Martian, The

Andy Weir
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?

Reviews

Reviewed: 2018-01-25
I LOVED this book.

Even though I saw the movie before reading the book, I feel like I have a lot to wrap my head around.

Science fiction is not my favorite of all favorite genres because it gets really technical.  I love the ideas, but when you get too explainy with the science, my brain turns to mush.  This is possibly the most explanation-heavy science fiction book ever.  I’m serious.  There is SO much time spend talking about chemistry and engineering and botany and hypotheticals and jet propulsion and… so much science.  At least 75% of the book is explanations.

BUT.

The other 25% of the book is the wonderfulness that is Mark Watney.

Without Mark Watney, this book would be nothing.

It is his snark and optimistic pessimism that keeps this story from being an interaction manual for survival on Mars (under the luckiest of circumstances).  The challenge Andy Weir faced in writing this book is making a character so likable that not only is the reader rooting for his survival, but the reader doesn’t second guess when other decide to devote so much risk, time, and money to his rescue.  Mark is absolutely that character.

Mark isn’t all science.  He is smart and well-studied – that’s abundantly clear.  He also is real.  You find him contemplating Aquaman and declaring himself a pirate.  He gets such glee when he learns from his alma mater that he has technically colonized the planet, so he’s the original Martian.  I won’t say much more here about his quips, because they take you by surprise and make you laugh out loud.  I don’t want to spoil them for anyone, but rest assured, he’s a great character.

His odds of survival were astronomical.

I think that the author/character acknowledges this fairly well with the opening line of the book.  I mean, when you open a novel and the first sentence is “I’m fucked.” you know that something really terrible has gone down and we’re in a bad situation.  Before nearly every experiment, Mark talks about how he’s probably going to die, but what the hell?  Literally every single odd would have to be in his favor for him to get off Mars, and there’s a lot of criticism in the reviews about it.  Okay, I agree.  The chances of these things happening in real life are basically zero.

You know what else?  This is fiction.

I for one would have been miffed if Mark died to make this “more realistic” for a small slice of the populace.

10/10 read this book.

When it was published, The Martian got a lot of hype and you may recall the movie starring Matt Damon from 2015?  The movie does a fantastic job representing the book with a few minor changes to move things along or make it a wee bit more exciting.  But this book has so many more laugh out loud moments.  Don’t get me wrong – Damon was perfection.  But read the book as well or you’re missing out.  The scientific jargon is easy enough to power through and it’s told mostly in Mark’s voice, so it’s easy to read and interwoven with predictions of his own death and random sarcastic comments that will make you chuckle.

Read the book.  See the film.  They’re both worth your time.

Reviewed: 2018-01-25
Eine Marsmission. Ein Unfall. Ein Mann kpft ums erleben. Mark Watney muss alleine am Mars erleben. Ihm stellt sich nicht nur die Toilet of Doom entgegen, sondern viele widrige Umstde der marsianischen Natur... Andy Weir liefert ein Meisterwerk der Science-Fiction. Ein Buch das man nicht weglegen kann... http://www.weberseite.at/buecher/the-martian-andy-weir/
Reviewed: 2017-08-29
Book Description 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? Editorial Reviews Amazon.com Review 8 Tips for Surviving on Mars from Andy Weir So you want to live on Mars. Perhaps it's the rugged terrain, beautiful scenery, or vast natural landscape that appeals to you. Or maybe you're just a lunatic who wants to survive in a lifeless barren wasteland. Whatever your reasons, there are a few things you should know: 1: You're going to need a pressure vessel. Mars's atmospheric pressure is less than one percent of Earth's. So basically, it's nothing. Being on the surface of Mars is almost the same as being in deep space. You better bring a nice, sturdy container to hold air in. By the way, this will be your home forever. So try to make it as big as you can. 2: You're going to need oxygen. You probably plan to breathe during your stay, so you'll need to have something in that pressure vessel. Fortunately, you can get this from Mars itself. The atmosphere is very thin, but it is present and it's almost entirely carbon dioxide. There are lots of ways to strip the carbon off carbon dioxide and liberate the oxygen. You could have complex mechanical oxygenators or you could just grow some plants. 3: You're going to need radiation shielding. Earth's liquid core gives it a magnetic field that protects us from most of the nasty crap the sun pukes out at us. Mars has no such luxury. All kinds of solar radiation gets to the surface. Unless you're a fan of cancer, you're going to want your accommodations to be radiation-shielded. The easiest way to do that is to bury your base in Martian sand and rocks. They're not exactly in short supply, so you can just make the pile deeper and deeper until it's blocking enough. 4: You're going to need water. Again, Mars provides. The Curiosity probe recently discovered that Martian soil has quite a lot of ice in it. About 35 liters per cubic meter. All you need to do is scoop it up, heat it, and strain out the water. Once you have a good supply, a simple distillery will allow you to reuse it over and over. 5: You're going to need food. Just eat Martians. They taste like chicken. 6: Oh, come on. All right, all right. Food is the one thing you need that can't be found in abundance on Mars. You'll have to grow it yourself. But you're in luck, because Mars is actually a decent place for a greenhouse. The day/night cycle is almost identical to Earth's, which Earth plants evolved to optimize for. And the total solar energy hitting the surface is enough for their needs. But you can't just grow plants on the freezing, near-vacuum surface. You'll need a pressure container for them as well. And that one might have to be pretty big. Just think of how much food you eat in a year and imagine how much space it takes to grow it. Hope you like potatoes. They're the best calorie yield per land area. 7: You're going to need energy. However you set things up, it won't be a self-contained system. Among other things, you'll need to deal with heating your home and greenhouse. Mars's average daily temperature is -50C (-58F), so it'll be a continual energy drain to keep warm. Not to mention the other life support systems, most notably your oxygenator. And if you're thinking your greenhouse will keep the atmosphere in balance, think again. A biosphere is far too risky on this scale. 8: You're going to need a reason to be there. Why go out of your way to risk your life? Do you want to study the planet itself? Start your own civilization? Exploit local resources for profit? Make a base with a big death ray so you can address the UN while wearing an ominous mask and demand ransom? Whatever your goal is, you better have it pretty well defined, and you better really mean it. Because in the end, Mars is a harsh, dangerous place and if something goes wrong you'll have no hope of rescue. Whatever your reason is, it better be worth it. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition. From Booklist Remember Man Plus, Frederik Pohl's award-winning 1976 novel about a cyborg astronaut who's sent, alone, to Mars? Imagine, instead, that the astronaut was just a regular guy, part of a team sent to the red planet, and that, through a series of tragic events, he's left behind, stranded and facing certain death. That's the premise of this gripping and (given its subject matter) startlingly plausible novel. The story is told mostly through the log entries of astronaut Mark Watney, chronicling his efforts to survive: making the prefab habitat livable and finding a way to grow food, make water, and get himself off the planet. Interspersed among the log entries are sections told from the point of view of the NASA specialists, back on Earth, who discover that Watney is not dead (as everyone assumed) and scramble together a rescue plan. There are some inevitable similarities between the book and the 1964 movie Robinson Crusoe on Mars, but where the movie was a broad sci-fi adventure, the novel is a tightly constructed and completely believable story of a man's ingenuity and strength in the face of seemingly insurmountable odds. Riveting. --David Pitt --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
Reviewed: 2017-07-10

