Saturday, 24 October 2015

Review: The Martian by Andy Weir

Title: The Martian
Author: Andy Weir
Publisher: Del Ray
Pages: 384
Genres: Hard Science Fiction

The Martian

I’m stranded on Mars.

I have no way to communicate with Earth.

I’m in a Habitat designed to last 31 days.

If the Oxygenator breaks down, I’ll suffocate. If the Water Reclaimer breaks down, I’ll die of thirst. If the Hab breaches, I’ll just kind of explode. If none of those things happen, I’ll eventually run out of food and starve to death.

So yeah. I’m screwed.

At first glance, I would not have read this book. I am not typically a fan of this type of genre but I am so glad I decided to give it a chance.

This is foremost a survival story - Mark Watney is stranded on Mars after his crew thinks him to be dead after a freak accident. It sounds like a pretty heavy topic that has a 'Castaway' vibe but it is hilarious. Honestly, this book is so funny I laughed out loud so many times. If it wasn't for the humorous element throughout the story it would not have the same magic.

The only downside is that there is a lot of technical detail and sometimes it does feel like the story is being drowned in all the unnecessary, rocket-science(y) maths and details. I'm not going to lie, I didn't understand most of it. It doesn't really matter though, you get the gist of what is going on even if you don't understand how it works technically. I don't feel like the story would have suffered if there was less profuse description of the periodical table, atoms, engineering etc. You get the idea.

I really cared about Mark Watney and I was desperate for him to survive and be rescued - he is an extremely smart and likeable main character and I really loved the first person logs that he narrated through. I also really enjoyed third person insights into NASA, and it was a nice break from Mark's narrative to see what is going on back on Earth.

It is gripping, emotional, very funny and is worth each of the 5 stars that I gave it.

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