Read The Martian by Andy Weir Online


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 supplieSix 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?...

Title : The Martian
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9781101903582
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 369 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

The Martian Reviews

  • Will Byrnes
    2018-08-02 07:53

    I’m pretty much fucked.Ok, show of hands. How many of you have uttered these exact words? (or words to that effect). Not everyone? I see we have some liars out there. How many have said them at least twice? Three times? Four? Those with hands still up, you probably need to make some adjustments to your approach, find a safer line of work, hobbies that do not entail long drops, stop trying the weekly specials at McBlowfish, or seek out people to date who are into less extreme…um…sports. These are the opening words of The Martian. Astronaut Mark Watney is definitely more screwed than most of us have ever been. Dude missed his ride and there will not be another along for, oh, four years. Supplies on hand were only meant to cover a few weeks, maybe months. And that Martian atmosphere is definitely no fun, lacking stuff like, oh, breathable air, and a reasonable range of temperature. It does, offer, however, extremely harsh (good for scouring that burned on gunk from sauce pans) and long-lasting (as in months) dust storms. And if that was not enough he faces an array of other challenges. unfriendly locals No, Kibby (the 12-year-old kibitzer who infects my brain), no Mars Attacks brain beasts, or that other guy, even though I know he is your favorite. Real challenges. For example, the music he has for his stay consists of disco. The viewing options include 70s TV. Most of us might give serious consideration to minimizing the guaranteed pain, frustration, starvation and inevitable death by, maybe, taking a short hustle outside sans that special suit. It would be a very, very short last dance. Watney is either a cock-eyed optimist or an idiot. I'm going with the former, as he is indeed made of the right stuff. He is armored and well supplied with the sort of can-do designer genes that might make the rest of us feel like the can’t-do sorts we are. He is the poster boy for positive attitude. It does not hurt that he is way smart, with expertise in a wide-enough range of things scientific to matter. It does not hurt that he is an engineer who gets off on taking apart, putting back-together, figuring out, thinking through, testing, trying, and pushing envelopes. But his crew is headed home, and what hope is there, really?The Martian tells of Watney’s attempt to survive in a literally alien environment, using only the tools on hand and his wits. It is a gripping story with one of the most adorable heroes you are likely to encounter, on this planet or any other. (No, Kibby, not a kitten) How could you not root for a guy who scrapes through Thanksgiving dinner for potato parts to plant for food? Of course, one might think “been there, done that,” particularly as 1964’sRobin Crusoe on Marsoffered a retelling of Daniel Defoe’s classic tale in a more contemporary notion of a remote locale. A 1905 novel used a different classic traveler in the same sort of format. Of course those tellings had a lot more in common with the Barsoom of Edgar Rice Burroughs as seen by Frank Frazetta than they do with the vision we have of the Red Planet today, or, say, reality. RealityOr is it?One of these was a shot of you know where. The other was taken at Death Valley, which was used, BTW, in the filming of Robinson Crusoe on MarsMost of the tale is spent on Watney’s very compelling attempt to survive, going through all the challenges he faces trying to make air, preserve and maybe generate water, make his food last, get some sort of communication set up, deal with things like exploding air-locks, biblical level dust-storms, toppling ground-transport vehicles, you know, stuff, most of it life-threatening. The other end of things is how the folks on the ground deal with this GInornous OOPS. There are technical elements, of course but more interesting, for me, were the political considerations. To tell the crew or not? Imagine how bummed out, embarrassed, and guilty you might be on that ship (the Hermes) returning home, knowing you had left one behind. Might it affect your ability to take care of necessary business for the next bunch of months? Another question is whether to tell the public, and if so, when. How about getting help from other space-capable nations? Are any international dealings simple? There is also some in-house (NASA) staff maneuvering that is wonderful to see.Andy WeirIn her fabulous book on writing, Bird by Bird, Anne Lamott writesHaving a likeable narrator is like having a great friend whose company you love, whose mind you love to pick, whose running commentary totally holds your attention, who makes you laugh out loud…Probably the greatest strength of The Martian is the narration of Mark Watney. He is engaging and funny, optimistic and capable. I suppose there are some who might find him lacking in sharp edges, but I thought he worked great. Matt Damon as Mark Watney, enjoying the view– from the film. The new earth-based shooting location was Wadi Rum, Jordan. I am sure they did plenty of color adjustments in post, but boy-o-boy does this place look like an alien landscape. GripesYes, really, there is too much scientific detail. It is not that it is beyond the comprehension of a lot of readers (although it will skip by a fair number) it is the share of time, the number of pages, the sheer volume of obstacles to be overcome, and the very detailed explanation of so many of them that tilts the book a bit too much towards the MacGyver demo. Weir writes very well about the other elements of the story. Repetition of DANGER, WILL ROBINSON, with the subsequent amazingly clever repair du jour, does get a bit old after a while. I had to fight an urge to scan at times. But that is really it. Otherwise, The Martian is an absolute delight to read. Watney is lovable as well as capable, and makes excellent use of his sense of humor to look on the bright side of life, in a very dark circumstance. Whether he makes it out on time or not (not gonna spoil that one) you will cheer him on, hope for the best, and fly past those pages with considerable, if maybe not interplanetary, speed. Is there life on Mars? There will be while you read this book. Review posted – 1/16/15 Updated and trotted out there again on release of the film - 10/2/15 This review has been cross-posted on my site, Cootsreviews.comPublication date – self-pub in 2011 – Bought, edited and published by Crown 10/28/2014PS - Saw the film on 10/9/15 and it kicks ass! Go see it if you haven't already. It is very true to the book, with the improvement of not getting bogged down in details, has a great cast, looks amazing and does a fantastic job of promoting science. =============================EXTRA STUFFLinks to the author’s personal and FB pages. 5/24/16 - Weir wrote a short story prequel to The Martian, called Diary of an AssCan. I posted a review this week. It included a link to the story, so you can read it for yourself.Andy Weir’s second novel, Artemis, while, IMHO, not quite up to this one, is also pretty darned good.August, 2016 - At the Hugo awards Weir wins the John W, Campbell award for best new writer, and the screenplay for the film wins for Best Dramatic Presentation, long form The Martian Chronicles on GutenbergGullivar of Mars by Edwin Lester Linden Arnold on GutenbergFor a real Martian experience check out NASA’sMars page For a realer Martian experience, and ideal for those trying to keep one step ahead of creditors and/or the law, you might want to consider applying to be on a Mars mission, no joke. There is more on this project below but the above link is for the selection process, just in case you don’t mind a strictly one-way journey.A nifty article from the NY Times (10/5/15) about the woman at NASA responsible for seeing to it that we do not bring Earth germs you-know-where - Mars Is Pretty Clean. Her Job at NASA Is to Keep It That Way. - by Kenneth ChangI bet you thought I’d forgotten these guys. No chance! I just ran out of time to figure out how to stuff them into the review. So, sorry, I am stuffing them here. That sounds so wrong.If you want to experience Mars while still on earth, it is indeed possibleA general National Geo article on MarsPlanetary.Org has an excellent list of all Mars missions to date, and some that are in processWhen you are checking your ancestry some of that unusual DNA might come from a place, far, far away. Two scientists look at the unfortunately named notion of Panspermia, (view spoiler)[(the natural result of guys watching really good porn? A bad review of ineffectual seed? An unspeakable fried dish?) (hide spoiler)] which addresses the possibility that the genesis of life on Earth had its opening act elsewhere.If you want to know Who goes to Mars for the waters, the answer is yesAnd speaking of Eau d'Ares, a nifty article on the presence of H2OMG you know where, in the 9/28/15 article in the NY Times - by Kenneth Chang. Thanks to my pal, Henry B, for this refreshing item.8/31/16 - Another recommendation from the intrepid Henry B. Planning any long trips, HB? - How to Win Friends and Influence People (on Fake Mars) by Katie Rogers - New York TimesDownhill streaks indicate water has flowed - image from NY Times who got it from NASA who got it from JPLHere is a nifty article from The New Yorker, on work being done to cope with inter-planetary cabin fever. Moving to Mars: Preparing for the longest, loneliest voyage ever by Tom Kizzia - from the April 20, 2015 issue9/12/16 - If, like Quint, you think we're gonna need a bigger boat, to get to Mars that is, Jeff Bezos's Blue Origin company may have just the thing - Meet New Glenn, the Blue Origin Rocket That May Someday Take You to Space - By Daniel Victor for the New York Times9/27/16 - New York Times - Elon Musk’s Plan: Get Humans to Mars, and Beyond - by Kenneth Chang10/25/16 -National Geographic is producing a documentary series about our favorite red-tinted neighbor (no, not the lady across the way who got too much sun. Put those binoculars away NOW). Coverage in the latest issue includes a whole passel of things Martian. Enjoy. - Mars: Inside the High-Risk, High-Stakes Race to the Red PlanetFrom the August 2017 National Geographic - This Is What a Martian Looks Like—According to Carl Sagan - By Natasha DalyPainting by Douglas Chaffe- from the above NatGeo article9/17/17 - Washington Post re-printing an AP story -Mars Research Crew Emerges After 8 Months of Isolation - Caleb Jones12/16/17 - NY Times Sunday Review - Tim Kreider offers his take on why we should go Red - Earthlings, Unite: Let’s Go to MarsAll right. We’re all done now. You’d better get going or Marvin will lose his cool Oh, sorry Marvin, just one more thing, lists.FILMSAbbott and Costello go to MarsThe Angry Red PlanetBad Girls From MarsThe Brave Little Toaster Goes to MarsCapricorn OneDevil Girl From MarsDoomEmpire of DangerEscape From MarsFlight to MarsGhosts of MarsInvaders from MarsThe Last days on MarsLost on MarsMars Needs MomsMars Needs WomenMission to MarsRace to MarsRed PlanetRed Planet MarsRobinson Crusoe on MarsRocket ManRoving MarsSanta Claus Conquers the MartiansStrandedThe Terror from Beyond SpaceTotal RecallTV Programs Is There Life on Mars – PBSMy Favorite MartianLife On Mars – BritishLife on Mars – American Mars One– Proposed - (check this one out)Race to Mars Novels2312 – Kim Stanley RobinsonThe Barsoom Series by Edgar Rice Burroughs----- A Princess of Marson Gutenberg - and my review-----The Gods of Mars-----The Warlord of Mars-----Thuvia, Maid of Mars-----The Chessmen of Mars-----The Master Mind of Mars-----A Fighting Man of Mars-----Swords of Mars----- Synthetic Men of Mars -----Llana of Gathol-----John Carter of MarsBlades of Mars – Edward P. BradburyC.O.D Mars – E.C. TubbThe Caves of Mars – Emil PetajaChildren of Mars – Paul G DayCity of the Beast – Michael MoorcockThe Daughter of Mars – Thomas KeneallyThe Empress of Mars – Kage BakerFirst on Mars – Rex GordonIcehenge – Kim Stanley RobinsonLife on Mars – Jennifer BrownLife on Mars (a different one) – Jonathan StrahanThe Long Mars – Terry PratchettMars – Ben BovaMars is my Destination – Frank Belknap LongMars Plus – Frederick PohlThe Mars Trilogy – Kim Stanley Robinson-----Blue Mars-----Green Mars-----Red MarsMarsquakes – Kevin F. OwensThe Martian Chronicles – Ray BradburyMasters of the Pit – Michael MoorcockMoving Mars – Greg BearNo Man Friday – Rex GordonOld Mars – George R.R. MartinPacking for Mars – Mary Roach – ok, not a novelPodkayne of Mars - Robert HeinleinPrelude to Mars – Arthur C. ClarkePriests of Mars – Graham McNeillThe Road to Mars – Eric IdleThe Sands of Mars – Arthur C. ClarkeSebastian Of Mars – Al SarrantinoShadow Over Mars – Leigh BrackettSin in Space – Cyrill Judd (Cyril M. Kornbluth and Judith Merril)Stranger in a Strange Land – Robert HeinleinUrania – Camille FlammarionWhite Mars – Brian Aldiss ["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>

