The Martian by Andy Weir is the first classic science fiction novel I’ve read in years, and with a foul-mouthed, botanist genius as the main character, it was an entertaining read.
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 & forces his crew to evacuate while thinking him dead, Mark finds himself stranded & completely alone with no way to even signal Earth that he’s alive—& even if he could get word out, his supplies would be gone long 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 isn’t ready to give up yet. Drawing on his ingenuity, his engineering skills—& a relentless, dogged refusal to quit—he steadfastly confronts one seemingly insurmountable obstacle after the next. Will his resourcefulness be enough to overcome the impossible odds against him?
I listened to the audiobook of The Martian over a long road trip and it kept me on the edge of my seat. The book is told in mission log notes with a glimpse at what’s happening on earth scattered within the book. Mark Watney was such a kickass and hilarious narrator. From his personal anecdotes to full-out freak outs about being stranded on mars, I was thoroughly entertained by Watney’s commentary. Here are a few examples:
“Actually, I was the very lowest ranked member of the crew. I would only be “in command” if I were the only remaining person.”
What do you know? I’m in command”
“Also, I have duct tape. Ordinary duct tape, like you buy at a hardware store. Turns out even NASA can’t improve on duct tape.”
“Maybe I’ll post a consumer review. “Brought product to surface of Mars. It stopped working. 0/10.”
“They say once you grow crops somewhere, you have officially ‘colonised’ it. So technically, I colonised Mars.
In your face, Neil Armstrong!”
“I admit it’s fatally dangerous,” Watney said. “But consider this: I’d get to fly around like Iron Man.” “We’ll keep working on ideas,” Lewis said. “Iron Man, Commander. Iron Man.”
Needless to say, I was laughing my butt off at Watney’s misadventures as he tries to survive on an unforgiving planet in a HAB only designed to last 30 days. The humor gives the reader comic relief as Watney survives catastrophe after catastrophe and the suspense only builds more and more as earth comes together to save him.
The only issue I had with the book is there is a lot of data and numbers that I would normally skim but since I was listening to the audiobook, I was a captive audience forced to listen in excruciating detail each aspect of Watney’s crazy experiments. This book must have required a lot of scientific research and I’m pretty sure it was all accurate, from the science involved to make water with rocket fuel down to the actual location of abandoned rovers on mars.
I highly recommend this to anyone who likes science fiction with a whole bunch of snark. The Martian has recently been made into a movie and I’ll be sure to check that out soon.
STARS:5 out of 5