Maureen Corrigan on the plot of the new Ken Kalfus novel, Equilateral:
The real-life premise is this: In the late 19th century, astronomers spotted what they thought were canals on Mars. Many of those astronomers theorized that, therefore, there must be life on the red planet. Kalfus’s fictional astronomer, Sanford Thayer, is an Englishman who’s obsessed with the dream of contacting the Martians. Thayer has launched an internationally funded project to carve out an enormous equilateral triangle—300 miles to each side—in the Western deserts of Egypt. Once it’s dug out, the triangle will be filled with petroleum.
Image of Mars through a telescope via Flickr