“It’s true, you know. In space, no one can hear you scream like a little girl.”
The Martian by Andy Weir
Published February 11, 2014 by Crown
Format: paperback; 369 pages
Also By This Author: The Egg
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My Rating: ♥♥♥♥♥
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 have been reading some really good science fiction lately! This was probably the most technical sci-fi novel I’ve read, and while it did take me weeks to finish it because of how in depth the science goes, there’s one huge reason why I was never once bored: this book is hilarious.
I know; a funny survival novel? I haven’t read many of those. But I can honestly say that I laughed out loud more while reading this book than I have while reading any other book. Sometimes I had to put the book down to take a laughing break. Mark Watney, our seemingly doomed astronaut who has been unknowingly abandoned on Mars, is such an enjoyable and entertaining narrator. If he wasn’t, there’s no way I’d have been able to get through nearly two years’ worth of journal entries.
The Martian is a bit of a thriller. I’d characterize Mark Watney as the MacGyver of NASA who is stuck in a perpetual lesson of Murphy’s Law; if something can go wrong while being stranded on Mars, it will, and more than once, too. Besides being an astronaut, he’s also a mechanical engineer and a botanist, which are probably the two skills that I’d like to have if I was stranded anywhere remote. He’s clever, resourceful, and is never difficult to root for.
Mars as a setting was very fascinating. Andy Weir writes an impressively accurate depiction of space travel and planetary exploration. He even created his own computer software to help calculate planetary orbits and space ship trajectories. With the recent New Horizons discoveries and talks of manned missions to Mars in the future, anyone who loves geeking out about space will definitely enjoy The Martian.
Read This Book If:
…you love hilarious narrators (you WILL laugh).
…you’re intrigued by technical science fiction.
…you’re a NASA/space exploration nerd.
…you like reading stories that are told through a journal format (75% of this novel is log entries).
“As with most of life’s problems, this one can be solved by a box of pure radiation.”
If I haven’t stressed this enough, The Martian is a phenomenal novel. I don’t think I’ve laughed more while reading a book, so if the science fiction aspect feels daunting to you, don’t worry: you will still enjoy this hilarious tale about man vs. nature. ALSO, The Martian is being made into a film starring Matt Damon (who, in my opinion, will portray the perfect Mark Watney), Jessica Chastain, and Jeff Daniels, among many others.