Pale Dawns and Heavy Hearts is an epic Martian novel, published in 2208 by the author Hugo Bastion. Released via the Solarnet, the novel is acclaimed for its dealings with unrequited love, platonic relationships, stoicism, morality, and the romantic ideals of contemporary Mars.
The plot revolves around a boy named Jon Storm, who travels across the planet in order to find peace with his love. However, along his journey, he encounters multiple persons who cause him emotional stress and create romantic dilemmas for him. Eventually, the struggle becomes too much, and Storm decides that he wishes to die alone on the top of Mount Olympus.
The novel was critically acclaimed for its themes of romantic struggles, crime, morality, and true happiness, and it is largely seen as a guide to the Martian culture of stoicism and the meaning of both happiness and life.
- Jon Storm: A 17 year old boy born into wealth and raised in the small, fictional town of Freezing Lake, Minnepega. Storm is known to be heavily sarcastic and deeply stoic at the beginning of the book, a quality which he maintains by repressing his emotions after several childhood encounter left him heart broken. Formerly a chronic liar, Storm finds it difficult to live in his town as he is largely alienated by others for his past transgressions. Storm is known to have spent several summers at a camp in the nearby woods, where he first met his friend Wilton McBain. The eventual journey that Storm takes leads to show a duality in his character, with constant anger against himself for being a homosexual and an implicit desire to find inner peace through external relationships. It is eventually learned by Storm that, on his quest to find tranquility, the only way to stop his heart from breaking is to renounce emotion entirely, causing him to lose much of his personality and empathy after a near fatal heart attack. In many interpretations of the novel, Storm is seen as the paragon of Martian emotion, as he is able to cope with an enormous amount of troubles before eventually snapping. The problems seen with Storm's character are largely found throughout Mars' society in general, and he is seen as the single most accurate representation of emotional issues through his perceptions of love, desire, tragedy, intellect, hate, and pity.
- Wilton McBain: A 19 year old man who grew up in the same town as Storm, but only met him about a year before the plot of the book. McBain constantly questioned his sexuality throughout puberty, but in his mind it is believed that he is a heterosexual. McBain finds Storm interesting, and the two share many similar interests, along with Storm feeling attracted to the specific appearance of McBain, being tall, ginger, and in well shape. McBain is noted to represent the aspect of Martian society in unrequited love, as Storm is very much in love with him but the feeling is not mutual. As a result, McBain is the subject of both love and anger, which eventually cause tragedy on Storm's part.
- Benjamin Stone: A 17 year old who is a native to the British settled region of Hartsdale. Stone is the son of a sheep farmer, who raises him alone after the death of Stone's mother during his birth due to it being a home-based birthing session. While he is at first only slightly depressed, when he meets Storm, Stone's father is known to be going through a rough time himself, as every birthday he is reminded of the death of the love of his life. Stone himself eventually slips into greater depression, and he is seen to incur the pity of Storm. Because Storm does not know how to handle the depressed Stone, his love and pity cause him great tragedy later throughout the text. On a wider scale, Stone is seen to represent the Martian population that struggles with emotional problems as a whole, and that when pity mixes with feelings of love, a confusion can be found within the two.
- Jackson Hill: A 26 year old doctor of American ancestry who was living in Neubremen because of a job offer he received at the local hospital. Hill is the caretaker of Storm after his near fatal, stress-induced heart attack. The two spend a large amount of time together, and the unstable condition of Storm, even with the fullest extent of medication, causes the two to engage in deep conversations as Hill is constantly monitoring Storm's condition. Storm finds love in Hill through his intellect, and their ability to converse with one another causes an even deeper sense of emotion. Storm's love and intellect eventually lead to tragedy, as Hill has a life of his own, and cannot pursue a romantic relationship with Storm, causing tragedy. Hill is seen to represent compatibility within Martian society, in that two people may share the ability to talk, but do not always have the ability to fall completely in love, one way or the other.
- Stephen Albany: A man of about 23 years in age who has renounced modern life to live in simplicity in the woods of Zaracia. He does not share much about his past with Storm, believing that the past should only be learned from, and not reminisced, as it causes bittersweet emotion. Albany is described to be extremely handsome, sexually skilled, and abundantly able to take part in sexual relations. Albany is also very dominant and slightly sadistic, finding it even more driving to continue his sexual acts as their peculiarity increases. He is seen to be a source of sexual deviance and desire, which Storm partakes in purely out of the desire to be pleasured and not loved. Their relationship is only of sexual encounters, and is largely top bottom, with some encounters being able to be interpreted as rape with certain words of context in use. Albany is the representation of Martian society's innermost desire, and a show that pleasure will be attempted to be achieved by a citizen despite the humility or the morality of the act that occurs.
WARNING: If you wish to follow the story as it will develop on the page without spoilers, DO NOT READ THIS FOLLOWING SECTION.
The plot is generally focused around a 17 year old boy named Jon Storm, who runs away from his home in a small town in Minnepega to pursue a romantic relationship with a straight man 19 years in age named Wilton McBain who has agreed to a periodic platonic relationship. After their leave, the highly publicized disappearance of Storm creates a media firestorm, forcing the couple to flee the region in pursuit of a peaceful and quiet place. After arriving in Cadillac, McBain disappears after the couple is chased by the police, forcing Storm into a state of deep depression, and driving him to attempt suicide. After meeting another young vagrant in a romantic one night encounter, Storm is drugged and sold into sexual slavery by the mysterious Martian Mafia. Storm eventually ends up in Roseport, where he finds a chance to escape and flees to the region of Hartsdale by stowing away on a train. In Hartsdale, he is secretly taken in by a similarly aged son of a farmer named Benjamin Stone. After several days of recovery at the farm, Stone's father finds Storm, causing a brief fight and the climactic death of the father, which causes Stone to feel immediately guilty and slip into depression. Two days after the indecent, McBain arrives in the town, having tracked down Storm. Storm and Stone both decide to take whatever money they can, and buy a cross-planet train ticket to Neubremen. The couple encounter McBain, who also went to the city after a previous conversation he had with Storm in which it was learned that Storm had always fantasized about a life of happy insignificance. Storm becomes emotionally conflicted, as McBain is only interested in a purely platonic relationship though he is otherwise considered perfect by Storm, and Stone is heavily depressed but still romantically feels for Storm. An intense romantic encounter with both of them occurs on the same night, driving Storm to complete lunacy, and eventually causing him to suffer from a heart attack caused by extreme stress. After being cared for by an attractive young doctor of American ancestry named Jackson Hill, Storm decides to renounce his emotions, and turns himself into the police so that he can return to his privileged life in his home town. McBain also returns with Storm, and Stone joins them because there is no place for him in his original home town in Hartdale. Upon returning home, Storm learns that his parents have both died, and that he is the heir to their property. With complete access to his parent's wealth, Storm sells his family home, and runs away in the dead of night to the remote region of Zaracia. There, he meets another man of interest who has devoted his life to simplicity named Stephen Albany, and the two enjoy three whole weeks of intense sexual encounters purely for pleasure. Storm comes to the realization that his life is insignificant to society, and decides that he will not choose between the number of suitors that he has already amassed, but rather, that he will die alone on the highest mountain on the planet in order to find peace for his soul. After suffering from altitude sickness during his ascent, Storm has illusions of all the men he has encountered, all without resolving their relationships between one another. This causes a second heart attack from stress, and coupled with the altitude that Storm is at, a blackout on the mountain. Storm awakens an unspecified amount of time later, presuming himself dead, and seeing that he has reached a state of total tranquility laying upon a white blanket of snow under a clear, blue sky.