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The Martian by Andy Weir {4 Stars}

The Martian by Andy Weir has been slowly generating buzz among my sci-fi loving friends, so I absolutely had to see what the excitement was all about and I can definitely see why now! The Martian was so wonderfully realistic that I had to keep reminding myself that humans haven’t walked on Mars yet so there was no way that this story could be true no matter how convinced I was. It is very clear that Weir invested an absurd amount of research into The Martian, and that, along with a really funny main character, is why diehard sci-fi fans will love it.

The Martian by Andy Weir {4 Stars}

The Martian by Andy Weir
Published by Crown on February 11th, 2014
Genres: Adult, Sci-fi
Page Length: 369 pages
How I got my copy: Borrowed
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Six days ago, astronaut Mark Watney became one of the first men to walk on the surface of Mars. Now, he's sure he'll be the first man to die there.

It started with the dust storm that holed his suit and nearly killed him, and that forced his crew to leave him behind, sure he was already dead. Now he's stranded millions of miles from the nearest human being, with no way to even signal Earth that he's alive--and even if he could get word out, his food would be gone years before a rescue mission 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 get him first.

But Mark isn't ready to give up yet. Drawing on his ingenuity, his engineering skills--and a relentless, dogged refusal to quit--he steadfastly confronts one seemingly insurmountable obstacle after the next. But will his resourcefulness be enough to overcome the impossible odds against him?

4 Stars

Strengths:

  • As I said above, The Martian is exceedingly realistic sci-fi. The bulk of the story is written through the logs from the main character, Mark, and he doesn’t spare any details. Mark is very clever guy trying very hard to figure out how to survive after a freak accident leaves him stranded on Mars, so it is quite believable that he would use his logs to think through equations for making more water and figuring out how many potatoes he needs to grow to survive until the next Mars mission. I didn’t check the math, but I 100% believe it is accurate ;-).
  • Mark is a wonderfully nerdy guy with a great sense of humor. It is also quite clear in The Martian that he is a guy who uses humor to cope with stress, since he makes jokes even when the situation turns dire. He also has a lot of free time on his hand and a limited amount of entertainment, so there are a lot of jokes about 70’s TV shows.
  • I wasn’t alive when the Apollo program was going and I may or may not be alive when humans walk on Mars, but The Martian really made me feel like I was living that sort of experience of watching a human being do what no other human being has ever done and being completely amazed at what we can do if we try hard enough.
  • Especially towards the end of The Martian, some really heartening messages about humanity and our capability to band together in times of need come up and I just couldn’t help but smile with tears in my eyes (therefore you don’t know if the ending is happy or sad, mwahahaha).
  • The writing and plot of The Martian is endlessly clever. Lots of different styles and views are used to give the reader just the right amount of information and I was continuously impressed by the impossible situations that Mark is put in and ends up figuring a way out of. Weir is an author I would love to have coffee with just to see how his brain really works, haha.

Weaknesses:

  •  One of my ultimate pet peeves in writing is when the word rape is applied to an inanimate object and The Martian did this (fortunately only once). Do I need to explain how using that word for how an object is mishandled horrendously belittles the human beings who survive being sexually assaulted??
  • There are two times that The Martian throws in a new writing style to discuss the history of objects leading up to Mark’s encounter with them and they honestly just bored me and seemed weird and unnecessary. I found myself wanting to skip those sections >.>.
  • The Martian managed to get too technical and sciencey even for me the grad student at times. I just ended up skimming the math discussions and not trying to figure out if they checked out, but I can see this annoying and/or boring some readers.

Summary:

The Martian by Andy Weir quite impressed me with its believability despite how unbelievable an astronaut being stranded on Mars sounds ;-). If you enjoy sci-fi that really strives to capture how our near future could play out, you definitely don’t want to miss The Martian. If, however, some adult language and a lot of numbers doesn’t sound appealing, that’s okay too!

Anya from On Starships and Dragonwings

Have you read this one? What did you think? Are you excited for it if you haven’t gotten to it yet?
– Anya

 

 The Martian by Andy Weir

© 2014, Anya. All rights reserved.

