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
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?
- 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.
- 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.
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!
Have you read this one? What did you think? Are you excited for it if you haven’t gotten to it yet?
The Martian by Andy Weir
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