Review: The Martian by Andy Weir

September 14, 2015 2015 Review Challenge, 5 Stars, Audiobook, Book Review, classic sci-fi, Flights of Fantasy, recommendations, Science Fiction, Space & Aliens 0 ★★★★★

Review: The Martian by Andy Weir five-stars
The Martian by Andy Weir
Published by Podium Publishing on March 22, 2013
Genres: Science Fiction
Format: Audiobook
Length: 10 hours 53 minutes
Narrated by R.C. Bray
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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?

Wow.

I’ve been putting off reading The Martian for over a year now. Why? Because every.single.time I looked at the blurb or started the book, I would be instantly reminded of Don Cheadle in Mission to Mars. Then I’d think, “Hey! It’s Don Cheadle’s part of the story in Mission to Mars! Terrible movie.” and I’d move on.

All my friends read it and loved it. My husband read it and was bored shitless. I finally decided to read it because I’m now seriously exploring audio books. Hubby has this huge library of audio books (that I’ve purchased, lol) and I wanted to root around in there and see if I wanted to read any of it.

I caught The Martian staring at me. O_O Giving me the eye. So I decided to fire up The Martian and give it a whirl.

WOW.

I didn’t expect to love this book as much as I did. I don’t read as much straight Sci-Fi as I did when I was younger. I hardly read hard Sci-Fi at all. And yet, something about The Martian touched me right at the beginning and I was there with Mark Watney the whole way through.

There is a lot of science and a lot of math in The Martian. A LOT of science and a LOT of math. I excepted to be overwhelmed by the sheer amount of it (and I was a bit) the same way I was by the techno-babble in The Atrocity Archives. But I wasn’t. Surprisingly, after a very short amount of time I was able to let go of trying to agree with/understand the science and math as well as the character…and I started taking Mark’s word that he knew what he was talking about. Suddenly we were on Sol 197 and I realized that…Mark just might know what he was talking about. I mean, he was stuck on MARS and managed to stay alive that long. Soooo, maybe Mark is a tab bit better at this science/math/astronaut stuff than I am. LOL.

I’ve read a few reviews in which the reviewer lamented about the…lack of introspection that the reader gets from Mark. I thought about this – and those reviewers are right. There is little to no introspection in The Martian. We [the reader] know very little about Mark Watney: What are his hobbies? What is he feeling? What are his parents’ names? Does Mark have any siblings? Does he have a girlfriend? What digital entertainment did he bring to Mars? The reader knows much, much more about the other characters’ backgrounds than Watney’s. After some thought, I’ve come to the conclusion that this [lack of information/introspection] was a deliberate decision on the part of Andy Weir. The less we know about Watney, the more personal his struggle and journey becomes. The less we know about Watney, the more we picture ourselves in his predicament. The more that we pour of ourselves into the text, the greater our amazement at Watney’s strength, resilience, intelligence and even temper. I mean, Mark has to be so lonely but I do not recall a single moment in which Watney gives into despair – while being kept in solitary confinement has been known to break minds.

In a way, Weir created an Everyman for the current generation – but unlike Everyman, The Martian has a determined, unyeilding thread of hope woven through every line. Mark Watney was getting the fuck off of Mars and he was doing it ALIVE.

…every human being has a basic instinct to help each other out. It might not seem that way sometimes, but it’s true.

If a hiker gets lost in the mountains, people will coordinate a search. If a train crashes, people will line up to give blood. If an earthquake levels a city, people all over the world will send emergency supplies. This is so fundamentally human that it’s found in every culture without exception. Yes, there are assholes who just don’t care, but they’re massively outnumbered by the people who do.

I loved this book. I’m so going to see the movie. I’ve also managed to send an email to the author begging his autograph – those that know me know this is not my typical, lol.

Yeah, as if it needed to be said: Strongly Recommended!

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