Title: The Martian
Author: Andy Weir
Genre: Science Fiction
Date: 2015 (2011)
Publisher: Del Ray
Started: 1st January 2017
Completed: 8th January 2017
Summary: I’m stranded on Mars. I have no way to communicate with Earth. I’m in a Habitat designed to last 31 days.
If the Oxygenator breaks down, I’ll suffocate. If the Water Reclaimer breaks down, I’ll die of thirst. If the Hab breaches, I’ll just kind of explode. If none of those things happen, I’ll eventually run out of food and starve to death.
So yeah. I’m screwed.
The Martian was Andy Weir’s debut novel and it is a scientifically-accurate (or as close as possible to being accurate) science fiction novel. Weir hasn’t released another novel yet but is said to be working on another scientifically-accurate novel set on the Moon.
The Martian was adapted into a film in 2015 and it was directed by Ridley Scott. The film stars Matt Damon, Sebastian Stan, and Jessica Chastain. It was nominated for seven Academy Awards. I haven’t seen the film yet because I wanted to read the book first but now I can watch it.
The plot of The Martian is fantastic. Mark Watney, a botanist, gets stranded on Mars with no way to communicate with Earth. He would die if not for his ingenuity and his strength of character. The novel is about his struggles to overcome the barriers that he faces at every turn and ultimately get back to Earth. There are several tense moments within the novel where you genuinely feel like hope may be lost and when I read the final few chapters I was on edge because I was so worried about what would happen. It’s a fantastic ending though and I enjoyed the whole of the plot.
I liked Weir’s writing style a lot. I was very impressed by the science behind the novel because it seemed plausible to me. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a scientist, I’m just a nerd with a huge interest in things like this. I was just so glad that it was realistic because that made the book so much more interesting and enjoyable. I also enjoyed the shifts between Mark’s first person narrative in his logs and the third person point of view of NASA.
The book is about human resilience as Mark Watney must survive being stranded on Mars. His strength of character allows him to power through the loneliness and get on with contacting Earth and growing crops. Mark shows how strong a human’s will to survive is. He’s also very funny. Most of his humour is self-deprecating and he’s occasionally immature but I imagine that you’d need a sense of humour to live through a situation like this. Mark never gives up hope even when everything goes wrong and I think that he’s a symbol for humanity.
The supporting characters are also very interesting. I loved the personalities of the other astronauts because they all had their little quirks that made them unique but they’re a team that work well together. I can’t even pick a favourite because they’re all fantastic characters. I also found that scientists who worked at NASA were very well written. You see certain characters, such as Mindy, grow in the novel and I didn’t expect there to be so much character development in the supporting characters.
I’d thoroughly recommend this book to anyone. I don’t think you even have to be a science fiction fan to enjoy this book because it’s not just about the science. Although the science is pretty heavy at times this book is lighthearted and emotional and wonderful.
I really loved this book. It was such a fantastic read. I hope Weir’s next novel is as good as this one.