Title: The Martian
Author: Andy Weir
Genre: Adult science fiction
Published: By Podium Publishing on March 22nd, 2013
ISBN13: 9781785031137 (UK paperback edition)
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?
This is a super-hyped book, so I was a little wary going into this. I had already watched the movie, so I knew what to expect and I was thinking that was stupid on my part since it would lessen the enjoyment of the book. Also, it was the first sci-fi book I’d picked up in a long time, an adult one at that, and I was unsure as to whether a book from a genre outside my comfort zone would work for me although I love space-related stuff.
I must admit that I didn’t fall in love with it right off the bat. I had already watched the movie, so I knew what to expect and I was thinking that was stupid on my part since it would lessen the enjoyment of the book. As is to be expected with any movie adaptation of a book, there are many differences and as they became more pronounced, I began to appreciate the plot as well. I listened to the audiobook for this and I really enjoyed this format as the narrator did a fabulous job bringing all the characters to life with the different voices and accents. The story comprises of one impossible survival situation after another and it gripped me till the end. The amount of scientific explanation in this book is quite significant, but it’s broken down so that even a layman can appreciate it and I applaud Weir for possessing the unique ability to make science accessible to the masses. Whatney’s genius, humour and will to survive made him one of my favourite sci-fi characters of all time. The secondary characters were also well-developed with agendas and quirks of their own. Mars as the antagonist and the setting was very well done and seemed all too real. Overall, it was a thoroughly entertaining and gripping read with excellent narration.
I would highly recommend this to those looking to get into sci-fi, for those who want to move away from classic sci-fi and read something just as good, and for those who love space settings. It’s also a great fit for those looking to move away from young adult sci-fi and entering the adult genre. For the music, I’d recommend some ambient space music. Or, better yet, you could use this as an excuse to listen to the amazing soundtrack of Interstellar. For the food I don’t have a specific recommendation, but something that reminds you of home would definitely pair well with this. I’d also suggest you avoid potatoes in any form.
Which hyped book did you recently enjoy? Which is your most memorable ‘movie-before-the-book’ moment? Would you recommend Artemis, if you’ve already read it? Let me know in the comments section below.