Sunday, May 18

The Martian by Andy Weir

After months of travel, Mark Watney became one of the first people to set foot on Mars. However, the mission ends prematurely after a major storm blows towards the astronauts’ camp. On their way to back to their shuttle, the storm catches up to them, blowing Watney from the rover. Believing he’s dead, the rest of the crew escapes, leaving Watney’s body behind.

But Watney didn’t die…at least not yet.

Stranded on the surface, he is forced to pull together the remaining resources to find a way to survive. He is forced to use the left over equipment much longer than it was originally intended. Each day brings a new struggle as he attempts to find a way to contact Earth. Though he hopes for a rescue, he also knows there are a million things that could go wrong. If everything fails, Watney will be the first person to die on Mars.

In his first novel, Andy Weir weaves a suspenseful tale that reads part Apollo 13 and part Gravity. From the opening chapters, Weir shows us the true dangers that Watney faces, and as I read through the book I truly had no idea how it would end.

Through the use of audio journals, we are given great insight in Watney’s situation. Often sarcastic and funny, Watney is an enjoyable protagonist and is easy to root for. Despite the dire circumstances, he brings much needed humor.

Narrative shifts to NASA are smooth, and almost nearly as enjoyable. While a few of the actions on Earth (especially one plot point involving the Chinese) feel a bit un-realistic, Weir’s strong storytelling makes it easier to accept.

The scientific angle in this novel was also fascinating. While there are times that seem too detailed, this appears to be a well-researched book. The stuff that Watney does is clearly explained, so that even readers who aren’t scientifically inclined can follow along. This also has the added benefit of not only making The Martian feel more realistic, but even makes it sound plausible. There are certainly no hyper drivers or transporters in this story.

If you prefer your science fiction to have more fantastical elements in it, then this might not be the book for you. But if you enjoy thrilling ‘hard sci-fi,’ then this might just be the book for you.

4/5 Stars

I received this book free from Random House as part of their Blogging for Books program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255

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