Monday, September 18, 2017

The Martian by Andy Weir

The Martian by Andy Weir
Published:
Source:

Publisher's Summary:
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 and forces his crew to evacuate while thinking him dead, Mark finds himself stranded and completely alone with no way to even signal Earth that he’s alive—and 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—and 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?

My Thoughts: 
Well, damn, that was fun! Doesn't seem like it should have been, does it? You expect drama. You expect science. You get plenty of both of those. But Weir also imbues Mark Watney with a terrific sense of humor which keeps this book from slipping into complete hopelessness.

It may also turn out that I like science fiction much more than I think I do.


via GIPHY

I have no way of knowing how much of the "science" in this book is accurate, but it certainly read as accurate and believable and I bought into it entirely. I may have skimmed over some of the scientific explanation (ok, I did skim over some of the lengthier passages) but most of it was fascinating. While Watney was a well-trained, scientifically-minded person, he wasn't going to survive simply based on his own training. He had to rely as much on his own instincts and common sense as science and he is not infallible, all of which make him easier to relate to than the real astronauts we watch on t.v.

The book doesn't entirely focus on Watney, though. No way is he going to survive being left on Mars without a lot of help from Earth. The politics, ingenuity, and hard work involved on Earth are nearly as interesting as what Watney experiences. The crew that evacuated without Watney is also an integral part of the story, although they are not as fully developed characters as they were in the movie adaptation of the book.

Speaking of that movie, I liked it a lot when I saw it. I like it even more now that I've read the book. It includes all of the important details of the book, fleshes out the crew of Watney's mission, and Matt Damon is perfectly cast as Watney. It's understood that it would take a small army on earth to do what needs to be done to save an astronaut lost in space, but the movie did pull back on that piece of the story and focused on fewer Earth-bound players. It's a sacrifice that didn't really impact the story.

I'd give both the book and the movie adaptations high marks. Mini-him, who was given this book for Christmas a couple of years ago, agrees. Now the book gets passed on to The Big Guy. It's definitely a book you want to put into another person's hands.

7 comments:

  1. I love this book. I love everything about this book. I was so leery about the movie but agree that they did a great job capturing the flavor of the novel and of the characters.

    Just so you know, Neil deGrasse Tyson has come out and said that the science is legit if a bit optimistic. Personally, I found those sections fascinating and there are some great one-liners thrown into those scenes.

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  2. I was really impressed with the movie, but haven't yet read the book. I didn't think I'd want to until after seeing the movie, actually. I am glad you enjoyed this one, Lisa!

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  3. I balked at all the math and stats in the beginning but it was an entertaining read. I thought the movie was pretty good too.

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  4. I agree. I read the book first, right when it came out. So many people were gushing so I ran right to the bookstore. I was worried the movie would fail, as they commonly do, but this time the movie was spot on. Loved both!
    Rebecca @ The Portsmouth Review
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  5. I've been wanting to read this and I really enjoyed the movie. I understand that what works in print doesn't necessarily work on screen so the changes of focus make sense but I'm glad the basic feel of the book and the characters were basically the same.

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  6. I loved listening to this one. It really brought the story home for me. Also loved what they did with the movie. Glad you enjoyed both as well!

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  7. Great review. This one has been on my wishlist for ages but you've made me remember why I put it there in the first place

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