Commercial deep-sea diver Solvig has a secret. She wants to be one of the first human beings to colonize Mars, and she's one of a hundred people shortlisted by the Mars Project to do just that. But to fulfil her ambition, she'll have to leave behind everything she's ever known--for the rest of her life.
From the depths of the sea to neighboring planets, no destination is off limits in Anneliese Mackintosh’s thrilling feminist adventure novel ... Bright and Dangerous Objects plays with contrasts: its language is wispy and alluring, while its possibilities are sobering and sharp. Solvig, who defies death in a needful way, butts against social limitations on a near constant basis, learning that modern womanhood may offer more, but it is still subject to constraints. She loves, but she longs for freedom; she can imagine herself as a mother, but she needs to believe that adventures are still possible postpartum ... In the resplendent novel Bright and Dangerous Objects, a heroine longs for a one-way ticket to space.
Mackintosh’s engagement with science fiction offers fruitful possibilities for writing a contemporary female character who overtly rejects the type of nurturing, earthy motherhood we still seem to want ... There are brief moments when Mackintosh’s depiction of Solvig as mechanical offers new aesthetic possibilities for the domestic novel ... The subtlety with which Mackintosh reclaims the automatic and the digital as comforting and motherly is to be applauded ... But on the large scale, Mackintosh’s depiction of Solvig as a kind of automaton undoes the narrative premise she so carefully sets up...The narrative, overall, seems wildly unmotivated. It never provides a satisfactory stimulus for either of Solvig’s initial choices...Mackintosh seems to shy away from the big events in her characters’ lives which might impel them...Perhaps some will read it asdaring and rebellious for Mackintosh to consistently let Solvig off the hook, and maybe it is. But I’m not sure that it resonates with the importance of choice for contemporary women. Or maybe this: it just doesn’t make for a compelling novel ... Like its central relationship, Mackintosh’s novel suffers from a problem of scale: What works on the small scale seems to sabotage the novel’s larger project. Mackintosh’s writing can be beautiful; her metaphors are weird and thought-provoking. But I walk away from the novel wondering if anything carried any weight at all.