A not-chosen-for-his-smarts astronaut, John Floyd, upon landing on Mars discovers he hasn't taken enough fuel to come back. Whoops. Fortunately, when he and his robot companion decide to explore, they find a very nice bunch of natives who readily take them in.Thus begins the funny, cute and touching story of attempting to come back home, of why is Mars a desert and how the Earth space program is not really what it seems, of friendship, responsibility and crazy stunts.Marooned was drawn by Tom Dell'Aringa. Off the Web now, but you can buy PDF and (hopefully soon) dead-tree editions.
Tropes found on the surface of Mars:
- After the End: The planet of Mars brought on, or at least hastened, by its inhabitants efforts to avert the catastrophy.
- All Work vs. All Play: John is a goof with Skewed Priorities and a Vitriolic Best Buds relationship with his robot. Lian Fisher is very professional, serious and angsty, and treats her robot sidekick with nothing but kindness (which is reciprocated).
- Aristocrats Are Evil: Combined with Evil Albino - in the pre-catastrophy martian culture albinos used to be treated like royalty. The one we see is a Grand Vizier. Not competent or anything, but still.
- Badass in Distress: The final storyline has the rest of the cast rescue Lian.
- Brain in a Jar: The Baro, with robotic life support units that are as badly designed as anything they built. But that's okay, dying is just returning to the Mother Brain (in an even bigger jar)!
- Cybernetics Eat Your Soul: Possibly in case of the final bad guys, who may or may not have been sociopathic from the very start, but definitely had something cybernetically bad done to them.
- The Ditz: John, but he's still less ditzy than the Baro, whose hat must be hanging on a tree in Cloudcuckooland somewhere.
- Exposed Extraterrestrials: Ril wears a protective suit against duststorms, but otherwise the Martians seem not to bother.
- Glowing Eyes: A Mindstone turns your eyes quite glowy.
- Grew Beyond Their Programming: Robots can do that, turns out, and they gain a lot of disdain for humans in the process. Sometimes to the point of Turned Against Their Masters.
- Higher-Tech Species: Out of the three martian races, the Geborga, enigmatic, scholarly and The Atoners for not preventing the catastrophy.
- Ignored Expert: Doctor Ugofandian in the backstory.
- Latex Space Suit: Apparently Earth standard issue. In flattering blue colour.
- Little Green Men: Ugo's people, although they're also red and pink.
- Mad Scientist: The Baro have it as their hat. Not evil, just ridiculously impractical and really enamoured with knowledge. They're also Totally Radical, for some reason.
- Man Child: John starts like this, though he matures tremendously over the course of the story.
- Multicultural Alien Planet: Mars has three sentient races that we know of. Green Martians tend to be farmers, the Geborga are scientists, although not so proud these days, and the rock people who live in the caves are very, very mysterious and psychic.
- Power Crystal: The Mindstones attach themselves to your forehead, granting you Psychic Powers along with a Power Makeover.
- Power Glows: Mindstone power is very blue and sparkly.
- Power Makes Your Hair Grow: Lian's hair used to be brown and shortish, until she got a Mindstone and it became a veritable mane of a fetching bluish hue.
- Psychic Powers: When a Mindstone attaches to you, congratulations - you can now find a Hearing One and become their Listener. Mostly you'll learn Telepathy and more than a bit of Zen.
- Ridiculously Human Robots: Asimov in personality, but Ugo is a ridiculously martian robot in general.
- Really 700 Years Old: See Robotic Reveal.
- Robotic Reveal: Ugo is a robot, built by doctor Ugofandian for the specific purpose of helping out the survivors After the End.
- Snarky Nonhuman Sidekick: Asimov seems unable to communicate without snark.
- Tin-Can Robot: The robot companions used by Earth space program look like tin cans with expressive screens and bendy mechanical hands. And a single wheel.
- Touched by Vorlons: Lian got chosen by a Mindstone upon arriving. She's now wrapping up her training.