Review│The Martian

the martian

Author: Andy Weir // First published in: 2011 // Genre: Science Fiction
This edition: 369 pages, published in 2014 by Broadway Books // Get it @TheBookDepository

Read in February 2015.

Synopsis (from Goodreads)

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 and forces his crew to evacuate while thinking him dead, Mark finds himself stranded and completely alone with no way to even signal Earth that he’s alive—and 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—and 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?

My thoughts

It started out with a lot of science-y vocabulary and explanations that I couldn’t wrap my head around and I thought “Well, shit. If the whole book is going to be like this, I’m not going to understand a single thing”. I will not lie, the book is very science-heavy, but in the end it didn’t bother me all that much; it just helped make the story even more realistic. I powered through the science mumbo-jumbo that I don’t understand in the slightest, and just hung back, and enjoyed my reading.

This book is unexpectedly funny, and I loved it! I couldn’t help but snatch a picture of a particular passage at the beginning of the book which made me laugh (don’t click the link if you want to remain fairly spoiler free as to how the book is constructed). For someone in such a dire situation, the character of Mark Watney manages to keep cracking jokes and trying to make the best of his predicament. I found it to be rather refreshing, because if I’m honest, I was kind of dreading 370 pages of some sombre monologue about what a shitty situation this is.

There is no Wilson to Mark’s Tom Hanks, but I couldn’t help but think of the movie Cast Away (2000, Robert Zemeckis), which I love, while reading the book. How difficult it is to make a story entertaining and engaging when you basically have one character, alone, for 99% percent of it. Cast Away did a brilliant job back then, and The Martian certainly does as well.

I am curious to see how the movie will turn out, even though I have my doubts about the casting of Matt Damon in the leading role. I have nothing against Damon, but I just don’t think that he is right for Mark Watney. We’ll see. Although the fact that Ridley Scott is directing is exciting (I just recently saw Alien for the first time).

My rating:

I’m giving The Martian 4.5/5 stars. I’m taking 0.5 star out because of the scientific language. (It is my own fault really, I don’t have a single science bone in my body. I don’t even think I understand highschool maths anymore)

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