The Martian Child
A Novel About A Single Father Adopting A Son
By David Gerrold
(Forge Books, Hardcover, 9780765303110, 192pp.)
Publication Date: June 2002
A Novel about a Single Father Adopting a Son
Based on a True Story
"Oh. One more thing: Dennis thinks he's a Martian . . . ."
Soon-to-be parents are instructed to "expect the unexpected." Good advice, it turns out. Especially for the anxious or apprehensive parent who is considering adoption.
How can one know about an adopted child?
All David Gerrold knew for certain was that he wanted to be a parent. As a single gay man he thought adoption would be the most direct route to fatherhood. But he soon found out-to both his joy and dismay-that the emotional route to fatherhood was anything but direct. In fact, it was a roller-coaster ride that changed his life forever.
When he first saw the picture of eight-year-old Dennis beaming up at him from the photograph in the adoption book, David knew this was the boy for him.
But these were the facts: Abandoned as an infant by drug-addicted parents. Documented abuse. Shuffled from one foster home to another. Deficit hyperactivity disorder. Ritalin to control his violent emotional outbursts. For his antisocial behavior: Disipramine. The conclusion from experts: Dennis was "hard to place." A polite bureaucratic euphemism for unadoptable. It was a depressing assessment that David could not-would not-accept.
He needed Dennis. And he believed Dennis needed him. It was that simple.
Until the reality of single fatherhood set in.
A searingly honest, funny, moving, and heartfelt portrait of the joys and perils of parenting, The Martian Child is David Gerrold's valentine to the redemptive value of love,in this case a father's love for his son. A son who thinks he's a Martian.
David Gerrold is the Nebula and Hugo Award-winning author of dozens of books for both adults and young adults. He began his career as the precocious author of the teleplay "The Trouble with Tribbles," broadcast on the original Star Trek series and voted the series's most popular episode of all time.
David lives with his son in Northridge, California. And while he admits he no longer believes his son truly is a Martian, in exasperating father-son moments - of which there are many - David believes he still acts like one.
"Charming and funny" - Kirkus Reviews
"[A] very personal account of a middle-aged gay man's adoption of a high-risk eight-year-old boy. Charming and funny, the adopted single dad wins our sympathy." -Kirkus Reviews
"The heart-searing moments are many but never overwritten, thanks to Gerrold's bright, efficient exposition." -Booklist
"Gerrold, a Nebula and Hugo Award winner, deals with being a single, gay parent of a child who insists he is a Martian, a common defense mechanism used by abused and neglected children. The account moves quickly through months of adjustment, doubt, and finally acceptance of a situation that often has the potential for disaster."-Publishers Weekly
"Sometimes parenting can be an encounter with aliens. The Martian Child is based on the author's true story of parenting as a single gay man. In the course of his undertaking, he becomes acquainted with the habits and behavior of an even more exotic creature, the Earth boy. It's a quick read, and a humanizing one." - Bay Area Reporter