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 the planet while thinking him dead, Mark finds himself stranded on Mars’ surface, completely alone, with no way to signal Earth that he’s alive — and even if he could get word out, his supplies would be gone years 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’s not ready to quit. Armed with nothing but his ingenuity and his engineering skills — and a gallows sense of humor that proves to be his greatest source of strength – he embarks on a dogged quest to stay alive, using his botany expertise to grow food and even hatching a mad plan to contact NASA back on Earth.
As he overcomes one seemingly insurmountable obstacle after the next, Mark begins to let himself believe he might make it off the planet alive – but Mars has plenty of surprises in store for him yet.
Grounded in real, present-day science from the first page to the last, yet propelled by a brilliantly ingenious plot that surprises the reader again and again, The Martian is a truly remarkable thriller: an impossible-to-put-down suspense novel that manages to read like a real-life survival tale.
I’m not going to lie: I picked up The Martian because of two reasons: Others thought the book was great and there’s a lot of buzz behind the movie starring Matt Damon. (The internet meme stating how Hollywood has spend a lot of money saving Matt Damon made me laugh. A lot.) I’ve yet to watch the movie (Kyle wanted to rent it but I told him I wanted to finish the book first), so I have nothing else to compare it to.
That being said, I am glad I did decide to pick it up and read it. It was pretty entertaining, and I found Mark Watney’s humour to be excellent. (Maybe that’s why the movie was in the Comedy category at the Golden Globes?) Even all the technical, nerdy, science talk didn’t bore me because the humour made it easier to “get.”
At first I thought The Martian was going to be just a day to day (or would it be sol-to-sol?) diary of Watney’s time on Mars. I was happy to read the “on earth” portions to help balance his story and bulk up the book. I found myself itching to reach the next section just to see how the folks at NASA reacted to what Watney was doing. It’s a definite page-turner and while the ending didn’t surprise me, some of the stuff that happens to Watney did. (Can’t the dude just catch a break?!)
I don’t want to spoil anything for anyone who hasn’t yet read or watched it, so I’ll wrap things up by saying that I’m looking forward to watching the movie. As for the book, I’m going to give it 4.5 stars out of 5. Why is it missing half a star? I wish we got to know more about Watney other than the simple fact that he has parents. The learned about the other astronaut’s families a little, so it was a bit of a let down that we didn’t get to know more about Watney’s.