Originally posted 16th November 2016
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?
The above is what is on the back cover, it took me a while to find this because I bought the book on my Kindle when I went on holiday earlier this year.
I started reading The Martian on the way home, as in an after being up all day on holiday, plus all night on the plane reading other books, so shattered on the train home is when I started.
I want to say that I really really loved this book.
Last week I posted that I wanted to start going through and reading books that I already own and haven’t read rather than try and get new books in to read as well, which I think has been the cause of my reading slump.
I think it worked. After writing that blog post I finished the book (bear in mind I was only a couple of chapters in) within a day.
It was incredible! I know I’m late to the party but I honestly don’t care. I saw the movie when it came out around this time last year and actually didn’t know it was initially a book until afterwards.
I liked how the POV would switch from the main character (Mark Watney), to the other astronauts or the people at NASA. We were constantly being informed and involved on what was happening both in space and on Earth and so between Watney’s multiple near death crisis’ and the panic below of a human stuck in space with no scheduled mission for another four years, plus the guilt and sadness of the other astronauts trying to get home, thinking their friend was dead there wasn’t a dull moment.
There is a lot of science and maths in this book but what I love is that everything is explained in some way. Mark Watney is writing down his experience for anyone who might happen upon it one day, while still striving for survival. Because of this he writes for the people of NASA but also anyone else, because of this he easily explains what his calculations mean or sometimes he will skip over them and just give us an overview – which is usually very sarcastic and very funny and very good for me seeing as I am not very scientific in the slightest, even less-so when it comes to mathematics!
That’s the other brilliant thing about this book, the character. All the characters are great and some even develop over the course of the book. No character is perfect, which I love. They all have their good points, they’re all intelligent however, there are also flaws to all of them which is great.
But let’s focus on Mark Watney. He has been left for dead on a planet where it’s very nature could kill him. He has to calculate risk to problems which arise, come up with solutions to water and food (remember, it’s another 4 years before the next mars mission, everyone thinks he’s dead and the mission he was on was supposed to last about 2 months) plus try to find a way to communicate with Earth. Throughout all of this he is funny, sarcastic, witty, intelligent, resourceful and tries to maintain a positive outlook. He has some strops which he then admits he’s got to stop and work the problem. And that’s the thing, he doesn’t give up. He works the problem, doesn’t work? Try again. Something goes wrong, something tries to kill him – well that didn’t work out as expected, what went wrong? Fix it, try again.
I can’t explain to you how fantastically funny this book is without giving anything away – although you probably already know seeing how long it’s been out – but the point is that someone being stranded on Mars should be devastating, yet he makes it sound like just another day at the office.
I’m trying to think of something I didn’t like about this book, I mean there was a part that got a little twisted.. just a little, but then I like twisted and even that was made light of later in the story.
If anyone has any tips on how to write a review, leave ’em in the comments because I’m just chatting with you guys, letting you know what I think and wondering what you think if you’ve read it, and if you haven’t then why not?
There are two things that I really loved (aside from all mentioned above). First of all was how once NASA found out (I really hope you’ve seen a trailer or something) most interdepartmental squabbling was put on the back burner, bureaucratic red tape was overlooked, billions of dollars were spent trying to get one man home and it was honestly uplifting. I know this is a fictional story however, I love to think that there is more good in the world than bad and that when something goes wrong mankind will ultimately band together and unite in support – no matter the disaster which occurs.
The second thing I love about this is that it was originally self-published. He first uploaded it chapter by chapter to his blog and then he made an Amazon Kindle version for 99 cents which rose to the top of Amazon’s bestselling science fiction titles. The audiobook and print rights have now been signed and sold to publishers and to top it all off it has been adapted into a movie directed by Ridley Scott and starred Matt Damon! How insane is that!
Whilst I’m talking about the film can I just say how impressed I am on how it stayed true, for the most part, to the original novel. Sure there were some bits left out and some added in and some changed entirely, it happens with all book-to-move adaptations but they kept in a lot of the original dialogue and scenarios for which I was pleasantly surprised.
If you managed to get this far down I applaud you, I’ve not written proper reviews before and clearly they need more work but I think you get the overall picture.
Personally I really enjoyed this book and would highly recommend.