  • Davy-Gravy
    2018-07-26 09:51

    Unpopular opinion time: I don't like how this book is written. Watney's journals read like a nerdy blog rather than a dramatic survivor's diary. It's hard to find something harrowing and traumatic when the protagonist is saying "yay!" a lot and making incessant corny puns. "3.6 pirate-ninjas!" "Yay oxygen!" "Lol gay probe lol!!!!!1!" "Bad rover, no Scooby snack!!!111!" "LOL craaaaaaap!!1!" For me, those aren't funny, they're almost embarrassing.No matter what horrible thing is happening to Watney, he's sure to pull though, but not before laying a smug, cutesy zinger on us. It sucks all the tension out of any situation, which is the complete opposite of what I want in a book that's supposed to be a thriller.Now, don't get me wrong, Andy Weir is a great technical writer. When Watney isn't being a wacky douche, he's going on and on about some technical or mechanical or biological process that, with me not being a scientist, usually goes over my head. And that's fine, I have no fault with a book that's factually complicated like that. In fact, it's really admirable and cool that Weir is able to pool all of his expertise into a book about survival on Mars. That being said, other aspects of the book suffer. According to the author's bio on the back of the book, Andy Weir "was first hired as a programmer for a national laboratory at age fifteen and has been working as a software engineer ever since. He is also a lifelong space nerd and a devoted hobbyist of subjects like relativistic physics, orbital mechanics, and the history of manned spaceflight." If I can stereotype here, it shows. My guess is that he doesn't really know how people behave or interact in the real world. The dialog is stilted and awkward. The characters are all one-dimensional and flat. They almost seem like an afterthought. The emotional and psychological trauma rendered by all these near-death experiences and complete and utter isolation? What trauma? There's no mention of that anywhere. Watney is apparently that cool and awesome of a guy, as evidenced by all his canned laugh track one-liners and grating sarcasm.But hey, maybe that doesn't bother some people (obviously, considering that people actually watch The Big Bang Theory), and they're in for a technologically-driven, "funny" space-thriller. Because I have to admit, it's a terrifyingly cool premise. It just wasn't what I was expecting. I was hoping for an emotionally-taxing, horrifying, survival drama, but instead got a cutesily witty astrophysics manual. Just because something is nerdy doesn't automatically mean that it's good.

  • Althea Ann
    2018-07-28 08:57

    'Crap! My astronaut crewmates accidentally left me behind on Mars! I'm fucked! I'm going to die! Oh wait! I just thought of something highly logically unlikely and technically complicated, that I am sure to pull off without a hitch, because did I mention that I am Plucky and Ingenious? It sure is a good thing that I am super-talented! Yay! That worked! I'm not dead! [Next chapter] But wait! Disaster has struck! Shit happens, when you're stuck alone on Mars. Whatever shall I do? OMG, I just had a great idea! It's a good thing I'm so naturally optimistic, because it sure would make for a bummer book if I ever showed any signs of being depressed or having any kind of mental deterioration after spending nearly two years in total solitude! Nah, I've got the fightin' spirit! I can create a life support system out of duct tape! What does Mars actually look like? Is there anything interesting from a scientific perspective about it? Who cares! I'm busy growing potatoes in shit and watching Three's Company! Did I mention that disco sucks?'Repeat.For a while.I do not get the hype.

  • Rick Riordan
    2018-08-03 06:50

    Adult science thriller.Love it, love it! A meticulously researched, briskly paced and surprisingly funny story about an astronaut left behind on Mars, presumed dead, who must now figure out how to survive and let the folks back on Earth know he is alive and needs rescue. This is hard-science science fiction. Parts of it read like really complicated (but amusing) word problems, juggling mass and time and weight, etc. But all of that adds to the realism. You can tell Andy Weir loves his space exploration and knows a ton about it. He totally had me convinced, anyway. The Martian is a fast read, and the main character’s irrepressible sense of humor will have you cheering for him as he tries to survive against impossible odds. I will also never eat another potato again. (Long story.) If you’re looking for a fast-paced, believable space adventure set in present day, this is your book.

  • Kat O'Keeffe
    2018-08-05 10:11

    This book was fantastic! A thrilling survival story with a hearty dose of humor. The main character Mark was such a smartass and I LOVED IT. The voice and the premise hooked me in right away and kept me thoroughly engaged the whole time. My only real issues were that some of the minor characters didn't really stand out as much as they could've, and some of the science heavy bits were a little hard to follow and felt info-dumpy at times. But the human aspect--the heart of the story--was totally on point, and for the most part I just had a great time reading this!Overall, this book was exciting and fun and oh man, am I excited for the movie! I would definitely recommend this to anyone who likes survival stories or funny thrillers or sci-fi with an emphasis on the sci!

  • Wil Wheaton
    2018-07-26 04:10

    I have never wanted so badly for the characters in a book to be real. I want to meet them all the way I want to meet the president, or Taylor Swift.This story is perfectly told. It is perfectly paced, it is brilliantly written, it is beautifully crafted.Andy Weir does this incredible thing where he make the reader feel the isolation that Mark Wagner feels, and he does it so subtly, we don't even realize that he's doing it until it's done.The Martian completely captivated me. I couldn't wait to find out what happened next, and I never wanted it to end.

  • Sasha Alsberg
    2018-08-04 03:13

    I go so emotional at the end, so good!

  • Emily May
    2018-07-26 06:44

    First off, welcome to 2015!Let's kick this year off with a review of a book about a guy who deserves to survive more than anyone I've ever known. This book has been lurking around in my Goodreads feed, gaining hype, and all the positive reviews from my friends eventually got too much for me - so I had to check this out for myself. I'm glad I gave in.The Martian has so many good things going for it. First and foremost, it is a classic tale of survival against very huge odds. In this book, Mark Watney becomes one of the first people to walk on Mars but after an accident causes him to be believed dead and abandoned by his crew, it looks like he will be the first person to die there. Like Cast Away x a million, Mark must battle extremely foreign territory, the likelihood of starvation, and the possibility of technical failures.It's pretty hard to see an outcome where he isn't totally screwed.The best thing about this book is the juxtaposition between the very scientific nature of everything Mark must do to survive - gave me a renewed level of respect for how damn smart astronauts have to be - and his absolutely wonderful personality. Mark maintains his sense of humour throughout every hardship he faces - it's pretty much impossible to not be charmed by him.Here are some quotes:“The screen went black before I was out of the airlock. Turns out the “L” in “LCD” stands for “Liquid.” I guess it either froze or boiled off. Maybe I’ll post a consumer review. “Brought product to surface of Mars. It stopped working. 0/10.”“As with most of life's problems, this one can be solved by a box of pure radiation.” This book is part "serious" science-fiction, part an hilariously dark comedy that imagines a horrifying situation infused with humour and the overwhelming human desire to stay alive. It's hard to imagine that anyone who picks this up won't find themselves dragged into Mark's world, desperately needing to know what will happen to him.Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Tumblr

  • Jesse (JesseTheReader)
    2018-07-24 09:57

    I'm so happy that I randomly decided to pick this book up! I did find that the story dragged a bit towards the end and some of things went over my head a little bit, but for the most part this was a fantastic read!

  • Jeffrey Keeten
    2018-07-24 09:11

    ”So that is the situation. I’m stranded on Mars. I have no way to communicate with Hermes or Earth. Everyone thinks I’m dead. I’m in a Hab designed to last thirty-one 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 yea. I’m fucked.”When I read the line “kind of explode” I couldn’t help thinking of Arnold Schwarzenegger in the movie Total Recall, face contorted, eyes bulging as the oxygen deprived atmosphere of Mars was about to detonate his head. I’ll wait for the next mission to a blue planet thank you very much.Mark Watney, Mars astronaut, has a lot to worry about. It is hard to say if he has more to worry about than Douglas Quaid/Hauser (Arnold’s character in the movie). At least he doesn’t have people trying to kill him on Mars. In fact, when his fellow astronauts left he effectively became:EMPEROR OF MARSIt might be the shortest reign in history. ”Mars keeps trying to kill me.”He amends that thought with:”Mars and my stupidity keep trying to kill me.”Watney is far from stupid. He scavenges like a futuristic version of Robinson Crusoe from the left over debris of the Hermes crew’s hasty departure. The incident that “ended” Watney’s life had them in a panic. ”Reports of my demise have been greatly exaggerated.”He finds a whole memory stick of seventies sitcoms to keep him occupied and more importantly stuff to keep him alive. Watney becomes the first farmer on Mars. He knows he doesn’t have enough food to last until the next mission to Mars is scheduled so he has to improvise. Luckily the crew was to be there over the Thanksgiving holiday and for morale purposes NASA sent along potatoes with those all important eyes intact. ”My morning piss goes in a resealable plastic box. when I open it, the rover reeks like a truck-stop men’s room. I could take it outside and let it boil off. But I worked hard to make that water and the last thing I’m going to do is waste it. I’ll feed it to the water reclaimer….Even more precious is my manure. It’s critical to the potato farm, and I’m the only source on Mars. Fortunately, when you spend a lot of time in space, you learn how to shit in a bag. And if you think things are bad after opening the piss box, imagine the smell after I drop anchor.”When he finds a way to communicate with Earth in one of his more spectacular MacGuyver moments they tell him that he is going to have to drive to another site where there is a rocket ship, already delivered, waiting for the next mission. He will drive on terrain that looks like this: The ship is in Giovanni Schiaparelli’s crater. Watney being Watney has a few juvenile observations about his arrival at the crater.”Tomorrow night, I’ll sink to an all-new low!Lemme rephrase that…Tomorrow night, I’ll be at rock bottom!No, that doesn’t sound good either….Tomorrow night, I’ll be in Giovanni Schiaparelli’s favorite hole!Okay, I admit I’m just playing around now.” The science is unbelievable and since Andy Weir was a fifteen year old prodigy and is obviously still extremely bright in middle age I have to believe him that he has this all figured out. Watney injects humor as he explains his innovative scientific brilliance which at times had my eyes glazed over trying to keep up. So even as you are getting overwhelmed by the science Weir will elicit an eye roll from the more sophisticated reader. He might even inspire an outright chortle if you are of the low brow variety of humor lovers. I must be more of the pan-humor variety as he elicited a wide range of sniggers, snorts, and raised eyebrows from me. ”I tested the brackets by hitting them with rocks. This kind of sophistication is what we interplanetary scientists are known for.”The one thing that might save your life on Mars, Earth or any other planet you might want to visit is something that NASA didn’t invent.“Also, I have duct tape. Ordinary duct tape, like you buy at a hardware store. Turns out even NASA can’t improve on duct tape.” Watney worships duct tape and given the hairbrained ideas he puts into practice he needs miles and miles of it. It turns out duct tape has a variety of uses for providing additional support. We are such an ingenious species. Weir convinced me that Watney could live on Mars for over a year while awaiting rescue. With mangled equipment, a harsh unforgiving terrain, and the ever present, one more thing going wrong, depression that Watney has to overcome everyday, this reader started feeling the pain of failure and the elation of success right along with him. As the world learns he is alive humanity began rooting not for the American to live, but for the human species to triumph. In the 1970s when I was old enough to watch what NASA was doing and marvelled at our ability to do the impossible. It was a time when absolutely anything seemed achievable. We’d had leadership that insisted that we needed to go to the moon. We still built things, now it feels like the monuments of our times are being built other places. I do think we all miss having a common goal. Something that we all feel we are a part of, something larger than ourselves. With a space program gutted and the idea of a manned mission to Mars staggeringly expensive it makes me realize how lucky I was to grow up in a time when it really felt like the impossible was possible. I’m probably the last of the optimists who still believes that we have to go see it; we have to put our footprint on it; we have to scatter our debris around and say ‘yes we were here’. We need a Mark Watney to be lost on Mars so we have something to cheer for that brings us together as a species. Besides book reviews I also have started writing movie reviews. These can be found at my blog