I loved this book. Mark is just so funny and the story is so compelling that it's hard to stop reading. You just can't wait to hear the next joke and to figure out how he's going to get himself out of his newest problem. 

Reviewed: 2017-02-13

Gripping, high-technical, and sometimes funny account of one man's attempt to survive on Mars for an extended period and make it back to Earth.

Reviewed: 2016-10-19
"The Martian" by Andy Weir is a science fiction based novel that tells the epic story of an astronaut and botanist named Mark Watney whom becomes stuck and abandoned on the planet Mars by his crewmates after the Ares 3 mission. The story serves a much different purpose than most in the Language Arts content area because this one cross references subject areas of Math and Science, which is great to grab the attention of studnets who are looking for something different to read than what they're typically used to. In addition, the tone of the novel is a humurous one, thus being very unlikely and unexpected than thought of originally by the reader due to the situation at hand. However, Mark's character surely entertains the reader. In the classroom, students will be exposed to different types of literature while reading this novel, due to the scientific terms and references the book uses. By using articles from National Geographic, Scholastic, Scope Magazine, Time for Kids, etc., students will become more acclomated with the scientific theme this novel incorporates. As a future teacher, I would assign the students a research lesson on the mission of the Pathfinder and write a report on it as well as create a sketch of it included in the report.
Reviewed: 2016-02-08
All the science is very believable, and Watney has a great sense of humor. It's nice to see a story that doesn't bend logic for drama (you don't really need to in the right environment), and doesn't make the main character some unattainable symbol. He's not always right, he's not always sure, but he's smart, funny, and resourceful and above all, I could see him existing.
Reviewed: 2015-10-18

I liked that his journal entries sounded like blog posts instead of dry scientific jar-gon. It really helped his personality come through, and when it's one man against the world (literally) personality goes a long way. I liked that he was funny, but in surgically precise amounts, not an over-the-top always-on goofball. He was a multi-layered human character, who accidentally made trouble for himself (as do we all, some days).

Minor plot spoiler but not really[: why would NASA pack the emergency supply pod with protein bars from the grocery store? Do they not already have a supply of space food on hand? How hard is it to make that dehydrated stuff? I felt like that was a seriously weak plot contrivance.

Also, I know NASA and JPL are populated with plenty of geniuses to get things done, but I still kind of expected a solution to come from crowdsourcing. I mean, if everyone in the world, or even just the US, is into the Mark Watley show, lots of people are going to be thinking about his predicament and throwing around ideas and solutions.

At least there weren't any jokes about Chinese take-out when the booster delivered the supplies to Hermes. (hide spoiler)]


Having just finished Seveneves, I see a lot of similarities between the two, although Stephenson's book is much more Epic; it was also a harder read than The Martian, and I found I had to take breaks to either process some of Stephenson's ideas, or to step away from the Drama. With the Martian, you get Action and Adventure and a story starring Mars' Luckiest Man Alive.

Item Posts
@kpdickinson
@kpdickinson completed #martiananovelthe... on 2016-05-27
@kpdickinson
@kpdickinson began #martiananovelthe... on 2016-05-16
@ruthy
@ruthy completed #martiananovelthe... on 2018-04-13
@ruthy
@ruthy began #martiananovelthe... on 2018-04-11
@ruthy
@ruthy completed #martiananovelthe... on 2018-04-13
@ruthy
@ruthy began #martiananovelthe... on 2018-04-11
@mnakashige
@mnakashige completed #martiananovelthe... on 2018-03-12
@morteana
@morteana completed #martianthe... on 2017-09-18
@morteana
@morteana began #martianthe... on 2017-09-18
@mnakashige
@mnakashige began #martiananovelthe... on 2018-01-20
@kristinawithak
@kristinawithak completed #martiananovelthe... on 2015-07-29
@kristinawithak
@kristinawithak began #martiananovelthe... on 2015-02-05
@lyz2288
@lyz2288 completed #martiananovelthe... on 2017-11-25
@powerawbs
@powerawbs completed #martiananovelthe... on 2016-10-09
@lyz2288
@lyz2288 began #martiananovelthe... on 2017-09-06