“Wow” is was the only word I could come up with to describe Andy Weir’s latest novel. The Martian tells the story of Mark Watney. Watney is a botanist turned astronaut who became one of the first people to walk on Mars. He also wound up being the first person to spend a substantial amount of time on Mars. “What do you mean substantial” you might ask. Well, after a dust storm forces him and his crew to retreat from one of their surface missions, Watney is struck by a piece of debris and is left for dead. His crew, not knowing he was still alive, left Mark on Mars while they got off the planet before their ship could be destroyed. Mark, as mentioned, wasn’t dead and was forced to take refuge on an alien planet, hoping to make contact with Earth and hoping he could make his supplies last.
The Martian is a cosmic survival story, told from the perspective (for the most part) of the stranded Mark Watney. Author Andy Weir goes to great lengths to provide the reader with the most realistic story possible. Through endless amounts of research, Weir utilizes scientific babble (to me, the most unscientific person you could ever meet) in a way that doesn’t turn the reader away. While you may never actually know what kinds of machines Mark is using or plant growing process he is performing, the science plays second fiddle to to overall story. Andy Weir manages to create a heart stopping tale of man against his surroundings, or lack thereof. Stranded on a planet where he can’t leave his living quarters without a spacesuit, Mark Watney does everything he can to survive Mars.
You don’t need to be a science fiction nerd to enjoy this story. Weir humorously catalogs the daily struggle for survival. If you’re looking for a book to keep you up at night, this is the one. Magnificent storytelling.
*I received this book in hardcover from Blogging for Books.*