  • karen
    2018-08-12 06:50

    i have finally seen the movie, so i added some notes at the bottom.this book is basically just a really long SAT question. and i so hope the movie is just matt damon sitting at a table doing equations for two and a half hours. oh but first, as promised, here are the photos of me being an astronaut this past weekend. zooooom!i am orbiting the eeeeeeaaaarttthh!!i did a really good job at astronauting and i didn't need to do math even once! (although i started experiencing cramped space-madness after about 6 hours, so i doubt i'm going to mars anytime soon.)so many people i know LOVED this book. and so many people i know HATED this book. and as is usually the case with rabidly divisive books, i find myself smack in the middle, perplexed (but pleased) by the passion on both sides. it's a fine book - a pretty good balance of things i enjoyed and things i enjoyed less.things i enjoyed less:the reason i don't read a lot of sci-fi is because my grasp on sci is pretty slippery. and this book is one long celebration of math and chemistry and physics and etc. and also airlocks. i don't like airlocks. which is a weird thing to not like, i suppose, but the same way Moby-Dick; or, The Whale bored me when melville fangirled over rope for a million pages, this one izza lotta descriptions of spacecraft bits and the mechanics of airlocks and stuff that's wicked important if you are being an astronaut but is boring to me reading about it and i totally glazed over whenever anything had to be secured onto an airlock and depressurized. but what's really frustrating is that for all the attention to detail/accuracy when it came to the math (i assume/i trust), the book's pretty flippant with the psychology. watney is all relentless optimism and unflagging "can do" attitude and dick jokes, with very few signs of depression or fear that isn't phrased in the form of a joke. weir tried to blanket over this "lack of meltdown" with that brief mention that watney is the class clown whose jokiness becomes heightened under stress, but seriously - there are more tears in any given episode of project runway than in this book about a man abandoned on mars and left completely alone for 2 years facing ever-escalating dangers and setbacks. and the writing is definitely problematic. there is so much repetition, and so many times watney starts off a paragraph with "remember" as in "remember when i mentioned this-and-that?? well, now it is coming back into play in this situation razzmatazz!" it's not great for narrative flow, and it's a little insulting to assume your readership can't remember things that happened during the course of the book. and this tic is doubly perplexing when you "remember" (remember???) that watney's entries are ostensibly directed at other astronauts/scientists who wouldn't need science explained to them, and certainly wouldn't need the prod to remember it. the ending is bad and too abrupt. there's not much else to say about that.but there are also things i enjoyed:i love survival books, so all the high-stakes DIY macgyver "lemme fix it with glue!" stuff was entertaining, when it didn't require me to recall stuff i learned failed to learn in high school. i also love lateral thinking puzzles, so i appreciated watney's process of arriving at unconventional solutions to problems i will never face. bonus points for when the fix was some unpretty punk rock janked-up solution, especially when it freaked out the scientists on the ground. and i like watney's blithe attitude - to a point - To them, equipment failure is terrifying. To me, it's "Tuesday."i preferred it when he was being cowboy-practical to when weir was forcing the humor. which - i know a lot of readers have a problem with the quality of the humor, but as someone who says "that's what she said" pretty often daily, the juvenile nature of the humor didn't bother me, and i did giggle at his consumer review of his laptop:Brought product to surface of Mars. It stopped working. 0/10.but it just felt like wherever weir could stick a joke, he'd stick a joke, and it became over-bedazzled with humor. although, considering this book treats watney's situation as reality t.v. for those still on the ground, and reality t.v. tends to amplify its participants with "must be entertaining at all times" fervor, this isn't entirely inappropriate after all.another frustration i had was how much i enjoyed all the stuff that was happening on the ground and in the Hermes. it was much more interesting than equation-boy and his boob-doodling, and it was better-written: the humor was more successfully integrated, the characters were more convincingly human, and that's frustrating because it shows he can do it. so that's a "thing i enjoyed" buried under a complaint, i guess. but i did genuinely enjoy all the non-mars scenes, and when it would cut back to watney, i would groan like it was a bran chapter in ASOIAF. so that's me: middle-of-the-road karen who sees the book's flaws, but mostly enjoyed reading;dr: a fun book interrupted by math. ***********************************************************so, i saw the movie a couple of days ago, and i can finally weigh in on a comparison of the two. i'm definitely glad i read the book first, but at the end of the day, i'm not sure if there's an answer about which is "better." book wins:some of my favorite harrowing "OH NO" moments from the book did not make it into the movie (like that sudden realization which sends him scurrying outside for a long time), and also some of my favorite solutions were absent (hair). and while there were way fewer perilous moments in the movie, there was a zillion times more emotional response to the problems that did occur. which is points for realism, but watching people cry or otherwise emote on the big screen is as boring and time-wasting as reading about math, so one negates the other. but overall, the most interesting stuff got cut from the movie - stuff on mars, stuff on hermes, stuff on ground, wins:having a montage to look at while math goes on and on in a voice-over is way more interesting than me kidding myself reading the math paragraphs several times like suddenly i'm gonna get it. also, matt damon delivers the jokey bits in a way that seems natural, and there are fewer jokes overall. (although in some cases, they cut the wrong ones. #aquaman) and i guess that iron man scene. that was pretty cool. so it's kind of a tie. the movie is basically the cliffs notes version of the book - it gives you the basic gist of it, but you'll miss out on some really great scenes if you are like "book??? too boring tl;dr." and if you just read the book you won't get to see the airlocks in all their glory. ***********************************************************i want to see this movie, but i know it'll kill my motivation to read the book, so it looks like this puppy is gonna have to be my airplane book this weekend. as a bonus, with my window seat i can pretend that i am an astronaut myself, albeit a really incompetent one.i apologize to my seatmates in - checkastronaut ice cream pellets - checkand off we go!

  • Raeleen Lemay
    2018-08-15 11:00

    *4.5*Well, that was a journey. I started this book in March, and put it down with no intentions of ever picking it back up. Skip forward to early October when I saw the movie (twice), and then immediately went out and bought another copy of the book (yeah, I was so sure last time that I gave it away. YEAH). FINALLY, I read the book. And it was awesome.I had to dock a half star for the tiny reason that originally caused me to DNF the book: the writing can be a bit irritating. Don't misunderstand me, I LOVED the science and math aspects, I loved how there were multiple perspectives and writing styles, but Mark's narration really got on my nerves sometimes! Like how he talks! Like this! All of the time! However, as the book progressed, I realized that there wasn't enough of this to make me fully dislike Mark's portions, so all was well.I also really wish that the book was like double the size so we could have had more time to get to know the Ares 3 crew, but there's nothing I can do about that so WHATEVER. I'M TOTALLY OVER IT.

  • Stepheny
    2018-08-05 05:47

    Thank god that's over. Everyone has been talking aboutThe Martian. And I literally mean everyone. Since the moment I saw the cover and the raving reviews I knew I had to pick it up. There’s a reason people are talking about this book.I just don’t fucking get it.I think I am the only person on GR to give this pile a one star rating. I’m ok with that. This is a classic case of- it’s not you, it’s me. I wanted desperately to fit in with the Goodreads community and love the shit out of this book and start farting rainbows every time I saw the title. Unfortunately I was not blessed with a Science Brain and this book went far over my head. My brains were floating in outer space waiting patiently to be brought back down. I think they’re still up there somewhere because I can’t for the life of me understand why people find this book is so awe-inspiring.I loved the concept. Mark Watney gets left in space by accident. His crewmates think he’s dead and they take off for home. But Mark is not dead. He’s very much alive and he knows his shit. Boy, does he know his shit. He knows it so well he can’t wait to tell you about it in lengthy detail. He goes on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on…Oh, I’m sorry. Forgot you were reading. When it comes to Sci-fi I need it to be just enough detail to get me by. There’s a fine line that needs to be walked between vague and in-depth. Andy Weir was in so much depth I think he might be in the wrong career all together. In fact, Andy, if you’re reading this, why don’t you go apply for NASA. Clearly your brains are far superior to my own. Just for the love of god, don’t write another book. Ok, that’s rude, I’ll admit. Next time you write a book though, I will politely pass it up and save myself the time and effort all together.I listened to this book on audio and the narrator did a great job telling a boring story. I kept waiting for something awesome to happen. What exactly, you ask? Well, I don’t know….but with a name like The Martian; I guess I was kind of hoping our MC would discover life on Mars. Or he would maybe figure out a way to live on Mars permanently-becoming the Martian himself. No such luck. Just boring tales of growing potatoes and drinking urine while listening to Disco music.It takes quite a bit for me to give a one star rating. I read because I love books. I almost always find redeemable qualities in a book but I was counting down until this one was over. The Martian gets one star for the concept behind the story. That’s it. For all of you science lovers- I’m glad you enjoyed it. This book was just not for me.

