Summary: Apollo 13 meets Cast Away in this grippingly detailed, brilliantly ingenious man-vs-nature survival thriller, set on the surface of Mars.
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.
It started with the dust storm that holed his suit and nearly killed him, and that forced his crew to leave him behind, sure he was already dead. Now he’s stranded millions of miles from the nearest human being, with no way to even signal Earth that he’s alive–and even if he could get word out, his food would be gone years before a rescue mission 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 get 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. But will his resourcefulness be enough to overcome the impossible odds against him?
Source: I received a paperback from Blogging For Books in exchange for an honest review.
The Martian was an incredible story of survival with just enough sarcasm and black humor to make it one of the most enjoyable books I’ve read so far this year. I was on the fence about this book because I knew it was about one guy who was stranded on Mars. I thought it would be dramatic and ridiculous. But when I saw the blurb from Ernest Cline, author of Ready Player One, which was one of the most fun books I read last year, I knew I was wrong about The Martian being dull. True to his quote, The Martian was funny in a way I never would have expected and it made all the difference in the world.
The summary/synopsis for the book is so incredibly misleading and way too serious. The Martian was funny and brilliant and not quite the dramatic and serious survival thriller described.
Mark Watney was left for dead when a sandstorm caused problems during his manned mission on Mars. His crew left, thinking he was dead. But convenient circumstances led to Watney surviving. He was the crew’s botanist and engineer and had to rig up the few supplies left to help keep him alive. He knew the next manned mission would take 4 years. So he just had to make it that long.
The Martian wasn’t a heartwarming and serious story of survival.. thankfully. It wasn’t depressing or tough, even though times were difficult and shit went wrong. Watney approached every problem with a sarcastic attitude and his personality made for an entertaining book. Who else could go through the details of how he would create a potato farm without boring the reader? He made it so much fun. And anyone who is familiar with engineering and being hands on knows the struggle of doing things the way that makes sense versus doing things the way a handful of guys in suits at a table says it should be done, so Watney’s “go F yourself attitude towards NASA cracked me up.
Seriously, The Martian was incredible. Mark Watney was a character the world was rooting for. I loved the way he handled his situation. He could narrate his whole boring life anywhere and it would be the funniest shit I’ve ever read. But I do love that the story took place on Mars, as any lover of science fiction has a certain fondness for the planet. It’s where we’ve always imagined our astronauts going. The Martian was refreshing science fiction and I highly recommend it to any fan of the genre or even fans of humorous narratives. Still, regardless of how you feel about science fiction, Mars, or space, I think The Martian is enjoyable all around. I had so much fun reading it.
I’m not conveying my love of Mark Watney enough. To get an idea of what made him such a likable character, I’m posting a handful of quotes. He tops the list of my favorite male characters ever.
The first line of the book is, “I’m pretty much fucked.”
“If the oxygenator breaks down, I’ll suffocate. If the water reclaimer breaks down, I’ll die of thirst. If the Hab breaches, I’ll just kind of explode. If none of those things happen, I’ll eventually run out of food and starve to death. So yeah. I’m fucked.”
“The screen went black before I was out of the airlock. Turns out the “L” in “LCD” stands for “Liquid.” I guess it either froze or boiled off. Maybe I’ll post a consumer review. “Brought product to surface of Mars. It stopped working. 0/10.”
“I need to ask myself, ‘What would an Apollo astronaut do?’ He’d drink three whiskey sours, drive his Corvette to the launchpad, then fly to the moon in a command module smaller than my Rover. Man those guys were cool.”
“What must it be like?” he pondered. “He’s stuck out there. He thinks he’s totally alone and that we all gave up on him. What kind of effect does that have on a man’s psychology?” He turned back to Venkat. “I wonder what he’s thinking right now.” LOG ENTRY: SOL 61 How come Aquaman can control whales? They’re mammals! Makes no sense.”
“They say once you grow crops somewhere, you have officially ‘colonized’ it. So technically, I colonized Mars.
In your face, Neil Armstrong!” “
I’ll spend the rest of the evening enjoying a potato. And by ‘enjoying’ I mean ‘hating so much I want to kill people.’”
“In other news, It’s seven sols till the harvest, and I still haven’t prepared. For starters, I need to make a hoe. Also, I need to make an outdoor shed for the potatoes. I can’t just pile them up outside. The next major storm would cause The Great Martian Potato Migration.”