Six days ago, astronaut Mark Watney became one of the first people to walk on Mars. Now, he’s sure he’ll be the first person to die there.
After a dust storm nearly kills him and forces his crew to evacuate the planet while thinking him dead, Mark finds himself stranded on Mars’ surface, completely alone, with no way to signal Earth that he’s alive — and even if he could get word out, his supplies would be gone years before a rescue could arrive.
Chances are, though, he won’t have time to starve to death. The damaged machinery, unforgiving environment or plain-old “human error” are much more likely to kill him first. But Mark’s not ready to quit. Armed with nothing but his ingenuity and his engineering skills — and a gallows sense of humor that proves to be his greatest source of strength – he embarks on a dogged quest to stay alive, using his botany expertise to grow food and even hatching a mad plan to contact NASA back on Earth.
As he overcomes one seemingly insurmountable obstacle after the next, Mark begins to let himself believe he might make it off the planet alive – but Mars has plenty of surprises in store for him yet.
Grounded in real, present-day science from the first page to the last, yet propelled by a brilliantly ingenious plot that surprises the reader again and again, The Martian is a truly remarkable thriller: an impossible-to-put-down suspense novel that manages to read like a real-life survival tale.
Song For This Book: Rocket Man by Elton John
(How could I not use this song for this book?)
This book could have been terrible. It could have been boring (what is a guy who is left on Mars to do with himself for over 500 Mars-Days?), it could have been just a manual on how to survive on a lifeless planet, and it could have been very hokey. But somehow it wasn’t. Weir put it together in such a way that you become invested in Watney’s survival, and you need to keep going until you find out what happens next.
The Good Points of The Martian:
-Watney’s character is fantastic. In a book with minimal characters, your lead needs to be really strong, and Andy Weir does not disappoint. Watney has his own distinct personality, his ups and downs, and his own interests. His moments of despair are incredible realistic, dragging you along for the journey.
-Actually, all the characters are pretty great, even those we see only for short periods of time.
-Despite some very technical descriptions of the work that the crews are doing, it does not ever start to feel like a textbook. It’s actually a very easy read considering the technical aspects.
-Living by yourself on a planet for an extended is not played up. Let’s be honest, it would suck, and Weir doesn’t try to make it anything else.
The Downsides of The Martian:
-My scientific background is in psychology and biology – I know very little about engineering, chemistry, and astrophysics. While not understanding some of the more technical parts didn’t affect progressing in the book, it would have been nice to have a glossary to help explain some of what Watney was doing. I know that I could look it up online, but I often read away from Wi-Fi connections, and I tend to not remember once I’m home.
-It was a little longer than what seemed necessary. I think that some parts could have been condensed a little.
All in all, a really good book. Highly recommended. Now to watch the film!