  • Khanh (the meanie)
    2018-08-08 06:07

    I’m stranded on Mars. I have no way to communicate with Hermes or Earth. Everyone thinks I’m dead. I’m in a Hab 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 fucked.If you think about it, Robinson Crusoe is kind of a whiny pussy, I say, while sitting in my plush computer chair, with a bar of 72% dark chocolate resting atop my glass of port. Surviving on a deserted island? Easy shit. Crusoe's got all that fucking water, plenty of good carbon-based animals for the eatin', and all those coconuts growing on tree. And here I am, having to actually go to Whole Foods to buy my fresh, young coconuts and having to pay for extra virgin cold-pressed coconut oil!Look at all the motherfucking trees! See all the moist, fertile soil?! What kind of a survival scenario is that, anyway?!Surviving on a deserted island? That's easy shit. Try surviving on another planet. Namely, Mars. I love a survival premise...but one on another planet? A science fiction book, no less? Um. I don't know about this.As it turned out, all my fears were wrong. This book was fan-fucking-tastic.It is filled with humor, it's got a adequate depiction of science that wouldn't confuse a layman like me (not sure how technically correct it is, but it sounds adequate to me, and while I'm not a scientist, neither am I a moron), it's got diversity and female scientists, the narrator is this brilliant genius while having the humor of a 17-year old DotA gamer/frat boy. I absolutely loved him. I wanted to marry him.I'm fairly good-looking. I'm single. Can someone send this type of engineer my way, please?The not-so-good: character development (the MC is altogether too optimistic and cheerful), the scientific details can be too much, and this book is really, really fucking long. It's realistic, because it takes a long fucking time to get shit solved, but it lost my attention sometimes.The Summary: I’m pretty much fucked.That’s my considered opinion.Fucked.Six days in to what should be a greatest two months of my life, and it’s turned in to a nightmare.Yep. That he is. Mark Watney, botanist, mechanical engineer, participant in the fledgling Ares program to send humans to Mars, is royally screwed. Shortly upon his arrival to Mars with his crew, his "MAV" ("Mars Ascent Vehicle") got blasted with Category 5 hurricane winds, and with no other choice, the crew had to hightail it out of there.Sounds like a plan. Except Mark didn't get out when he should have.It was a ridiculous sequence of events that led to me almost dying. Then an even more ridiculous sequence that led to me surviving.There was an accident involving lots of blood and a punctured suit (fuck), and long story short, the crew left without Mark, believing him dead (fuck).Mark isn't dead, but he's stranded on Mars and everyone thinks he's dead. So that means he's as good as dead himself. The good thing is that he's not an idiot. Mark's been given medical training (boom, stitches for his injury) by NASA. They don't send untrained idiots on board a mission to Mars. He's also trained in mechanical engineering, and he got his undergraduate degree in Botany. Pretty stupid, when it's like, a fucking mission to Mars, right? I mean, who the fuck would need to plant anything on a hostile planet? As it turns out, botany is more useful for his survival than you would think.Because now that he's alive and back in the Martian Habitat (the "Hab"), Mark's got to set out a plan for survival. He's realistic about his situation. He's really, really fucked. But all is not lost, he's still got the Hab. Inside the Hab is a good quantity of food, it's an enclosed environment. Mark can stay alive for some time. He's got enough food to last him about a year.We were six days in when all hell broke loose, so that leaves enough food to feed six people for 50 days. I’m just one guy, so it’ll last me 300 days. And that’s if I don’t ration it. So I’ve got a fair bit of time.He's got enough air from the Oxygenator. He's got power cells. He's got enough water from the Water Reclaimer. The trouble is that the next mission to Mars isn't coming until four years. Mark's got to stay alive until a) they come or b) he manages to communicate with Earth. Clearly, it's a better idea to try and communicate with Earth so they can come get him.But if I could communicate, I might be able to get a rescue. Not sure how they’d manage that with the resources on hand, but NASA has a lot of smart people.So that’s my mission now. Find a way to communicate with Earth. If I can’t manage that, find a way to communicate with Hermes when it returns in 4 years with the Ares 4 crew.Priority right now: get enough food to last four years. That's a whole lot of calories to generate from nothing. But hey, here's where his botany degree comes in handy!Mark needs to do a lot of things, but priority #1: grow some potatoes in his Hab.Remember those old math questions you had in Algebra class? Well, that concept is critical to the “Mark Watney doesn’t die” project I’m working on.I need to create calories. And I need enough to last four years. I figure if I don’t get rescued by Ares 4, I’m dead anyway. So that’s my target: four years.It's not a foolproof plan.I have an idiotically dangerous plan for getting the water I need. And boy do I mean *dangerous*. But I don’t have much choice.In fact, it's downright fucking dangerous at times.As you can see, this plan provides many opportunities for me to die in a fiery explosion.Firstly, Hydrazine is some serious death. If I make any mistakes, there’ll be nothing left but the “Mark Watney Memorial Crater” where the Hab once stood.Presuming I don’t fuck up with the Hydrazine, there’s still the matter of burning hydrogen. I’m going to be setting a fire. In the Hab. On purpose.If you asked every engineer at NASA what the worst scenario for the Hab was, they’d all answer “fire.” If you asked them what the result would be, they’d answer “death by fire.”And thus we watch the Mark Watney show as he struggles to grow potatoes on Mars and create water out of thin air. And it's really, really thin air, BECAUSE IT'S MOTHERFUCKING MARS.Meanwhile, back on Earth, all is not lost! A glorified photo technician (ok, she's got a master's in Mechanical Engineering, but all she's doing for NASA is looking at pictures) finds some odd signs on Mars. Shit's there that wasn't there before. It's not Martians, so it's gotta be Mark. He's alive! Sound the bells! Hallelujah! Well, shit, now how do they get him out of there? How do they communicate when there's no way of communicating? Will Mark be able to survive before NASA comes to rescue him? Will NASA be able to find a way to communicate with Mark?“He’s stuck out there. He thinks he’s totally alone and that we all gave up on him. What kind of effect does that have on a man’s psychology?”He turned back to Venkat. “I wonder what he’s thinking right now.”LOG ENTRY: SOL 61How come Aquaman can control whales? They’re mammals! Makes no sense.The Setting: Well, it's Mars. What did you expect? There's um, craters, dry dust, and more craters and more dry dust. Just kidding. We spend most of our time within a contained environment, and to be honest, it's not that important. What makes the setting believable is the science that's presented to us, in entirely layman's terms. There's a lot of concepts to understand, and Mark does a fantastic job of breaking science in a way that makes it feel real while making it credible and easy to comprehend.I’m going to use the RTG.The RTG (Radioisotope Thermoelectric Generator) is a big box of Plutonium. But not the kind used in nuclear bombs. No, no. ThisPlutonium is way more dangerous!Plutonium-238 is an incredibly unstable isotope. It’s so radioactive that it will get red hot all by itself. As you can imagine, a material that can literally fry an egg with radiation is kind of dangerous.I'm a fan of science, but I avoid the hard shit when I can. I'm not the smartest person in the world, and technicalities beyond the basic grasps of physics, chemistry, and biology hurts my head. I can understand science. I just choose not to sometimes, and I avoid the cold, hard technical stuff when I can. I can break down most of the basics (like a truly laughable dystopian global-warming scenario) but anything more than that taxes me. Look down upon me if you will. I had no problems understanding and believing any of the scientific concepts in this book. This book may use science extensively, but it is so well-described and so well-drawn and explained that it doesn't feel like a science-fiction book at all.I'm turning my pee into rocket fuel. It's easier than you'd think.Urine is mostly water. Separating hydrogen and oxygen only requires a couple of electrodes and some current. The problem is collecting the hydrogen. I don't have any equipment for pulling hydrogen out of the air.If I survive this, I'll tell people I pissed my way into orbit.The humor:I chipped his sacred religious item into long splinters using a pair of pliers and a screwdriver. I figure if there’s a God, He won’t mind, considering the situation I’m in.Ruining the only religious icon I have leaves me vulnerable to Mars Vampires. I’ll have to risk it.Mark is a damned funny narrator. This may be projection, but I see a lot of my own personality and humor in him. I'm such a humble person, aren't I? He's just like me, only wittier, funnier, smarter, and 1000x more brilliant. But I'm prettier, so I'm sure that makes us just about even.There's a lot of geeky jokes, involving NASA's tendency to overspend on, well, just about everything.One thing I have in abundance here is bags. They’re not much different than kitchen trash bags, though I’m sure they cost $50,000 because NASA.And computer-related jokes that might go over the heads of people who don't fuck around with computers for fun."We updated Pathfinder’s OS without any problems. We sent the rover patch, which Pathfinder rebroadcast. Once Watney executes the patch and reboots the rover, we should get a connection.”“Jesus what a complicated process,” Venkat said.“Try updating a Linux server some time,” Jack said.After a moment of silence, Tim said “You know he was telling a joke, right? That was supposed to be funny.”The Character Development: This is one of my few complaints. Mark is incredibly cheerful, and this is very hard to believe. He is fucked, but he makes a joke out of it. This might work, except that for almost the length of the entire novel, he is constantly funny and optimistic about it. He jokes about his own death. He jokes about the fact that he might end up a a handful of dust on Mars. Everything is humorous, and I like it, because I love his humor, but it doesn't make him a believable character.I wanted to see his despair. I wanted to feel his loneliness. I wanted to see him suffer, to FEEL him suffer because it's a really, really fucking screwed up situation. Mark's attitude makes him a fun character to read, but it doesn't make him feel realistic.[12:04]JPL: We’ll get botanists in to ask detailed questions and double-check your work. Your life is at stake, so we want to be sure. Also, please watch your language. Everything you type is being broadcast live all over the world.[12:15]WATNEY: Look! A pair of boobs! -> (.Y.)

  • Nataliya
    2018-08-18 07:47

    Sometimes I'm lucky enough to come across a book that makes me go all Whee-heeee! with the sincerest glee rivaling that of over-sugared-up kids about to open Christmas gifts.“I can't wait till I have grandchildren. “When I was younger, I had to walk to the rim of a crater. Uphill! In an EVA suit! On Mars, ya little shit! Ya hear me? Mars!”A book that makes me willingly turn my chronically sleep-deprived state into the acutely sleep-deprived one as I battle somnolence at 4 a.m. so that I can read just *one more* chapter (we all know how that one chapter somehow turns into a dozen as the sunrise starts lurking outside the window).A book with the sense of humor that is a perfect match for my own (the one that occasionally causes some serious eyebrow-raising from my colleagues).Meet The Martian by Andy Weir. The book I want to marry and have dorky wisecracking grandchildren with.“So that’s the situation. I’m stranded on Mars. I have no way to communicate with Hermes or Earth. Everyone thinks I’m dead. I’m in a Hab 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 fucked.”Mark Watney is an astronaut who is an engineer AND a botanist. He was the 17th human to set foot on Mars, and the first human to be abandoned there after being mistaken for dead. There's no way in hell he has enough supplies to last until a dubious chance of rescue (if NASA even figures out that he in fact is very much not dead). In a situation like this, I'd crap my pants and become breathing-challenged. “Mars keeps trying to kill me.Well... Mars didn't electrocute Pathfinder. So I'll amend that:Mars and my stupidity keep trying to kill me.”Mark, however, embarks on the determined survivalist adventure unrivaled since the time of Robinson Crusoe (and lacking the blatant and now painful colonialism of Defoe's protagonist). Mars ain't the kind of place to raise your kids, sure - but it may be just the kind of place to raise a few potatoes and fix up a few Mars rovers.“I told NASA what I did. Our (paraphrased) conversation was:Me: “I took it apart, found the problem, and fixed it.”NASA: “Dick.”Faced with a disaster after disaster, he beats all the odds and finds ways to survive in a true MacGyver way, using his brains (stuffed with all kinds of science, of course) and a few cosmic supplies. And duct tape. Can't forget the duct tape.“Also, I have duct tape. Ordinary duct tape, like you buy at a hardware store. Turns out even NASA can’t improve on duct tape.”“Yes, of course duct tape works in a near-vacuum. Duct tape works anywhere. Duct tape is magic and should be worshiped.”MacGyverism is great, yeah. But what makes this book my literary soulmate and more addicting for me than a bag of crack laced with meth and sprinkled with chocolate (or whatever the drugs of choice may be now) is Mark Watney's near constant wisecracking that is EXACTLY the humor I *get* and I (sadly, perhaps) inflict on others.[NASA guy on Earth]: “What must it be like?” He pondered. “He’s stuck out there. He thinks he’s totally alone and that we all gave up on him. What kind of effect does that have on a man’s psychology?”He turned back to Venkat. “I wonder what he’s thinking right now.”[MARK'S JOURNAL ON MARS]: LOG ENTRY: SOL 61How come Aquaman can control whales? They’re mammals! Makes no sense.”Ah, the sheer awesomeness of dorky humor peppered with bits of science that probably would work if used by someone who, unlike me, was a bit more experimentally-engineering inclined. Ah, the silly lowbrow puns that never fail to make me chuckle. Ah, the deadpan humor that never gets old. Ah, the beauty of never taking yourself too seriously. Mark Watney, you are my literary soulmate.”I tested the brackets by hitting them with rocks. This kind of sophistication is what we interplanetary scientists are known for.”“Ruining the only religious icon I have leaves me vulnerable to Mars Vampires. I’ll have to risk it.”“They say no plan survives first contact with implementation. I’d have to agree.”No wonder Mark Watney can call himself the King of Mars. And even better:“Here's the cool part: I will eventually go to Schiaparelli crater and commandeer the Ares 4 lander. Nobody explicitly gave me permission to do this, and they can't until I'm aboard Ares 4 and operating the comm system. After I board Ares 4, before talking to NASA, I will take control of a craft in international waters without permission.That makes me a pirate!A Space Pirate!”So yeah, this book struck a perfect chord with me. It seemed to have somehow been written just for me, since of course I'm clearly the most important thing since sliced bread, or however that saying goes. All I know is that a book I read twice in three days is perfect for me. 5 stars.“Yeah. This all sounds like a great idea with no chance of catastrophic failure.That was sarcasm, by the way.”