Comments

  1. Sounds like a few too many numbers for me, but great review! The summary kind of reminds me of the movie “Gravity.”
    Kel @ Booked til Tuesday recently posted…Stuck in a Good Book Giveaway HopMy Profile

  2. I’m glad that you enjoyed this book. I love scifi, but I don’t like it when one character is alone for most of the book, so I think I’ll pass even though I like a witty lead. Nice review as always. :)

    • I’m normally not happy with the lack of interaction, but since Mark is talking to himself so much and there are lots of scenes with the folks at NASA, so it worked all right for me and perhaps you’d still like it ;-)

  3. I didn’t read Martian yet, but as you said, it’s generating quite a buzz and I am intrigued. I love mathematics so I don’t think numbers will be a problem for me. And I love realistic sf. Also I like that this is a standalone, because I sometimes feel like I am drowning in series.
    Dragana recently posted…Book Review: Crown of Ice by Vicki L. WeavilMy Profile

    • Haha, I do love math, but I don’t necessarily like reading math in my fiction ;-). Definitely awesome realistic scifi though :D

  4. This sounds really interesting! I’m glad that for the most part you really enjoyed it :-) I’ll be adding it to my wishlist.

  5. I really want to try this, but the technical/very science-y stuff scares me. But if you can skim them and still enjoy the books, then I think I should give it a try too! (Even though I like my science fiction to be very fiction) Thanks for the review!!!
    Valerie recently posted…Stacking the Shelves #9My Profile

    • You can definitely skim the more science focused parts since Mark includes plenty of laymen explanations too, though there is a definite science focus, so I’m not sure how much you’d like those part :-/

  6. This one is new to me but I’m really glad you liked it. Realism is definitely important in a book like this so it’s great that aspect was done well. Sounds like it has some interesting messages too, with your reaction about the ending :P I may just have to pick this one up sometime.
    Alise recently posted…My Bookish Seven Deadly SinsMy Profile

  7. Love the review and for the most part I’m glad it was good for you!! I’ve heard nothing but great things about this book so it’s nice to see some of the peeves–means that your honest and I trust your judgement just for that alone! :D
    Kat Stark @ NotYetRead recently posted…That’s a Wrap! – August 2014 – It was the month of Funk!My Profile

    • Hehe, that is definitely a goal I have when writing my reviews :D I feel like I always skim reviews for the negatives since it helps me decide if the book would be good for me ;-)

  8. I really enjoy this one as well :) And agree the different views and humor, and just the feel good nature of it were all balanced amazingly well!
    Lisa (@TenaciousReader) recently posted…Tenaciously Stacking the ShelvesMy Profile

  9. I am going to have to get this for my sister. I think she’ll love it!
    Lyn Kaye recently posted…Stacking the Shelves #100My Profile

  10. I haven’t read this one yet, but, from your review, it really sounds like something I would like!
    Allie recently posted…Review: Parasite by Mira GrantMy Profile

  11. Kudos to Crown because I think they ran an amazing publicity/marketing campaign for this book, the buzz and popularity simply blew up this summer and fall, and it’s been out way before that, and self pubbed before it got picked up. Can’t believe a movie is already in the works (Matt Damon as Mark Watney, can you see it?) :P

  12. Everyone I know who’s read this so far has said that the narration is hilarious. Humour in sci-fi is a must for me, and I love the MacGyver sounding elements as well. Although I gotta say that I know zero about science and advanced tech, so hopefully it’s not too terribly important to the overall story!

    • Yes you will love it then!! I think that the explanations for what Mark is doing will make enough sense for enjoyment still ;-)

  13. This is one of my favorites of the year so far! I know exactly the part you’re talking about where he uses the word “rape.” I agree that was very jarring. I didn’t mind all the techy stuff because it made me like the character even more, even though it went over my head. I just thought the structure of the book was really well done, where he jumped around to the other groups in the story. Overall, a real winner for me:-)

    • As a grad student I think I’m too trained to try to understand everything I read and has cut into my sci-fi enjoyment reading at times :(. But yeah, ugh, I was really annoyed with that word use since I really expected better. But overall so much fun! I’m really curious to see what Weir writes next!

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  1. […] need to give three cheers for Anya at On Starships and Dragonwings – her review sold me on this book. No lie. I didn’t even know this book existed until she reviewed it. I […]

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