Author: Andy Weir
Publisher: Random House
Genre: Science Fiction
Release Date: October 28th 2014
Page Count: 387
“I got really bored, so I decided to pick a theme song! Something appropriate. And naturally, it should be something from Lewis’s godawful seventies collection. It wouldn’t be right any other way. There are plenty of great candidates: “Life on Mars?” by David Bowie, “Rocket Man” by Elton John, “Alone Again (Naturally)” by Gilbert O’Sullivan. But I settled on “Stayin’ Alive” by the Bee Gees.”
I became intrigued by The Martian when I first saw its cover design earlier this year. Although I thought the cover was beautiful, I know that I personally am not a big science fiction reader, so I decided against giving it a try. Fast forward a couple of months and I ended up finding a copy of the novel at a local thrift shop. For $4.99 I couldn’t say no, regardless of whether or not I thought I would enjoy it. Fast forward a little more and the trailer for the soon-to-be-released-film was dropped. It definitely peaked my interest in the story and I figured it was about time to dust off my copy and give it a read. The only problem was that I had a hard time getting through the more technical parts of the story. I decided to put it on hold as I read another book instead. As much as I couldn’t seem to get through The Martian, I hate starting books without finishing them. I read some reviews and a lot of people had the same issues as I did and instead suggested listening to it as an audio book. I figured now would be a good a time as ever to listen to my first audio book and thus I discovered Audible, but more on that later!
Goodreads synopsis: 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 & forces his crew to evacuate while thinking him dead, Mark finds himself stranded & completely alone with no way to even signal Earth that he’s alive—& 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—& 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?
The Martian tells an incredibly nerve wracking story about an astronaut named Mark Watney who is stranded on Mars…all alone. Just let that sink in for a minute. I don’t know about you, but I would have probably given up on life right then and there. Part of what makes The Martian so amazing is the fact that Mark Watney just does not give up. The odds are completely against this guy, yet he uses his extreme smarts to stay alive.
“Yes, of course duct tape works in a near-vacuum. Duct tape works anywhere. Duct tape is magic and should be worshiped.”
The Martian is extremely well written. Andy Weir does a fantastic job of combining technical, scientific and mathematical complexity with hilarious sarcasm and wit. Personally, I have always been more of a right-side-of-the-brain kind of person, which basically means I was always good at anything to do with The Arts and English, but I was terrible with subjects like Math and Science. While reading/listening to The Martian, I found that my mind kind of drifted when things got technical and believe me, there was A LOT of scientific speak within this novel that went right over my head. Honestly, it all could have been completely made up and I wouldn’t have known the difference. That’s how terrible I was with math and science and how well written this story is. Although there were moments that were hard for me to understand, they were balanced by the hilarious narration of our main character Mark Watney.
“I can’t wait to have grandchildren. ‘When I was younger, I had to walk to the rim of a crater. Uphill! In an EVA suit! On Mars, ya little shit! Ya hear me? Mars!'”
Mark Watney is full of sarcasm and has a very cynical personality…which kind of reminds me of myself, making Mark Watney a very relatable character for me personally. There are so many quotable moments, which you can see throughout this post, that had me laughing both while reading and listening to this story. The majority of the comic relief comes from Watney, but we have a whole cast of characters ranging from Watney’s crew mates and a few NASA employees back down on Earth that have a few funny moments themselves.
“The data transfer rate just isn’t good enough for the size of music files, even in compressed formats. So your request for ‘Anything, oh God, ANYTHING but Disco’ is denied. Enjoy your boogie fever.”
The Martian was a story that had me on the edge of my seat (quite literally) up until the very last page. If you can get past all of the science and math, The Martian is an amazingly well written and well thought out story that I highly recommend. If you’re finding it hard to get through, I suggest listening to the audio book as that option worked really well for me. The Martian is definitely for fans of science fiction and space…but maybe not for those who are fans of disco!