  • Beverley
    2018-08-19 08:06

    If The Martian isn't a million dollar blockbuster in the next 5 years, Hollywood have missed a treat. I read the entire thing in one sitting, making it probably the best way to pass 8 hours that I can think of. Maybe it helps that I came to the book with no expectations, except the hope that I might get my next 'fix' for my inner space geek. Well, what a fix! The story is a fast-paced, compelling adventure across Mars and offered everything I wanted and more. I was behind Mark Watney the whole way, from the moment he wakes up alone with his crew gone, to his eventual rescue attempt. It helps that Mark is a great character with a hilarious internal dialogue, I warmed to him quickly and found myself rooting for him as I turned the pages. Yes, this book is sciency, but it needed to be. That's what makes it feel so authentic. It's the kind of book I'd like my future children to read, to help them understand the importance of science. It offers a perfect demonstration of how something seemingly dry and theoretical can have practical applications, and even save your life.This book isn't for everyone, there are no little green people roaming the surface of Mars or any Roland Emmerich style hi-jinx, so leave your fantasy head at home. But if you like your sci-fi realistic and plausible then you're in for a real treat. I'm not in the habit of giving 5 star reviews out often, The Martian really is something special.

  • Navessa
    2018-08-02 04:05

    If The Martian was marketed as a prescription drug…Every year, thousands of critical readers around the globe roll their eyes in frustration at the science fails they find within their favorite fiction genres.Extreme cases of literary frankenscience carry the risk of full-blown ocular gymnastics on the part of the reader. As a result, serious injury has been reported, to include corneal abrasions, iritis, and sprains of the lateral and medial rectus muscles.Luckily, there is a cure.The Martian, consumed in single doses, has been clinically proven to reduce the instances of ocular wounds in critical readers, especially those familiar with orbital dynamics, physics, chemistry, biology, and common fucking sense.**DISCLAIMER**The most common side effect from reading The Martian is emotional instability brought on by rapid changes in the reader’s mood as they follow the daily mission logs of the main character, Mark Watney, and his struggle to survive on a planet that humans clearly have no business being on.Other common side effects include drowsiness due to lack of sleep from being up until four o’clock in the fucking morning because you couldn’t put the book down because things keep happening and JESUS CHRIST, HOW HASN’T HE DIED YET, as well as pain. This pain was typically caused by unintentional headdesking while at work the day after because you didn’t get any sleep the night before and were therefore rendered borderline-narcoleptic.In extreme cases, more severe side effects have been reported. The Martian is not recommended for those suffering from high blood pressure, as the reading of this book may aggravate this condition and lead to a sometimes fatal response known as A FUCKING HEART ATTACK.Those with diagnosed addictive personalities should not read The Martian, as it has proven in clinical trials to be highly addicting. The Martian also carries a risk of withdrawal symptoms, the most common of which is a general malaise and apathy for the real world and everything in it.The Martian may worsen some medical conditions, especially during the withdrawal stages as you move on to other, less well-researched literary works, to include:- Irritability that you can’t find a decent sci-fi book to save your life- Irritability that some authors seem too lazy to even use Google- Irritability that some authors think they can make up their own laws of motion- Irritability that no one seems to realize how differently EVERYTHING works in zero-gravity- Basically irritability in general when reading other “science-heavy” booksYou should not read The Martian if you have a known allergy to science. Those who are pregnant or plan to become pregnant should not read The Martian if they in any way fear that the amount of calculations within it might somehow turn their unborn fetus into a socially awkward math freak.The Martian, like seemingly all prescription drugs, should not be read if you are currently taking an MAOI, as this can cause vaguely-worded, but serious, life threatening…things.The Martian has been approved for the use of critical readers by the FDA, the PFC, the WHO, the CDC, and the CQQ (okay, I’m just making shit up at this point).This review can also be found at The Alliterates.

  • Alejandro
    2018-08-13 10:08

    Mission Control to Reviewer One...Reviewer One, here. Go ahead, Mission Control...Lift off minus fifteen. Final Systems Check...Roger, Mission Control...Characters... Go...Story... Go...Style... Go...Overall Reading Experience... Go...Roger, Reviewer One. All Systems are Go. Iniating Countdown.Ten! Nine! Eight! Seven! Six! Five! Four! Three! Two!...One! Lift off! We have a lift off!...Welcome to CNN's Reviewer One Report. Presented to you thanks to the sponsorship of "The Martian"'s Quotes...No plan survives first contact with implementation.CNN: In your words, please tell us what do you think about the characters on The Martian?R1: The characters is a strong element on this novel. There are several minor characters with really great moments like Rich Purnell and Mindy. Also the Hermes' crew is absolutely great. However, the main character, Mark Watney, while at first was quite great, at the end, it's a pill hard to swallow since it's like a weird combination of Einstein and Seinfeld. He recites too much scientific facts, math stuff, etc... in the middle of humoristic remarks. Don't get me wrong, I appreciate the effort of making this story as realistic scientific possible but sometimes was like wanting to read a novel but ending with a college book. I am a Trekker geek/NASA fan, so technobabble is part of my life but even so, it came a moment in the novel that I wished that the author didn't explain me with so many details how all that was going to work and just do it! Also, while funny at first, I started to get pissed with Watney for his recurrent complains about entertainment material of his fellow crewmates. Everybody was able to pack laptops and/or USB drives with their own TV series, books and music, so why didn't you do the same Watney? If you are so brilliant to make so many repairs and adaptations, why didn't pack your own entertainment material of your preference and stop complaining of what other people likes?We will be back after this quote...Turns out even NASA can't improve on duct tape.Welcome back to CNN's Reviewer One Report.CNN: What do you think about the story on the novel?R1: The premise of the story is a powerful one and quite attractive to get readers. It's amusing that on the synopsis is compared with "Apollo 13" meets "The Castaway". I guess that the author was already trying to get Tom Hanks for the imminent film adaptation. However, I think that this is much like "Gravity" taking the next step in difficulty. Sandra Bullock is left alone around orbit of Earth and trying to get back to the planet. Here, Mark Watney is left alone on Mars and trying to get back to Earth. I loved the tension on "Gravity" but you are only viewing the angle of Bullock, so I appreciate a lot that in this story after some chapters with only Watney, you starting to get chapters of what is going on back on Earth, in NASA, and also with the crew of the Hermes. Even better that the story involves the Chinese Space Program denoting that not only NASA is our only chance to get to the final frontier as a global society. That was vital to keep me hooked to the book. We will be back after this quote...My asshole is doing as much to keep me alive as my brain.Welcome back to CNN's Reviewer One Report.CNN: What do you think about the style of the novel?R1: I like it since the author alternates regular paragraphs of text with some enhanced text simulating the communication used through electronics. If I have to criticize something, I humbly think that the use of flashback wasn't of my taste. I love non-linear stories, but here, I think that it could be better to introduce the whole crew and then knowing who is left behind, also, some "flashback paragraphs" inserted explaining in a slowly way how things that they were made will cause troubles on the story were unnecessary.We will be back after this quote...Astronauts are inherently insane. And very noble.Welcome back to CNN's Reviewer One Report.CNN: Closing our interview, what was your overall reading experience with the novel?R1: I think that it could be quite better with fewer pages and/or less too much detailed explanations full of scientific facts impossibly to retain in your head. Also, after several twists and trials, you get to a point in the reading where the ending became predictable so, you still get to read a lot of pages just to confirm what you know has to happen or the whole novel would be a failure. Also, thinking about that subliminal obsession of having Tom Hanks in the stellar role, well, I think that one should add "Saving Private Ryan" since the premise here is the same of impossible to believe. On "Ryan", you have to believe that the US Government did the math that one mom between thousands had lost all her sons but one, so the Allied Forces will authorize a whole squadron to get out of the battlefield to one non-relevant soldier. Here, on The Martian, you have to believe that it's okay to spend hundreds of millions of dollars just to save one man's life. Even the author made a speech justifying that exposing that there supposedly billions of people who thinks that it's okay that. I think that that's the "illusion of control". You get better with yourself since your government was able to save one single life in another planet spending hundreds of millions of dollars while every single day, hundreds of people die for wars, hunger, crime, domestic violence, etc... around this world, but in that way we all can sleep at night. And don't get me wrong. I am a supporter of the Space Program but if shit happens, well, I don't think you should spend hundreds of millions of dollars in a diaper, or we won't be able to grow up as humankind and exploring outer space.If I get left behind in another planet, don't worry for me, I will do a schedule to read books, watching films and TV series as much as possible the food, water and air may last and then I will take the lethal morfine shot. Sure, since I am Catholic, I don't know how I will get through Customs at Heaven but at least I wouldn't worry of being the reason of using hundred of millions of dollars that they may be used to take care for a lot of more people than only me.Now that NASA can talk to me, they won't shut the hell up.Nuff' said. Now I´ll shut up.

  • Wendy Darling
    2018-07-23 04:13

    4.5 stars This book is nothing short of spectacular. It is insanely well-researched, and it's impossible not to be charmed by Mark Watney's hilarious sense of humor, or jeez-MY-brain-is-filled-with-absolutely-useless-information-impressed by his smarts, ingenuity, and spirit.I will say that after a few chapters, I started skimming some of the more technical parts of what he was doing to survive. I normally love this stuff, and certainly I absolutely DID enjoy much of what was here and sincerely appreciated the amount of research and experimentation that went into his Mark's scientific calculations. But there is a lot of it, hah, and I started feeling a little antsy, even with the irrepressibly funny narrative. SO MUCH MATH.Fortunately, the POV then switches and we start seeing what's happening on the ground and other places. The action-packed plot is streamlined and exciting, the characters are memorable, and overall, the writing is immensely engaging and entertaining. Highly recommended if the summary intrigues you at all, and obviously a must read if you're a fan of science fiction or survival stories. And the ebook's only $2.99 right now! That's a fucking bargain for the amount of awesome crammed into these pages.So impressed this was a debut--I hope we get many more books by this author in the future. And this is going to make one hell of a movie.

