The Martian || Andy Weir

4:16 pm

Title: The Martian
Author: Andy Weir
Length: 369 pages
Publication date: September 23, 2012
Genre: Science fiction
Rating: 5/5

Mark Watney is in trouble. He's on the fourth manned expedition to Mars, and on the sixth day of the mission, an intense storm forces them to abandon the mission, and in the chaos, Mark is left stranded. On Mars. By himself. Oh, and the storm eliminated any communication with Earth. So Mark has to figure out how to make his limited supplies last until the next expedition arrives... in 4 years. But Mark is smart, and he's bound to figure out how to make it, right?

I had heard for months that this book was amazing. I even bought it and had it on my shelf, somewhere close to the top of my TBR (to-be read) pile for a few months. But then I watched the trailer for the movie adaptation, and I knew I couldn't put it off any more. That day I picked it up, and within 2 pages I was glad that I had made that decision, and by page 6 I had laughed out loud at least once. Really.

The Martian was quite different from what I was expecting when I picked it up. I'm not sure what I was expecting, but it wasn't what I got. First of all, this is a very scientific book. After all, it is about an astronaut trying to survive on Mars. He does that through science. And Mark Watney is very smart. This book is filled with his scientific calculations, and yet I never felt bored! Sometimes it went over my head, but Weir did such a great job writing it in such a way that it was accurate and still somewhat entertaining.

I also really liked the character of Mark Watney (I just really like to refer to him by his full name.) He was very resourceful, and his sense of humour was great. That's what made the book for me. He had a very dry sense of humour, and he would react to situations very differently from what I would (ie he remained calm whilst I would have sat in my spacesuit and cried for a year.) The only thing that I would have liked to see more of was a bit more of the emotional and psychological effects of being completely alone for many months. You get a hint of that at the end, but just a hint. But this isn't necessarily that kind of book either. This isn't a story about Mark Watney's emotions. This is a story about his survival. He's too busy trying to grow potatoes in Martian soil to worry about his feelings.

This story is told mostly through Mark making log entries, but there are chapters focused on the people back at NASA and his crew on the ship, which I thought was interesting. Seeing things from their view as they try to get Mark off of Mars alive, and then reading his own account after was really cool. It filled in so much of the story.

This is a survival story at its finest. Really, when the very atmosphere of the planet you are on will kill you, it makes for a really intense story at times. There is some moderate swearing, but I didn't find it to be gratuitous. To my memory there was one allusion to two characters having sex, but other than that there wasn't any sexual content either. If you're looking for a really exciting and funny story that has you holding your breath as you reach the end, this might be for you!

(As a side note, last night I dreamt about Mark Watney. In my dream, his family was with him on Mars, but the rest of the situations were the same. One night, a dinosaur (really, brain?) came into their living area, destroyed his potatoes, and killed his sister. I was really really upset about the potatoes being destroyed.)

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