
5/5 red and dusty stars.