“The Martian” – Andy Weir
I will admit to sometimes being a prisoner of the moment. I think most of us can be susceptible to this from time to time. I’ve been on kind of a sci-fi/looking WAY beyond what the eyes can see mood lately. This was brought upon in the last year with that show “Cosmos” hosted by Neil DeGrasse Tyson. It got me in the mood to find more information (either in an academic or creative space) to feed my imagination. I have found all that and more with “The Martian” by Andy Weir. Fair warning that there will be minor spoilers in this review, but I will do my best to keep it as vague and ambiguous as I can. I will also write this review in the style and voice of the main character in the book to give you an idea for the writer’s style and sense of humor.
So there’s this guy named Mark and he’s marooned on Mars.
Mark Watney to be exact. He’s a botanist and an engineer. Look, I’m no botanist or engineer. The greenest my thumb will ever get is keeping a cactus alive. Nor am I an engineer. The closest thing I come to being an engineer is… I’m no engineer. Now how does a guy named Mark end up all alone on Mars you may ask? He and his other astronaut compadres were caught in a terrible Mars sand storm, which makes sand storms in the Sahara look like a sand castle constructed by chubby infants on the beach, I’m assuming. Anyway, they all decide to abort the mission. Mark is separated from the group, sucked up in one of these Mars tornados and presumed dead. But guess what? He’s not dead. He’s very much-somewhat alive.
One of the many amazing things about this book was Mark’s ability (since about 85% of the story is told primarily from his perspective) to explain how and why he can be a successful potato farmer on a planet where no vegetation exists. Then of course, there’s the whole thing about being able to make water, oxygen, and anything else needed for survival to last long enough to wait for rescue. Truth be told, some of it went over my head, however the comparative analysis given in the most layman and (at times) politically incorrect ways made it much easier and enjoyable for me to follow along as the story progressed.
About 18% of this book is told from the perspective of NASA. Eventually Mark is able to get a signal out that he is indeed alive. So now bureaucracy, legal red tape, procedures; these things can’t be thrown out the window fast enough to bring Mark home. NASA exhausts all their resources, treasure, politics, and reasoning to bring Mark back. The other 2% of the book is told from the perspective of the crew that still believe they left Mark for dead for a majority of the book.
This magnificently entertaining novel was written by this guy named Andy Weir. Weir is quite a guy. For a guy who hasn’t even been on a commercial flight since 2007, he sure did his homework. He’s been working as a software engineer since the age of 15 and has been an enthused hobbyist of space exploration most of his life.
“The Martian” is an extremely thrilling and entertaining book that you should read. Bonus points if you can read it before the movie releases on October 2nd. Oh yeah, did I forget to mention that? There’s gonna be a movie starring Matt Damon and it looks more powerful than Aquaman! (Trust me, read the book.)
I’m calling it now. This will absolutely get nominated for the Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay and it will win.
So yeah, here’s the trailer.
I’ve decided to skip the part of my review containing spoilers. Haha! Made you read! You’ll thank me. Alright, you can carry on with your lives now.