An extraordinary story of how six children became

the first astronauts to go to Mars


With the discovery of a fossil on Mars and the threat of an asteroid heading for Earth, a frustrated American President is forced to reconsider his legacy. He decides to do something big for humanity, and orders the first manned mission to Mars.

Surmounting seemingly impossible hurdles, the maverick scientist Ford Harris discovers how to make it happen. There is one crucial problem: the weight of any ordinary crew would be too great for the rocket to return home. And so Ford proposes a bold new idea – replacing the adult crew with a group of gifted children.

An exciting and fascinating story, featuring beautiful illustrations and informative scientific notes, The Other Things explores our sense of wonder. Are we alone in the universe? How do we make our existence count? And what could still be possible for humankind?

An exciting book for those who love a great story, the universe and everything!

Amazon reviews

Such a simple idea: the tale of how a group of children ended up being the first humans to be sent up in a rocket to Mars. But so well plotted and told, and involving a great cast of interesting and generally appealing characters What's more, there are jokes, informative explanations of scientific matters, and thoughtful consideration of ethical and moral issues. What surprised me most was that the author gets the tone spot on whether he is telling a joke or explaining science or delving into moral choices. It is a remarkable skill that not many have - and it is why the book works so well and will appeal to both teenagers and older people who enjoy a good and uplifting story. Another reason is that the book is full of terrific illustrations, all drawn by the author, Jonathan Dransfield. Given the book's ending, I suspect that he has a sequel in mind. If so, I hope we won't have to wait too long for it.

This is a brilliant (political?) sci-fi story that takes you in head-first in the first chapter. From what's certain to be an apocalypse leading to a decision to recreate the space race of the last century, this story has a perfect balance of tension and humour at the right moments. Some of the jokes are very subtle, and I didn't notice at first but laughed when I imagined the potential meanings, and had to laugh again when I realised it was intended. It does seem to be ever so subtly making a parody of the world we live in, and I just love it. Imagine politics crossed with science, and make it into a drama - this gives you that. The author is clearly scientifically minded, and definitely did his homework - which makes it feel very vivid. At the same time, anyone could enjoy it as it would appeal to a wide audience, I believe, as it is very gripping. I anticipate a sequel!

“This book was gripping from start to finish; also loved the fact that there are great illustrations all the way through- this really adds to the experience. As an avid sci-fi fiend; It is totally my genre; I can't help thinking that it would also make a great film. The characters are really believable and likeable, and the storyline is so imaginative and gripping with quite a lot of tongue in cheek humour... looking forward to Dransfield's second book!”

All illustrations by Jonathan Dransfield

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Jonathan Dransfield was a child when man went to the moon. There was an expectation that the next would be Mars.

He felt that the current crazy schemes, like sending people on a one way trip, was not the way to go and as an architect he is used to solving problems.

The key issue is weight. The biggest problem of a manned mission is getting the crew back off the planet.

Dransfield and his partner Kath have nine children between them and know they can be smart, especially with modern technology, so why not send kids?

Dransfield has created an illustrated book ‘The Other Things’ - a study on how to go to Mars and get some peace and quiet.

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This book is different!

Dransfield has not only written a book peppered with well developed characters and a great story line, but researched the science and technology throughly, giving the book an authenticity and a sense of wonder in what is still possible for mankind.

It has over 90 illustrations giving the story another dimension altogether.