The Martian by Andy Weir
Also by this author: Artemis
Published by Crown Publishing Group on February 11th, 2014
Genres: Science Fiction
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
If Bill Nye the Science Guy and McGyver could devise a way to create a love child (and keep in mind, it Bill Nye the SCIENCE GUY AND McGYVER!! They would totally find away), well then that love child would be Mark Watney. He is faced with a constant barrage of problems, and continually finds some way (usually unconventional way, but sometimes very McGyver, throw some duct tape on it way) to beat the odds and to defeat Mars with his fight to survive. They are most assuredly almost never anything NASA would approve of. But hey, when you’re stuck on a planet all alone, and it’s your life on the line? Guess what? You get to call the shots.
A little background about Mark, he’s a botanist/mechanical engineer/astronaut. His latest mission made him the 17th person to set foot on Mars. But after some quite unfortunate events, his crew needs to evacuate and indications led them to believe Watney was killed in an accident, there’s really no choice. They have to leave him behind. He’s dead anyway, right? And if they don’t leave immediately, they’ll get to join them as the 2nd – 6th person to die on Mars.
Well, it’s not hard to guess, Mark is not dead (this is not a spoiler! It’s the entire premise of the book and in the blurb. :P) So, this means he is left on Mars, completely alone. Without provisions to last long enough until the next planned Mars mission. And with no other way to leave, Mark struggles to survive against this planet that is constantly trying to kill him (his words, pretty much).
His attitude is sarcastic and at times irreverent. He’s the type of person that uses humor to alleviate stress, and being left on a frozen, inhospitable, airless desert planet? Completely alone? Well, yeah, needless to say, we get to see a good bit of his stress humor. A random example, is that he assumes people back on earth have convened to watch him via satellite at http://watch-mark-watney-die.com.
Watney’s sections of the book are told as journal entries letting us see the time progression. We also get sections from NASA back here on earth as everyone scrambles to try and find a way to save him. And we get a bit of his crew. I actually liked getting the bits from NASA mixed in. It helped break the book up, gave us a little different perspective.
Quite a fun read. The Martian, while full of stress and humor, is also full of hope and pursuit of survival despite the seeming futility of the effort. And, did I mention, it’s fun?