Wednesday, September 30, 2015

BOOK REVIEW - The Martian


Author: Andy Weir -
Format: Kindle ebook. Purchased from amazon.

Did it feel like a full novel: yes
Cliffhanger: no
Genre: sci fi
Dates Read: Sept 3-6, 2015
Official Blurb: 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?

Fantastic sci fi story that makes you forget it hasn’t actually happened, with a hero you really get close to.

I keep hearing (and agree) this novel is like a combination of “Cast Away” and “Apollo 13”. I almost want Tom Hanks to be in it, heh heh. But that’s probably more a comment about the film coming out in a few weeks rather, so hopefully I’ll actually have a movie review for you at that time.

Instead, let me tell you about this novel. I went in with high expectations, and damn did this sucker exceed them all. First of all, our poor protagonist is a lovely nerd, bordering on being a dork. Both are definite positives. I have heard some people did not like his zaniness, but I think they’re comparing him to old style, “The Right Stuff” kind of astronauts. I have more in mind Chris Hadfield singing David Bowie’s “Space Oddity” while on the ISS

and Samantha Cristoferetti wearing a Star Trek uniform in space and quoting a line from Star Trek Voyager

But yeah, these examples make Mark sound kind of perfect. Not only his personality, but also his expertise. Weir really did his homework in making this sci fi feel much more scientific than fiction. You might get slightly bogged down at the calculations, but they’re all explained in a  way that you understand what Mark is worried about and what he has available to try to fix what he can. Even if you just have to trust he understands his math because you slightly zoned out at that point. Only slightly, you won’t have a glazed over look, I promise!

When it comes to how he ends up pretty much screwed, and how he tries to increase his survival odds, you cannot put this book down! You don’t have a clue how he’s going to survive. Then after the first third of the novel or so, you have hope, and you get it snuffed out a couple of times. Very nail biting stuff. Past that, you get an increased sense of hope though you are terrified it’ll be taken away yet again. This book really played with my emotions in a way the romances haven’t touched, heh.

Again, I have to reiterate this doesn’t feel like a sci fi book as much as it is. You know that no one’s been sent to Mars, yet it all touches on what is currently happening in space travel and technology so closely that you think it’s not that farfetcehd. Whether you’re a regular reader of science fiction or not, I really suggest this novel. Or if you just like adventure, this qualifies as well. Dangit, if you like to read at all, I suggest you try it just based on that!

Rating: 5 stars

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