The head of NASA convinces the President that space exploration should be done by private industry, and the United States government declares, “The first person to land on Mars, live there a year, and return alive owns the whole Red Planet.” Capitalists compete to win the greatest race in history. Environmentalists plot to make them all fail.

That is the premise of Ron Pisaturo’s novella, The Merchant of Mars, now available on Amazon in paperback and Kindle ebook. That premise draws on a political idea by Objectivist philosopher Harry Binswanger.

Author Pisaturo says about his story:

The story’s heroes are greedy capitalists who want to exploit Mars, and the villains are environmentalist progressives who want to ‘save’ the planet—Mars, that is. The story illustrates that there is virtually no limit to what capitalists can achieve when the government recognizes and protects property rights.

The pro-capitalist perspective of the story flows naturally from deeper elements. The good guys drive the action. They don’t merely react to the diabolical plans of an evil mastermind. It is the heroes who are the masterminds, the ones with gigantic plans, the ones who build great and powerful machines; and it is the villains who react by trying to destroy those machines.

The heroes are not grim loners who reluctantly become heroes only after their loved ones have been killed by the arch-villain and his all-powerful organization. The heroes don’t wait for bad things to happen. They make good things happen. The heroes are already-successful and happy individuals who risk everything—their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor—to achieve something beyond the dreams of others. Their conflicts are great because they have a lot to lose and a lot to gain, and they and their loved ones face all-or-nothing, life-and-death choices throughout their journey.

It’s not easy to build a business. Many people in today’s society think that only society as a whole can do it. This story shows individuals doing it. They have to raise money, make payroll, meet deadlines, mortgage their personal property, lay off employees, fight regulations and government-subsidized competitors, turn down government subsidies that come with strings, drive competitors they admire and love out of business, or lose everything.

The novella can be read in one sitting.

UPDATE: You can read an excerpt at The New Romanticist.