I’m pretty sure the title had to do with Mars. The book cover had a lot of blues and greens, with what I think was a planet in the center. I only remember a few stories/scenes, but I’ll do my best to explain because it’s killing me to know. I read it over and over as a kid (this would’ve been 2007/2008)
The stories, I believe, are told to a pair of kids inside a spaceship they found. Boy and a girl I think.
One had to do with this kid who loves games. He’s at some kind of carnival, and sees a tent that has some kind of challenge on it, and so since he’s so good at games he thinks he’ll be able to beat it. What ends up happening, is he enters this tent with a figure in shadows across from him. They play a game of chess and he loses. Once he loses though, his opponent leaves and he is forced to stay and play the next person. It ends up being that he’s just playing against himself, caught in this time loop that he will only be freed from once he beats himself. Once this happens, he exits and ends up back with his friends at the carnival as if no time had passed.
Another one I barely remember had to do with a kid climbing a mountain on mars in order to meet Zeus. I don’t think Zeus ended up being real/there and he had an experience with God instead.
There was one about this colony on Mars that was based inside a bubble, and the filters in the fans were super dusty and needed to be replaced or else they’d die. Some kid found this out but no one believed him.
There was also one where this kid and a robot were stuck in an escape pod or something, and the robot gave up its life force so that the kid could survive.
Another had to do with a girl traveling alone in a spaceship and she would listen to old messages from her parents? That one isn’t super clear in my memory.
There was also one where the entire world was super hot I think and some kids had to run from their base to another one?
The last one that I remember had to do with these kids who weren’t allowed outside. It was too dangerous and the only way they could experience the world was through a VR game set thingy. I think it ends with some kid running outside and they might’ve died but they got to experience sunlight.
I know that was a lot of text, but I’ve been looking for so long trying to find this anthology book! I will be extremely grateful for anyone who can help me out.