The Martian Book Cover The Martian
Andy Weir
Fiction
Crown Pub
2014
369

After a freak accident, astronaut Mark Watney is stranded on planet Mars. His shipmates have left him, not knowing he is still alive, and Mark has two choices: either succumb and die a lonely death or put his engineering and botany skills to good use and figure out how to live on Mars. He chooses the latter and becomes the sole living being on the planet. After months of solitary existence, Mark is able to harness his ingenuity to get back in touch with his teammates. Now planet earth must do everything in her power to bring The Martian back home.

What a fantastic, entertaining novel. Do not expect literary nuggets, but if you’re in for an emotional planetary ride, this is your book. I was always at the edge of my seat and found myself laughing out loud more than once. The geek in me is pleased and my interest in sci-fi is deepened.


We experience Watney’s tale through first person ship logs . When we are with his shipmates and the people at mission control on earth, however, narration slips into third person mode. I like this mix of narration styles. We learn through Watney’s own words how he takes on the challenges and get to witness him ace survival tests that would put anyone stuck in a regular earthly jungle with no food and no tools to shame. His juvenile humor provides us with a glimpse of a charming fighter smart enough to outwit the universe, but humble enough to know that each moment might be his last. Through meticulously described technical details, the author manages to convince me of Watney’s expertise in science and engineering. Some of it was dense for a laymen like me, but it added authenticity to the tale. It all seems plausible. Watney’s knowledge saves him numerous times against the ticking clock. And clocks there are, for all good thrillers need them.

Andy Weir does something that few books and films manage to do. He skillfully marries two genres. This nail biting sci-fi thriller communicate humor into the most dire of challenges. Weir knows that humor cures. That it gives strength. That it distracts and that it releases fear. This is how many of us deal with adversity.

I love the fact that The Martian went from a book no one wanted to publish to a becoming the blueprint for the blockbuster movie of the same name. Andy Weir worked hard on something he was passionate about with no hope for a pay off. Like his protagonist, he didn’t give up and walked his path regardless of the dim prospects of survival. Kudos to him. He has conquered the publishing world by storm and that is an impressive feat in itself. If I know anything about writing, it’s that it can often times feel as though you’re the only person on the planet.


Also published on Medium.

5 comments

  1. Seriously, no one wanted to publish? To me, this will always be the book who pushed me to start using NetGalley, cause I heard a few friends say they’d gotten it for free back when it was still up, and it was already famous, and I was like, man… wish I’d got something as an early copy and then have it become huge! Bought this later on, and yep, it was good.

    1. Sorry, for my late reply! I’m still figuring out a good work flow with my social media accounts and my other jobs. Thank you for leaving a comment. My goal is to really really really connect with everyone who makes an effort to visit my site from now on. Thanks for stopping by!

      I think it’s really hard to judge NetGalley selections sometimes. I once got a free book and as soon as I opened it, I regretted it. Have you been getting good gems on there? So far, my experience with NetGalley has been lukewarm. It’s been a hit or miss for me.

      1. Oh yeaaaah. I’ve read tons of really good books on NetGalley! You just have to be picky when you choose it. But I’ve had a lot of 5 star reads from NetGalley :)I’m sure you’ll find a good one soon, you just have to keep trying.

  2. Hey there,

    You’ve got a fantastic review of an awesome book. I really love the fact that you mentioned not just about the content of the book but also about the author’s journey. I’ll be back to read more of your reviews. Stop my book blog too if you want.

    Always the best,
    Matt Hutson
    http://BookMattic.blogspot.com

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