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Book Review: The Martian

The Martian Book Cover The Martian
Andy Weir
Random House
August 27, 2015

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

“I’m pretty much fucked.”

The opening line above almost dissuaded me from reading the book, as it set the tone for a story that wasn’t going to end well. I’m glad I read more, as it was a fantastic story.

This book didn’t take long to read, probably about 6 hours or so in total. It was captivating, inspiring, and hard to put down. The book, for the most part, is written in the form of log entries by the main character, Mark Watney, who is stranded on Mars after an aborted mission.

In my opinion, that absolute best part of this book is Mark Watney, the main character. Even while all of these terrible things are happening to him, he stays optimistic throughout, and comes up with solutions to his problems. The other interesting thing about reading this book, and that the situations in the book do not seem far-fetched. It seems quite plausible that it could happen in the next 20 years or so. The author strives to create realistic situations, and employ as much science and math to suspend disbelief. I really liked this element of the book, as it gave a little bit of credit to the fiction.

After reading the book, I also saw the movie, and I was actually impressed. My biggest worry was that they wouldn’t be able to capture the character properly in the film, but I think this was done well.

I think anyone would enjoy this book.

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  1. Fully agree with your review. As well as the comment about the opening line. I don’t have a problem with rough language when you’ve set the reader up for it, but I’ll bet thousands of sales have foundered because of this opening. His agent should have taken the author to the side and said, “Change this, or I’ll have Guido persuade you.”

    From a purely business standpoint, having that line first was nuts.