The Martian - Andy Weir

Genre: Science Fiction
Synopsis: Six days ago, astronaut Mark Watney became one of the first men to walk on the surface of Mars. Now, he's sure he'll be the first man to die there. A dust storm holed his suit and nearly killed him, and forced his crew to leave him behind, sure he was dead. Now he's stranded millions of miles from the nearest human being, with no way to even signal Earth that he's alive. But Mark isn't ready to give up yet. Drawing on his ingenuity he steadfastly confronts one seemingly insurmountable obstacle after the next. But will his resourcefulness be enough to overcome the impossible odds against him?


Review: This novel blasted off with no problems, and didn't land far from perfect. (I'm so sorry.) It starts off relatively simple, being composed of Mark's log entries as he attempts to document for posterity his attempt to survive. The entries are written in a fairly humorous, relatively light-hearted way. If Mark's optimism and drive to succeed ever briefly fail him, it's never apparent in his journal and that makes it a very easy read, even if a significant part of the book is comprised of logical deductions and mathematical explanations. Don't let that put you off, though - while the style may not be to everyone's taste, it's certainly not scientifically heavy or intellectually challenging stuff, featuring Watney-made measurement units named pirate-ninjas, and otherwise clear explanations. It's designed to be a (somewhat) credible novel at a level accessible for enjoyment, even, I suspect, by people not usually into sci-fi.

There were many moments I laughed out loud right from the outset ("The Fix-It Man Who Played With Plants" would have made an excellent alternative title, in my opinion), and I have to say that even if all the other characters in the novel (the crew of the ship who left him behind, the people on earth who realise Mark is still alive) are a bit flat, Mark more than makes up for it with his relentlessly good-natured personality and outright cleverness in the face of apparent doom. The novel expands outward from a mere set of journal entries to something quite vast and exciting - which I'll leave to the reader to discover. Suffice it to say, the 400+ pages of this book are sufficiently packed with action and disaster to keep you turning them to the very last one.

The film adaptation is, naturally, already on the way, and I think it's gonna be a good one.
Edited to add: Yes, the film turned out to be good. Not perfect, but worth a watch.

Rating: 5/5

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