  • Shelby *trains flying monkeys*
    2018-08-03 08:13

    Mark Watney. I just can't even tell you how much I love this character. I think he may just be on the list of my favorite male characters ever. The dude is stranded on Mars..with no one. Does he cry? Well, only sometimes. Does he fight against the planet from hell? Heck yes! Everywhere I go, I'm the first. Step outside the rover? First guy to every be there! Climb a hill? First guy to climb that hill! Kick a rock? That rock hadn't moved in a million years!I did get lost in some of the science of this book..but who cares? I might have learned something. If I ever get trapped on Mars I would probably die in 2.5 seconds. I do have confirmation on something that my husband tells me constantly. Duct tape fixes everything!Mark Watney is full of snark and is probably the smartest character I've even had the pleasure of reading in a novel. He does find himself trapped with Disco music and bad seventies TV. One of the comments he makes is that women don't line up for botanist/nerds. Dude... start the line behind me please!

  • Thomas
    2018-08-12 10:01

    How many exclamation points can you shove into one book?Time to start off 2015 with an unpopular opinion: I did not like how Andy Weir wrote The Martian. He writes science well, and his background in research and technical prose shows, but by page 100 the style of the book got repetitive. Watney discovers a problem. Watney worries for a sentence or two. Watney comes up with a solution. Watney enacts the solution with minimal struggle. Watney celebrates. Rinse and repeat.I also have no idea how Watney even operates as a character. His way-too-frequent exclamations (yay! yay! yay!), his somewhat offensive commentary (please do not ever use "rape" in a joking context), and his lack of introspection left me bewildered. His rampant optimism felt unrealistic in the context of his situation, and Weir developed his other characters in a similar one-dimensional, stereotypical, and disappointing way. I kept asking: does anyone feel traumatized by this at all? Do any of you suffer from any psychological repercussions of having a teammate or a coworker or an admired astronaut left behind to die? Even the dialogue came across as too-good-to-be-true, with every conversation ending on a neat note that made me roll my eyes.I have no doubt that the movie of this book will succeed, or at least it will feel more natural than its source. My overall thoughts on The Martian center on its lack of introspection and repetitive descriptions of action, its disconcerting lack of characterization, and the drought of struggle each of the characters underwent. Watney faces a difficult situation, but I at no point in my entire reading thought he would suffer, based on his Pollyanna tone. However, I would still recommend this story to those who enjoy sci-fi or find its synopsis intriguing; my review rests in the minority.

  • Carmen
    2018-08-06 07:02

    How can I say this to you? This is one of the most boring books I've ever had the displeasure of reading.I was really looking forward to reading this book. Everyone was so enthusiastic about it. I was saving it for myself as a little treat.By page 27 I knew I was in trouble.Here's the book:LOG ENTRY:I'm fucked.Oh, wait! I have an idea!Science, science science. Then if I science science science, science.Great! [Insert lame joke here].Now imagine this repeating 1,000 times.Watney's stranded on Mars - there's no one there for him to interact with. Also, he's apparently a person with no human feelings. Seriously. There's no doubt, worry, fear, anger or despair - even though he's stranded on a desolate wasteland and his death is imminent. Weir doesn't even make an ATTEMPT to channel human emotions at any point in the novel. I don't know whether this is because he is a terrible author, struggles with lack of feeling himself, or, what I most suspect: that this is an extremely intelligent man's daydream about how someone could survive on Mars and NOT a novel. The book is like a science textbook with random lame jokes sprinkled on top. NO - more as if someone had asked Weir to write a thesis on how to survive on Mars, and yet allowed him to throw in as many "fucks" and lame jokes as he wanted. Whichever it is, it wasn't what I would consider a novel.Then, you have Earth. What is going on there? We have multiple people on Earth. Perhaps these people will provide us with the dialogue and human emotion I'm craving.Mmmmm-mmmmm, nope. This is how Earth goes:PERSON A: Science science science.PERSON B: Well, my theory is science science.PERSON C: We'll have to do science science science.PERSON A: Fuck you!PERSON B and C: Working for the government sucks, ha ha ha.That's it. That's the riveting emotion you get here. Not even a semblance of any human relationships or interactions that aren't based on scientific discussions.I was attached to and cared about exactly zero people in this book. I didn't care if Watney lived or died. I didn't care if the people on Earth discovered he was alive or not. I didn't care. Nothing Weir wrote made me feel anything for anyone in this novel.I'm willing to bet that Weir is a very intelligent man and a great software engineer. But he's NOT a great author. This book was horrible. I could have easily and happily DNFed at any point in this book. The only reason I made myself finish it was so that I could write this review and express my opinion as someone who had read the whole thing.Tl;dr - Boring, bloodless and completely devoid of any humanity. A textbook with some jokes scattered here and there. I can completely understand why my engineering friends IRL are going apeshit for this book, however, it holds no appeal at all for me.The movie, even if it sucks, will most likely be 10x better than this. There's no possible way it could be worse.Famous last words, Carmen.LOL We'll see.

  • Anne
    2018-07-25 08:58

    Has anyone not heard of this book yet?I see one hand up there towards the back! You! Yes, the one next to the potted fern. Ok. Well, then this review is for you. Everyone else, feel free to hit the buffet!Pile your plate high! I've been trying to get rid of that seafood salad for a few days...Does The Martian really need one more glowing review?No. No, it does not. But I'm going to do it anyway. Because even though I'm the last person on the planet to read this one, I still feel the need to put in my two cents worth. So this is set in the very near future, when manned missions to mars are somewhat commonplace, but not all futuristic and cool. The technology is much like moon landings...just farther away. Nobody watches the launches anymore, and nobody remembers who the crew members are anymore. But everything changes when a freak accident strands astronaut Mark Watney on Mars.In a crazy-bad storm on the surface, Watney gets stabbed with flying debris, knocked away from his crew, and his suit's vital readings flatline. They're forced by the storm to abandon the mission, and head home weighed down with the knowledge that their friend and crew member was dead. The memorial service on Earth for Mark was lovely.Except he's not dead. Due to some sciency mumbo-jumbo, his suit sealed itself around his coagulating blood, and he wakes up all alone on a planet that's determined to kill him.However, he's a really smart boy with a good sense of humor, and those two things carry him through the rest of the story. He knows that another mission is scheduled to land several years down the road, and after getting to (relative) safety inside this dome/tent/trailer-thingy, he starts hatching ways to survive until they can arrive. Ok. Science isn't my strong suit. I'm not even going to pretend to tell you I understood much of anything Mark did to survive. And the downside of someone like me reading a book like this is that there's A LOT of it that blew over my head.Garble-mumble molecule + Mumble-garble molecule = Fizzy-pop moleculeWhich means Mark survives for another day!WHOOSH!Between the science (damn you, smart people!) and the diary/log way that most of this story is written, you'd think I would've hated this sucker. But I didn't! And part of the reason may have been because it's not an overly long book. I picked it up, was hooked by the first few pages, and ended up finishing it in 2 days. Watney is an accessible character that made me giggle, and I was rooting for him for his entire journey. So, yeah, I'd recommend this one.It's a smarty-pants book even us dummies can read & love!Plus, he uses duct tape. Proving, once again, there's nothing you can't do as long as you have that stuff.

  • Julio Genao
    2018-08-01 10:14

    dan brown syndrome.which is to say, this guy has a knack for a compelling idea, but his writing is...hoo, boy.just... soul. no poetry. all the verve of a dead body.or a software engineer... just kidding, my gorgeous software-engineer-buddies: i was teasing the author, who is one of you, not you in particular or, y'know, in general, please don't hex my laptop because you are my everything, all i want for christmas is you, i can't live if living is without you.*winsome smile*but yeah, i'll give you a quick example: look at that cover.look at how evocative it is. how it speaks of being caught up in a great rushing torrent of powers beyond your control. how it speaks of being marooned. how it speaks of being alone.welp, this book is just like that, except without any of the things i just described.the man doesn't even get around to really describing what mars looks like until somewhere after the 68 percent mark.mars!!!one of the most romantic planets in our solar system! weir's not havin' it.ain't nobody got time fo scene-setting or sensory input; let's learn about air scrubbers, hilariously inexpensive celestial transport*, and potato farming, instead.but still. the story—the bones of it, the structure, the plot—great fun.and i love a good macguyver arc, not trynna's good stuff.just, like... not-especially well-written, is all.naturally, the film is spectacular.________________________*seriously. i was so annoyed by how cheap everything was i went on an imessage rampage pointing out which terrestrial american aircraft cost ten times as much as the surely trillion dollar mars-to-orbit craft weir prices like he's the home shopping network. $200 million sounds like a lot, until you find out that there's a piece of software running the windscreen wipers on a b2 stealth bomber that costs more than andy weir's entire spacecraft.aaaaaaand for the nitty-gritty of where i thought this novel failed as a novel, which i chose to express in catty gifs instead of catty words as usual, go read this guy. he says what i would have said if i weren't so anxious to go read queer avengers fanfic right now.

  • Trudi
    2018-07-27 10:01

    4.5 starsThis whole book left me stupid happy and deliriously impressed and I spent most of my time declaring:Jesse would have loved Mark Watney. I love Mark Watney. He's super smart but not just in a poindexter nerd alert bookish kind of way. Watney's got some serious problem solving skills; he's McGyver in a space suit. Give this guy a toothpick, some tinfoil and a ziplock bag and he'll build you an airplane. But don't forget the duct tape. Duct tape is awesome and I will be putting in a supply of it in order to survive the zombie apocalypse. Watney is also a funny, the glass is half-full kind of guy who gets repeatedly knocked on his ass but finds a way to get right back up again. And who doesn't love a fighter? The Martian is being referred to as Cast Away in space and that's pretty accurate as those things go. It's definitely an adventure survival story (my favorite kind), and just like Tom Hanks, Watney finds himself stranded and completely alone. The only difference is rather than washing up on a deserted island with a plethora of unopened FedEx packages, Watney finds himself abandoned on Mars with....well, you'll have to read the book to find out. There's a lot of geeked out science descriptions, but I found most of it to be pretty accessible, even to a softcore sci-fi gal like myself. There's a real balance and warmth to the story as Watney battles with the unforgiving Mars environment that wants to kill him every time he turns around. It's thrilling and edge of your seat stuff with lots of laughs built in to break the inexorable tension. Add author Andy Weir to the growing list of self-published authors who have successfully transitioned to a traditional publishing house. And there will be a movie, and I'm betting it's going to be freaking epic.

