Twenty years ago, life on Earth was annihilated. Now, the few remaining colonists on Mars scratch out their living in the worn husk of New Houston, a once vibrant settlement. Outside its walls, a perpetual storm rages — acidic snow and rain – the result of a failed attempt to terraform the planet decades earlier. The human race, once numbering in the billions, has dwindled to five hundred or so souls.

David Adler has survived in these circumstances by keeping a low profile and minding his own business. But when he gets a knock on the door from his old flame, Oksana Levi, everything changes.

Mars’ lead engineer and Oksana’s current boyfriend, Carl Epstein, has been brutally murdered in his workshop, and Oksana pleads for Adler’s help. Adler soon finds himself pulling at the threads of a conspiracy by a millenarian cult and its bloodthirsty father figure to do away with life on the red planet once and for all.


Snowfall on Mars was an intoxicating dystopian journey into a failed terraforming effort on Mars. Science fiction readers will devour it with pleasure. But more profoundly, like many post-apocalyptic stories, it’s about people trying to make sense out of a chaotic world. The characters are extremely well drawn – complex- simultaneously sympathetic and not. The real story involves their existential struggle with a bleak circumstance. Frankel has given us characters that exceed our expectations and even provoke us to think. Snowfall on Mars establishes him as an important new voice in the genre.
— Trent Teti
The story opens twenty years after Earth has all-out nuclear war and the only humans alive are stranded in a small Martian colony. The population has been winnowed to about 500 through violence and suicide, and the few who go on are consolidated in the same complex but live in two groups: those who just want to keep on going, and those who follow a cult leader determined to bring down all that’s left of the race. Now someone has murdered one of the few engineers still living, reducing the odds of human survival still further. Adler starts looking into it, more out of a sense of need than any ability or training.

In addition to being a rewarding story (Mars, post-apocalypse, and mystery combined!), Adler’s observations and thoughts on life produce a thoroughly believable sense of what such a situation would feel like. How does one go on living in a hopeless situation with no rescue possible and the population falling each year. Just how does someone find enough meaning to go on living? Highly recommended for anyone with a love of Martian or post-apocalyptic fiction.
— M. Bailey
The hallmark of great science fiction is a story that focuses on the characters, not the science fiction. You will feel like a participant and a witness to the events. I found I could literally see the character’s surroundings and other characters as Frankel allows the user to fill in blanks with their own imagery. If you’ve ever read Samuel R. Delany (4 Nebulas, 2 Hugos) you’ll find this style familiar. The other world environment and characters seem nevertheless familiar, the authors never telegraphs his punches, and never cleans up after his characters, which is exactly how life really works.
— R. Garrett
Like pornography good writing is hard to explain but I know it when I see it. Mr. Frankel takes a rusty planet, shabby surroundings, and disreputable characters and fashions something of beauty. It is a slow process; like any good craftsman he proceeds step-by-step until, near the end, I realized I was in the presence of people doing the best with what they had and in the process finding something of rare worth. Recommended.
— Barry Melius