Book 381: THE MARTIAN Review

The Martian by Andy Weir
ISBN: 9780553418026 (paperback)
ISBN: 9780804139038 (ebook)
ASIN: B00EMXBDMA (Kindle edition)
Publication date: October 28, 2014 (paperback)
Publisher: Broadway Books

Apollo 13 meets Cast Away in this grippingly detailed, brilliantly ingenious man-vs-nature survival thriller, set on the surface of Mars.

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?

I’m not a heavy reader of science fiction, but The Martian by Andy Weir is one book that has changed my mind about this genre forever. A team of scientists are finally on Mars. It’s the end of their mission and an unexpected storm emerges. After the storm settles it becomes clear that the one scientist that was thought to have died during the storm has survived and now he is left alone on the surface of Mars. His mission now is simply survival. 

The reader witnesses the angst and despair of our lone survivor, Mark Watney. Fortunately, Mark is a botanist and contrives a way to grow food to extend his life (I was sick of potatoes by the end of the story . . . read the story!). He salvages what he can from the mission camp and ingeniously reimagines usages for his survival. Once he’s able to reestablish communication with earth, he no longer has to survive without a goal. His goal is to live long enough to be rescued. 

Mr. Weir’s story captured my attention from the very beginning. As a child of the 60s, growing up with Star Trek, space is an unknown that man has wanted to conquer for decades. We’ve never gone further than the moon or the space station with manned flight, so this mission to Mars was fantastical. The Martian isn’t simply a story about the science of staying alive on a foreign environment; it is about survival. Don’t get me wrong, there’s plenty of science involved and even that I found interesting. I cheered along with the masses on earth as I witnessed Mark Watney’s progress and gasped in horror when things didn’t go as expected. Mr. Weir has this incredible ability to write science fiction and make it seem more like science possible. Mark Watney becomes more than just a man fighting for survival; he became The Martian. Trust me, even if you think you don’t like science fiction, you’ll want to read this book. Told you I’m not big into science fiction, but I’ve read this book twice this year (yes it is that good!). I look forward to reading more from Mr. Weir in the future. (Psst…a movie is in the works based on this book; make sure you read the book before you see the movie.)

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book free for review purposes from Edelweiss. I was not paid, required or otherwise obligated 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: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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