  • Mohammed Arabey
    2018-08-13 05:47

    هي ليست رواية قدر ماهي معايشة مع 'مهووس علوم' منعزل...في المريخلتعيش مع مارك ويتني جحيم..سلسلة من سوء الحظ والإخفاقات التي تلي كل محاولة بائسة-وعبقرية بنفس الوقت- للعيش في المريخ والنجاة من موت محققوبرغم أنها قصة نجاة، إلا إنك قد تتعجب، هل كان مارك ويتني 'شمال'؟انه ذلك الشعور بأن كل محاولة ذكية دوما تنتهي بسوء الحظ..كأن المريخ يحارب فكرة ان يعيش بشري عليههنا الرواية بها شرح واف للنظريات العلمية في مجالات كثيرة من الفضاء ورحلات الفضائية..بل والزراعة أيضا، وبالتأكيد سيكون كذلك بالفيلمفإذا أردت معايشة أكثر للفيلم فأقرأ روايتهدعك من المتحذلقين كمن يحاول أقناعك أنه سيشرح لك نظريات العلمية بالرواية او الفيلم المبني عليهاInterstellar كما حدث مع فيلم فأي عمل فني، فيلما كان أو رواية سيشرح لك اﻷحداث والنظريات المبني عليها اﻷحداث خلال العمل نفسه بما يخدم الحبكة, فلن يتطلب منك قراءة مرجع علمي كي تفهمهAnd Get fu**# up with Mark Watney EVERY FU**# SINGLE SOLإذا قرأت الرواية ستجد أن مثل هؤلاء إذا ما عرفهم مارك ﻷطلق عليهمBunch of D**ksحسنا، لنعترف إن مارك نفسه قد يصنف كذلك، فهو دائم السخرية لدرجة أحيانا تكون مملة..واحيانا تكون ظريفة ومسلية بحق، باﻷخص عندما يرتبط اﻷمر بمسلسلات السبعينات ، وأغاني الديسكوأما بالنسبة لكونه عقلية علمية ، ماهر في التصرف وحل المشاكل، كمهارته في العلوم و الرياضيات وسرعة البديهة ، فهو أكثر من ممتاز ، وطبيعيلدرجة تبسيط العلوم ، وشرحها باستفاضة تبعث ﻷمثالي - 40% درجتي بالفيزياء، 77% بالكيمياء، ولست من هواة الخيال العلمي- بشئ من المللبالنسبة لي كانت 6 سول، او يوم شمسي كما يطلق علي الأيام بالمريخلكن بالنسبة لمارك كانت ما يزيد عن 550 سول مريخي، أو حوالي أقل من 500 يوما ارضيا ببضع أيام..وصدقني بمعايشتك القراءة بكل هذه اﻷحداث ستشعر أنك نفسك قضيت وقتا طويلا بالمريخ معهتحسب حسابات بيولوجية، كيميائية، رياضية معقدة ...تحسب حسابات النجاة والعيش وحيدا في كوكب أخر بأقل الإمكانيات، لأربع سنوات، هي المدة التي يتوقعها حتي تستطيع ناسا إيصال بعثة أخريبكمية معلومات وحسابات تصل لنصف حجم الرواية عن طبيعة المريخ واعاصيره، تخليق المياة، السعرات الحرارية مركبات الفضاء المختلفة ، هيرميس..وغيرها الكثير ودعونا نبدأ بالاحداث ~~~~وحيدا في المريخ ، تركه زملائه طاقم المكوك لإعتقادهم أنه قد ماتوهم معذورون، فأخر ما رأوه كان طبق الإرسال الذي طار من عاصفة مريخية قوية واصطدم بمارك واطاح به بعيدا، ثم عمود الهوائي المعدني الذي أخترق بذلته الفضائية من الجانب ظنوا أن لا أمل في إنقاذه خاصا أنهم لم يستطيعوا العودة لرؤيته بسبب العاصفة الرملية القوية التي أنهت بعثتهم في اليوم السادس قبل شهور من الموعد الرسمي لا فائدة من البحث عن جثته و جلبها قبل أن تفسد العاصفة مركب الإقلاع من المريخ ،أملهم الوحيد في الإقلاع والنجاةMAVولكن بأعجوبة فيزيائية، كيميائية، قدرية .. ينجو مارك ليجد نفسه وحيدا في المريخستعرف كيف تتعامل بذلات الفضاء مع الثقوب وكيف تفاعلت مع دمه بالتفصيل الممللديه مقر السكن 'هب'، المركز الذي يبنيه الرواد ليقضوا به وقت بعثتهم الإستكشافية ، فيحاول أن يجعل من مساحته أرضا زراعية ليوفر مزيد من الطعام..فيفيده فس ذلك خلفيته في علم الزراعة حيث انه عالم نباتاتوهنا ستتعرف علي كيفية التسميد، توفير المياه الكافية لتشبيع اﻷرض الغير صالحة للزراعة في المقام الأول، كيف يمكنه تخليق المياة من الهيدروجين والاوكسجين ، بل كيف سيوفر الأوكسجين الكافي ، وكيف سيستخرجه من ثاني أوكسيد الكربونثم كيف سيتعامل مع الهيدروجين ويعرضه للاشعال دون مخاطر الانفجارثم ماذا يزرع؟ ...فأمامه 4 سنوات لحين وصول البعثة الرابعة ، والموارد المتاحة للبعثة محدودة لذلك ستحسب معه السعرات الحرارية 'الكالوريز' بالبطاطس -لسبب ما ظللت اشتهي طبقا من البطاطس المحمرة طوال قرائتي، ثم شعرت بالغثيان منها قرب النهاية- كما أن الزراعة ستتكلف كمية كبيرة من المياه ..فكيف سيوفرها .. وكم ستكفيه من الوقتو و و مجموعة لا تنتهي من الحسابات و التفاعلات الكيميائية..... وايضا الميكانيكية واستخدام الطاقة الشمسية لتحريك سيارة الانتقال 'روفر فضائي' حيث سيحتاج توفير وسيلة لينتقل لمكان البعثة التالية ، بعد 4سنوات...علي بعد 3200 كيلومتر من مكانه الحاليفإذا كنت تعتقد أن إقامته ستقتصر علي وجوده في ال'هب' فقط ، فأنت مخطئكما أنه يجب ان يبحث عن وسيلة للأتصال باﻷرضنعم، فالرواية كما تقدم من جانب 'يوميات' مارك ويتني، هناك أيضا فصول تقدم من وجهة نظر أرضيةهناك الخبراء بمركز القيادة باﻷرض، والدور الإعلامي في جعل قصة نجاة مارك أمرا عالمياومحاولات مركز القيادة بمحاولات توصيل اﻷمدادات إلي ماركهناك أفراد الطاقم الخمس بهرمس والذين بمجرد معرفتهم بأن مارك علي قيد الحياة حتي يصرون علي العودة له بالرغم من صعوبة ، بل واستحالة اﻷمر وعدم موافقة الإدارة وهناك الصين التي سيكون لها دورا غير متوقعوإذا كان الجزء الخاص بمارك مليئا بالإخفاقات والمفاجأت الغير سارة و الغير متوقعةففي كل 'سول' ييبدأ فيه مارك تسجيله ب'لقد نجحت في كذا' فإن السول التالي يبدأ 'لقد اخفقت مرة أخري' أو 'كدت أن أموت اليوم'وصدقني الحال لا يختلف سواء مع مركز القيادة في محاولات انقاذه ، بقية الطاقم في هيرميس...وحتي الصين نفسهافالكل سيقابله نصيبا من سوء الحظ .... لدرجة إنك قد تتسائلهل مارك ويتني شمال؟ لهذه الدرجة؟------------------- اﻷسلوب~~~~بالرغم من أن التيمة الرئيسية مشابهة جدا لأصل شهير وهو المنبوذ، المتروك وحيدا Cast Awayوليس الفيلم الشهير فحسب، بل التيمة نفسها مكررة تقريبا ... شخصا يترك وحيدا لسبب أو ﻷخر في مكان ما وعليه التكيف ومحاولة النجاة بأبسط اﻷمكانيات الطبيعيةلكن الفكرة هنا جديدة ومتميزة بحق، ذهبت بعيدا عن الأفكار السابقة ...هذه المرة في المريخ، وكما كان يخترع توم هانكس النار في فيلمه المنبوذ، فمارك هنا يحاول خلق مياه وحياة زراعية بالمريخالميزة هنا ، هو كمية المعلومات الدقيقة عن طبيعة المريخ، الكيمياء و بعض المعلومات عن عالم ناسا وإن تم ربطه بالحبكة الخياليةأسلوب مذكرات مارك لأنه ملئ بالمعلومات والحسابات كان جيدا ولكن الجزء الارضي كان الحوار به مفتعلا وكأن من كتبه طالب متفوق في العلوم، فاشل في اللغة والتعبير، واحيانا يكون فاشلا في السخرية..إلا إنها مضحكة في بعض اﻷحياناما الحوار ، فهناك من ال'Hmmmm'sو ال'Uhh'sأكثر مما ينبغي في كل جملة حواريةربما ميزة الحوار السهل هو سهولة القراءة اﻷحداث بعد الارهاق الذهني الذي يحدث في مذكرات مارك هناك ميزة أخري مهمة، هو تبسيط العلوم وسسهولة الوصف في معظم اﻷحيانوقد أعجبني أنني لم أحاول البحث في الصور عن المعدات كMDV, MAV, The Hub, The Rover...etcولكني سعدت عندما شاهدت اعلان الفيلم في اخر يوم قراءة أنه كما تخيلت بشكل كبير أثناء قراءة الوصفربما الشئ الوحيد الذي لم أفهمه سوي بعد نصف الاحداث هو Airlockولكن الفصل الذي به كيف 'أنفجر' كان مكتوبا بأسلوب جيد جدا ، محير بالبداية ولكن ستعرف كم مجهود المؤلف في جعل الشكل العام لروايته أحترافياكما أن أسلوب القطع بين الفلاش باك، احداث المذكرات و اﻷحداث في مركز القيادة كان جيدا جدا------------------------الشخصيات~~~~~كما قلت ، إن المؤلف مهووس علوم أكثر منه مهووس أدب ..لذلك ستشعر أن بعض الشخصيات سطحية بعض الشئولكن قبل النهاية ستتعرف أكثر عن شخصيات طاقم البعثة الفضائية الخمسة بشكل جيد لحد ما، وأسلوب هذا الفصل متقنولكني لا أفهم سر إقحام شخصية ملحدة في الروايات بشكل فج ، احيانا -كما في الحالة تلك- دون وجود شخصية متدينة معادلة لها إلا إذا أحتسبنا الهندوسيلهذا وجب اﻷشادة برواية أرمادا ، قرائتي السابقة في الخيال العلميمارك ويتني حتي لن تعرف الكثير عن طباعه أو حتي حياته الشخصيةومع ذلك ستشعر بالتعاطف معه ، بل وربما في الربع اﻷخير ستجد نفسك كشعور الملاييين المتابعين لعملية إنقاذ مارك في العالم 'مشهد مكرر ولكنه لم يفقد جاذبيته هنا' ، بل وستشعر أن كل التضحيات والخسائر في سبيل أنقاذه معقولةوهذا ينقلنا إلي النقطة اﻷخيرةالنهاية والرسالة~~~~~~~في جزء ما، قبل الربع اﻷخير من اﻷحداث، مع كمية الخسائر المهولة التي تكبدتها ناسا ، وحتي الصين قد تتعجب إذا ما تم صرف تلك المبالغ في حل مشاكل التعليم عالميا لصار لدينا آلالاف من مارك ويتنيولكني شعرت كم أنا قاسيا بل وببشاعة تفكيري عندما فكرت في ذلك اﻷنسان الذي حاول بكل غرائزه الإنسانية في النجاة قاوم وعافر تقلبات واخفاقات سولا بعد سول بعد سول 'سول يعني يوم ، فاكر؟'..وربما هذا ما جعلني أشعر أني فعلا تعاطفت جدا مع مارك وتعايشت معه كل هذه السول'ات'، بعد كل شئ ، نجح المؤلف مهووس العلوم ، بالتعاطف مع شخصيته وجعلني أعيش معها أدبيا..برغم كل الملاحظاتبل وبالرغم من مباشرة الرسالة بالنهاية إلا أنها أعجبتنيالغريزة اﻷنسانية في البقاء..التعاطف و التكاتفلذلك رفعت التقييم من 3ونصف إلي 4 ، بالرغم من أني فاشل فيزيا، ومتيقن أن مارك كان شمال 'سئ الحظ لا تفهمني خطأ' لكنه في النهاية يستحق مكافأة مجهوده في البقاء والنجاةمحمد العربيمن 10 أغسطس 2015إلي 15 أغسطس 2015 '6 سول'ربما لازلت أري أن ناسا تصرف الكثير ، بشئ من الكفاءة والنتائج الغير جبارة كما متوقع منهاوبصراحة ، قرائتي التالية تليق تماما بتوضيح الكثير عن ناساDeception Pointلدان براونفإلي الريفيو التالي أن شاء الله

