Martian: A Novel, 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?


Reviewed: 2019-05-08
This is a fantastic book. Interestingly, it's very hard sci-fi but reads like an action thriller. A lot of that comes down to the Everyman main character. His gallows humor and real reactions to the situations he faces make him likable and relatable.

The detailed science is never over-explained but is detailed enough for those folks who want to make sure it would all really work. There is not as much discussion here of the psychological effects this situation would have on a person except to say up front that our hero is particularly well-adapted to the situation.

That's a bit of a cop out but the story doesn't suffer for it. I doubt the book would be as interesting if this guy moped around a lot. Instead, he works every day to stay alive.

My favorite part of this book is how deftly the author handles the dramatic irony of the situation. The main character doesn't know what NASA knows. NASA doesn't know what he knows. But the reader knows everything and yet there is genuine surprise and tension with the plot. An amazing feat of writing.
Reviewed: 2019-01-12
Reviewed: 2018-12-26
It's hard to write a review for this book in an objective fashion. I was warned and will warn you--it will drag you in and keep you until it is done. Block out about 12 hours for it. Expect to put "necessary" functions (eating, sleeping, etc) on hold. Yes, I've seen the movie. No, that fact did not make the book any less gripping.

Mark Watney is a great character and narrator. I'd hang out with him. Mark has a pretty colorful vocabulary so, if you're squeamish about profanity, you should brace yourself but it's not really excessive for the situation. Pacing is good, drag is minimal--which is impressive as it is sci-fi as I define it: explaining most all of the things and how they work. Setting is visually spare in description but the explanation of all of the things still illustrates all of the important things.

All things being considered, Read This Book.
Reviewed: 2018-06-03
An awesome story about one quirky man's survival on Mars. A great read that will make you laugh and possibly tear up. Couldn't recommend this title enough.
Reviewed: 2018-01-25
Eine Marsmission. Ein Unfall. Ein Mann kämpft ums Überleben. Mark Watney muss alleine am Mars überleben. Ihm stellt sich nicht nur die Toilet of Doom entgegen, sondern viele widrige Umstände der marsianischen Natur... Andy Weir liefert ein Meisterwerk der Science-Fiction.

Ein Buch das man nicht weglegen kann...
Reviewed: 2017-08-26
Absolutely hilarious!! Mark Watney is a wonderful character who overcomes life threatening situations by being both smart and a smartass. I loved the technical details and carefully researched mathematics, and the near constant optimism of Watney. Some feel that other characters in the novel were too flat, but I felt there was just enough detail to be interesting without drawing the focus away from Mark's central struggle. One of my favorite books I've ever read.
Reviewed: 2017-01-29
Not sure I would classify this as a "thriller," but it was certainly thrilling. Very gripping. Moments of funny, too.

The excessive cursing didn't bother me nearly as much as the casual sexist, etc., jokes that were tossed around by Watney. These low-hanging fruit jokes made me wonder why I was cheering for Watney not to die at times. Even things like describing how he screamed like a little girl got under my skin. Docked off .5 stars for that.

The other questionable choice that irked me was the switch to third person omniscient narrator at points. Why were these passages being told to me? Who wrote them? Why do they care? Really took me out of the story. Docked off point-something-or-other points for that, too. (I'd say my overall review is like 4.2 stars.)
Reviewed: 2017-01-02
Exactly why I would never want to go to Mars With all the talk of sending someone (or someones) to Mars on a one-way, never come back trip, The Martian seemed like a good pick up. Mark Watney has just been stranded on Mars. His crew thinks he's dead. NASA has assumed he is a loss. Turns out, he's alive, and alone on Mars until the next scheduled mission, which is unfortunately several years away, long after Mark is likely to starve, fall ill, suffer a catastrophic failure of his equipment, etc.
But it turns out our hero is pluckier than the odds take him for. What follows is over a year (I guess in Martian time?) of how Mark defies the odds and sets about surviving until NASA can figure out a way to get him home again. We watch as he has to figure out food, water, shelter, how to communicate with NASA, etc.
At times it's interesting (perhaps a foreshadowing of what someone might have to do if they go to Mars?), but sometimes it's a tough read. Some of it seemed very technical and technobabbly (to borrow a term from Star Trek) and I admit to skipping over sections where Mark is describing what he's doing with the equipment. Some of it is interesting (for example, describing how he's using his own poop as manure). Sometimes it's tedious, but then again he's the only person on Mars for quite a long time.
However, some of this brings up some weaknesses. Sometimes I felt the other characters were fairly uninteresting (although the majority of the action takes place form Mark's POV, so we wouldn't really know what NASA people are thinking or the the thoughts of his crewmates). I also found it interesting that Mark's personality doesn't appear to change. Despite living in such dire circumstances, he never appears to lose his humor. I don't know if this is due to NASA's psychological screening of its candidates or if it's a washed up, cleaned up version of the story.
I also felt the ending was quite sudden. Without giving it away, I wanted to know more about what happened. Although I could understand how the author could end it at that point (as in a way it does fit with the title), but at the same time there's a lot of questions. For example, the sheer scale of involvement and taxpayer money going to save one man? Really? Which is not to say Mark should have been left by NASA to die (there would be no story after all), but I was surprised that there is no discussion of possible dissent in the decision to attempt a rescue.
Minor quibbles though, because again, this story is from the POV of a guy stuck on MARS, and he's not interested in political squabbling: he wants to go home! This is scheduled to be made into a movie for November 2015--I'm very interested to see how this will work (or not. I hope it does!)
It was a pleasant day's read and would be a good pick up for science-fiction/space travel people. Would recommend it for a commute or trip.
Reviewed: 2016-08-26
The Martian begins on Sol 6 (a “sol” is the length of day on Mars) with NASA astronaut Mark Watney’s first log entry after being left for dead on the Red Planet by the rest of the Ares 3 mission team. Mark understands that decision—the entire team could have died if they’d stayed behind—but he also understands that he’s not dead. Yet. Once he does the math–how much food he has, how long until the next Mars mission is scheduled–he sees that he’ll most likely get there eventually. However, Mark’s drive to survive, and the ingenuity he employs in applying his skills as an engineer and botanist to that goal, is a bit of a surprise to him. NASA’s eventual discovery that he’s still on Mars, and clearly not dead, is an even bigger surprise, and their necessary response to that discovery–finding a way to bring him home–will bring more surprises, some of which will be quite unwelcome.[return][return]MORE:
Reviewed: 2016-07-30
This is one of those sci fi books that lovers of science (and the more hard core sci fi readers) will love - totally plausible, you might expect to find an index at the back with all the relevant chemistry and maths equations. Or maybe footers on every page. For that reason it was pretty cool to begin with, but after a while the 'life-threatening and impossible to resolve problem -> highly creative technical solution' dynamic became a bit tiresome.
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