Skip to main content

The Martian by Andy Weir

Have you ever picked up a book by an author you've never heard of, written in a genre that's not your usual cup of tea and with a title that reminds you of a cheesy sci-fi movie...and then ended up loving it? That's how it was with me and 'The Martian'.

The story is pretty straightforward. A manned mission to Mars goes wrong and the crew have to flee the surface in haste when a storm threatens to destroy their take-off vehicle. In the chaos, botanist/mechanical engineer Mark Watney is injured. Believing him to be dead, the crew takes off.

However, Watney is still alive. And he has every intention of "staying alive" (a song our hero adopts as his theme song - yes, Watney is funny that way). Mark Watney becomes the first Martian - a good humored, resourceful and the one and only resident of Mars. How he survives on a freezing cold planet with no help in sight and no way to communicate with Earth makes for a terrifically compelling read and the suspense and drama of if/how he ever gets back to Earth is breathtaking.

If I was in the habit of giving stars, I'd give this book 4 stars. Why not 5 stars, you ask? Read on...
I picked this book randomly and had no great expectations of it - after all, it was from an author I'd never read before, nor even heard of (no, really, I had never heard of or read this author before). I went into this book with zero preconceptions. Well, not exactly zero. I mean, the title led me to expect a book that had something to do with a Martian. Frankly, I never thought that an abandoned Earth astronaut on Mars would provide the Martian in 'The Martian'.

Once I got over that pleasant surprise, I was intrigued enough to keep turning the pages, if only to see what happens to Watney. The story unfolds in the form of logs that the lone astronaut writes to describe to future manned missions how he spent what he feels are his last living days on the red planet. Instead it turns out to be an ode to human ingenuity, hope and sheer stubbornness to survive against all odds.

The science part of the story is highly complex, appears highly authentic and is described in detail. Minute detail, even. This kind of slows the pace - a lot. Up until halfway point, I read every page even if the science/engineering part of it was going over my head. (At times Watney even dumbs it down for us ordinary readers. Even then it was all a bit too high-brow for me.) After halfway point, this got to me and I began skipping pages. To my surprise, I found I hadn't missed much at all. That there is the reason I took off a 1/2 star.

The other is the oddly telescopic vision of the entire story. The focus is almost entirely on Watney. Not much is described about the planet or even other people, like the crew who left him behind. Even what little readers come to know of Watney is through the eyes of other people, of whom there aren't many to begin with in this story. The feeling of isolation comes more from this than the words of the story itself. Another 1/2 star off for this.

Overall, I loved the story. It's very well-researched (the science part, at least) and the author writes in a way that makes it easy for the readers imagine themselves all alone on the barren planet in Watney's bulky EVAC suit. It makes one think and imagine and escape to different world - literally.

Note - I got this book all on my own to read and later, review. No compensation of any kind was provided by anyone, anytime, anywhere.
-----------------------------------
If you like this post, then please consider subscribing to my Full Feed RSS.
You can also Subscribe by Email and have new posts sent directly to your inbox.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Review - Bath Tangle by Georgette Heyer

To say that the beautiful and tempestuous Lady Serena is highly upset to find that her recently deceased (and highly eccentric) father, the Earl of Spenborough, left the care of her fortune and control over her marriage to her jilted fiancé Ivo Barrasford, the Marquis of Rotherham, is to understate the case. Too much time has elapsed since Serena broke her engagement to her childhood companion, Rotherham, (and that too after the invitations had been sent - such a scandal!) for them to feel anything but discomfort at this bit of posthumous matchmaking on the part of the Earl. Or so they both declare.

Used to commanding a large household and having acted as her father's hostess from a young age, energetic and politically-savvy Serena soon finds herself in doldrums when her life is suddenly reduced to a small Dower house with none but her father's young widow, Fanny, for company and a social sphere consisting of occasional visits from neighbors who'd been just casual acquain…

Gabrielle Bernstein stops by...

I'm happy to welcome Gabrielle Bernstein who's once again stopping by here with a guest blog post.

Her second book Spirit Junkie: A Radical Road to Self-Love and Miracles was published by Random House September 12. It’s part memoir and part road map: Gabby shares her journey toward becoming the full-on, inspirational Spirit Junkie that she is today, and she teaches her readers every lesson she learned along the way.

BECOME A SPIRIT JUNKIE

Contact Me!

Currently Accepting : Book Review Requests, Author Guest Posts, Book Excerpts etc.

Currently NOT accepting:  Contest/Giveaway notifications.

Your Name:


Your Email:


Message: