Sarah Elliot, an astronaut leading a colonization mission on Mars, dies after giving birth to the first human being born on Mars. 16 years later, her son Gardner travels to Earth in hopes of experiencing the planet for the first time, meeting an internet friend Tulsa, and uniting with his long-lost father. Unfortunately, he can only survive on Earth for a limited time due to spending his entire life accustomed to Mars' gravity.
- Artistic License Biology: Gardner would be severely deformed having gestated in zero gravity among numerous other issues.
- Artistic License Physics: Gardner and Tulsa enjoy interactive texting... completely ignoring the 4-20 minute speed-of-light comm lag between Earth and Mars. It is implied that the computers in the colony use quantum tunnelling to communicate between Mars and Earth which could bypass the speed-of-light limit.
- Bittersweet Ending: Gardner is forced to return to Mars in order to survive. However, it's implied that Tulsa will be joining him up there before long.
- Death by Childbirth: Sarah succumbs to eclampsia immediately after giving birth to Gardner.
- Dies Wide Open: Sarah dies this way.
- Driven to Suicide: After Gardner's quest to find his father ends in failure, he tries to commit suicide by drowning in the Pacific Ocean, where his mother's ashes were scattered.
- Light Worlder: Gardner, due to having grown up on Mars.
- Long-Distance Relationship: It doesn't get much more long-distance than between Earth and Mars.
- Luke, You Are My Father: Subverted - after finding the man shown in a picture with Sarah, Gardner discovers that he's his uncle, not his father. However, Nathaniel turns out to be his real father.
- No Social Skills: Gardner, due to having spent his whole life on Mars with only a handful of humans, a robot, and old-school movies to teach him how to interact with others.
- Race Against the Clock: Nathaniel and Kendra have to find Gardner and bring him back to Mars before he dies from exposure to Earth's increased gravity.