The Martian

By Andy Weir

Review by Mitch Burns


the-martian

It’s the 6th day, or Sol, after the Ares 3 manned mission to Mars has arrived on the Red Planet. A brutal dust storm hits the crew and they must evacuate, abandon their mission early and return home. During the evacuation, Astronaut Mark Watney is struck with an antenna, blown away from his group. Watney’s bio-monitor computer is destroyed, the crew can only assume Mark is dead and they must leave the planet.

The Ares 3 crew leaves Mars, stranding a very much alive Mark Watney. Survival looks bleak for Mark, his crew thinks he is dead, he can’t contact NASA and no one will be visiting Mars again until the Ares 4 mission in a few years, long after Mark’s food has run out.

The Martian is a story of one man, going against all odds and trying to survive. The author, Andy Weir, couldn’t have written a better main character. Mark Watney is hopeful and cheerful protagonist, someone who is very easy to root for. Weir has added a good amount of humor as well, the characters of Watney and Annie Montrose, add some good bits of humor in unexpected forms. A book like this could be depressing and a slog without hopeful and humorous characters to lead the way.

My advice to you? Keep reading! I almost quit reading The Martian as it can often be very scientific. It goes on long tangents, and I found myself close to blacking out at times. The lead character is a Botanist and Mechanical Engineer, so it gets technical on both fronts. especially in the first few chapters the book explains certain aspects, I don’t know who this is for, a lot of it is over my head.

This is something that really aids The Martian though, Andy Weir is one smart cracker. He knows what he’s talking about, and what he doesn’t know, he must have put in a lot of research. It’s mind boggling, the amount of research that must have gone into The Martian. If Weir and the book have a flaw, its that he may isolate some readers because of this, but push through, skim a paragraph or two, and move on, it’s worth it.

The cast of characters are interesting, and ethnically diverse, with a plethora of personalities. Weir knows when to cut to certain characters and when to write things differently. The book starts out in journal format, Mark Watney is making logs on the ships computer, and just when you think the whole book is going to be told in a journal-like first person format, it cuts to NASA, and a third person format. It adds a layer to the book, and keeps things interesting and fun.

The Martian will be released a movie in October of 2015, the cast includes Matt Damon as Mark Watney, Jessica Chastain, Kate Mara, Michael Pena, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Kristen Wiig and many more. I’m not sold on Damon as Watney, I’ve never enjoyed him too much, and I don’t see him being able to pull of the comedic to serious juxtaposition. I’ll see it before I judge, as I still am looking forward to it.

Grade: A


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