  • Kemper
    2018-07-23 04:44

    Scientists and David Bowie have long wondered if there is life on Mars. There is, but he isn’t very happy about it. And he probably won’t be alive for long.A six-person crew made the third manned landing mission on the red planet, but a severe wind storm forces them to leave just a few days after their arrival rather than staying for the planned month. During the emergency evacuation one of them is killed in a freak accident. The remaining crew members reluctantly haul ass back to Earth leaving their fallen comrade behind. The problem is that Mark Watney isn’t dead.Now stranded on Mars with no communications Watney faces a grim reality. The oxygen and water reclamation systems can provide enough of both those substances to support him as long as they keep working, but his habitat and equipment were only designed for a thirty day stay. Even worse, his food supply is limited to the rations left behind by the crew. Even if he can find a way to let NASA know he’s alive, physics tells him that a rescue mission won’t be able to get there before he starves to death.That’s when most of us would just give up and cry. But Watney is an astronaut, one of those mutants who can calmly say, “Houston, we have a problem.” right after their goddamn spaceship explodes halfway to the moon. So after quickly adjusting to the situation, Mark gets to work. Can his knowledge of botany and engineering along with a knack for improvising solutions and a helluva lot of duct tape help him survive long enough to get home?I’m a space geek who can’t get enough documentaries, books and museum visits on the subject as well as rushing to the theater for films like Apollo 13 and Gravity so this story was obviously right in my sweet spot. Still, I think it’d have broad appeal beyond the rocket fans because of the everyman quality of Watney and general sympathy for his plight as a straight up survival story. It helps that the character has a playful personality despite the grim circumstances. A good portion of the book is done as his first person log entries with the idea that he thinks he’s making a record to be found long after his death, but rather then give in to self-pity or despair Mark cracks jokes.These log entries show a sense of goofy humor that initially make you think that NASA standards must have slipped badly, but behind that you see that Mark is bringing an impressive problem solving intellect and understanding of science to his situation. He may make smart-ass comments about how he’ll be the first person to die on Mars, but after a short initial declaration of his impending doom, it’s obvious that he has no intention of going gently into the Martian night.Despite his upbeat persona, Weir does a nice job of subtly showing us how the time alone on Mars begins to take a toll on Mark by letting him occasionally get serious or reveal how some of the things about his circumstances begin to wear him down. This is much more effective than long angst filled speeches about being the only living soul on an entire planet.Another part of the appeal is that this is a fight against the calendar, not the clock. After his initial accident, Watney knows he won’t die in an hour, the next day or even the next month. (Assuming nothing goes terribly wrong.) But he’s run the numbers, and the math doesn’t lie. He will die eventually unless he changes the situation drastically. That gives the whole thing a deliberate but tense pacing that also allows for thinking and analyzing the situations Mark finds himself in.Which brings me to another point I loved. The lack of denial. There is no bullshitting on Mark’s part. He can’t afford it. Every calorie counts and within a day or two of being stranded he’s rationing his food despite having enough to last him for months and working on how he can create more.However, Mark isn’t perfect, and he’s well aware of this. Despite his careful planning and preparations as he modifies things to get what he needs, he knows that he’s working without a net and dreads the inevitable screw-ups while hoping that they won’t kill him. When he does make a mistake, it seems like the kind of forehead-slapping stupid error the smartest person could make by simply overlooking the obvious. Only in this case any slip-up could kill him. I only had a couple of minor complaints. This isn’t a spoiler about the ending, but it does reveal a major plot point so read at your own risk. (view spoiler)[ I found the shift from Mark’s first person logs to Earth jarring at first and found myself wishing that the entire book had been done from his point of view. That could have been done, but there is some pretty good stuff that comes out of NASA realizing that Mark is alive and what they go through to try and save him. By the end of the book, I decided that getting the Earth side of the story was good, but I’m still left wondering of how it would have played if told only from Mark’s point of view. (hide spoiler)]This second one does contain spoilers that give up the ending so don’t click unless you’ve already read it or just don’t care. (view spoiler)[ I liked the idea that Mark’s crew returns for him, and there’s a lot of very good tense stuff there. However, I didn’t care for the way that Mark is essentially just a helpless passenger once they launch the escape rocket off Mars. After the entire book being about him surviving by his own wits and will, letting him just be rescued in the last phase was kind of disappointing although he does come up with an idea that ends up being the spark to save him. I guess an argument could be made that Weir was trying to allow the crew to redeem themselves for abandoning him and that it required the effort of thousands of people to put him in that position, but I still wish Mark could have saved himself right to the very end.Also, it seemed odd that we got no kind of scene between Mark and Commander Lewis after he was rescued. Her guilt over leaving him becomes a major motivational plot point so it’s weird that we didn’t get to see the two of them together before it wrapped up.(hide spoiler)]Any complaints are minor bitchery that didn’t make me think less of the book overall. This is a smart sci-fi story, but there are a lot of smart sci-fi stories. What sets this one apart is its likable main character and the clever way he goes about trying to save his own life while being entertaining in the process.Also posted at Kemper's Book Blog.

  • Cecily
    2018-07-27 07:52

    Log Entry: Sol 6“I’m pretty much fucked.”Six days after I finished this book, and I still can’t get my shit together.Let’s see… where do I begin?I read great things about this from GR friends – with the odd dissenter (very odd – man, that Apatt keeps me amused!). I kept meaning to get a copy, but in the end, my husband was given it first. But before he could read it, I swiped it. You’ve gotta take opportunities when you can. "Hell yeah I’m a botanist GoodReader! Fear my botany GoodReading powers!"I know the routine: read the book, make notes, try to think laterally. It was all going great. Log Entry: Sol 8Suddenly it starts to feel too familiar. Can I make it to the end without wanting to clobber Mark Watney to get him to quit the wisecracks?Log Entry: Sol 9Just as I was getting annoyed by the self-consciously clever banter, Weir switched to Earth. Yay for variety. Log Entry: Sol 11I’ve got to be organised if I’m going to make it through. So let’s count and measure things: words, tarp, pages, potatoes.As for my spare time, “I spend a lot of it sitting around on my lazy ass watching TV reading. But so do you, so don’t judge.”Log Entry: Sol 12“Things are finally going my way.”Log Entry: Sol 13“I am fucked, and I’m gonna die.”“I came up with a brilliant plan that didn’t work.”“I guess you could call it a "failure", but I prefer the term "learning experience".” Let’s try the traditional approach to reviewing…Alternatively…The sit is clear from the start: Mark Watney is a US astronaut, left alone on Mars, presumed dead, when the crew make an emergency evacuation: “I’m stranded on Mars. I have no way to communicate with Hermes or Earth. Everyone thinks I’m dead. I’m in a Hab 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.”Of course, he’s made of the famous “Right Stuff”, so, despite impossible odds, he goes all out for survival. He’s a botanist (and inexplicably, also an engineer), but it requires vast ingenuity, as well as physical and mental strength. Robinson Crusoe meets Apollo 13, with a dose of Silent Running, Big Brother/reality TV - and many others. And that’s the problem and the power: it feels like write-by-numbers, but it was also hugely engaging and tremendously exciting. Despite all the maths that Watney does, the maths of my reaction to the book doesn’t add up.The consAn unoriginal hybrid plot; an annoyingly excitable narrator who isn’t as funny as he thinks he is; more technical detail than some readers want or can follow; more ups and downs than a ping-pong ball on a roller-coaster; blatant Chekov’s gun; poor characterisation; a degree of self-awareness of these faults (“If this were a movie…”, mentions of Apollo 13, and telling someone “you know you’re a stereotype, right?”); ghastly platitudes at the end. Whenever things are going well, you KNOW it won’t last long. And it doesn’t. Just for good measure, you can also spot the butterfly effect (twice); a dash of geopolitical intrigue (which is significant, but then never mentioned again); an Asperger’s stereotype to the rescue; a Trolley dilemma; a secret message; a long and difficult journey; the prospect of a “million-mile-high-club”; the valiant little guy disobeying orders; an explosion; the triumph of low tech over high; a bomb; angst-ridden family back home; a (dust)storm… Have I missed anything? I don’t think so, and nor did Andy Weir. The ProsI really enjoyed it.The fact I enjoyed it so much, despite its self-evident weaknesses does, if anything, make it an even more admirable achievement. I guess Andy Weir is made of The Right Stuff as well. Mark Watney, King of MarsFor a while, he’s the only character, and even when we meet the crew who abandoned him, along with people back on Earth, he’s the only three-dimensional character. But although he's rounded, he doesn't really develop - despite his prolonged and dramatic experiences. He is relentlessly upbeat the whole time. Astronauts need mental resilience, but this much?The style of his logs is VERY informal. That’s part of the fun and part of his character. Nevertheless, it might have been more plausible and shown more character development if he'd occasionally tried to write in the official style, especially the beginning.For all that he can be annoying, I found myself liking him. Very clever and ingenious – he really does think of everything – but a strong streak of cheeky rebel that I found oddly endearing, even when I didn’t always find it funny. “Independence was one of the qualities they looked for”, but he has more than NASA are comfortable with. Despite his intellect, he’s very adolescent. At one point, when he has communication with Earth – and TV, he’s told to mind his language, so he immediately sends a picture of boobs. He also enjoys bigging himself up (fair enough), reasoning that by taking control of a NASA vehicle without prior consent, he’s technically a Space Pirate, and that by electrolyzing his urine he can claim to be pissing rocket fuel. Less positively, he imagines a website called and writing an online review for a laptop: “Brought product to surface of Mars. It stopped working. 0/10”.DepthMy only other encounter with Weir is his very short story, The Egg. It’s a philosophical piece really, so at first sight, this is very different. However, amid the relentless excitement, it does slip in more philosophical questions. One idea occurs in several different ways is the power – for good or ill – of knowledge. Should the grieving crew be told they abandoned a living crew-mate? How does Watney’s approach to survival change depending on whether he knows NASA knows he’s alive and whether he has one or two-way communication with them?Related to that is communication, and how to retain sanity when alone. Watney longs to tell NASA he’s alive and to communicate. But when there is some communication for a while, he’s quickly frustrated by NASA trying to micromanage, when he’s the expert on living on Mars, and has come to rely on his independence.Risk is at the heart of the story, both relative and absolute. “Coming to Mars was ‘needlessly dangerous’” so after that, is anything OK? Watney’s opinion of risk is very different from NASA’s: his instinct, as well as his experience, make him much more gung-ho than health-and-safety NASA. One time, they want him to do lots of fiddly and time-consuming diagnostics on something, despite his conviction it’s just a minor blockage. He defies orders, takes it apart, and clears the blockage. “I told NASA what I did. Our (paraphrased) conversation was:Me: “I took it apart, found the problem, and fixed it.”NASA: “Dick.”A point that nagged in my mind from early on, but is only addressed later, is the morality of how far one should go to save a single person: how much money, time – and other lives - can be used? There is no single answer: some aspects are decided by governments and some by the individual involved; all can be influenced by public discourse and media hype. Then the bubble is popped (for me), by the trite, and untrue, conclusion that “every human being has a basic instinct to help each other out”. I await my next encounter with interest…Alternatively again• “It was a ridiculous sequence of events that led to me almost dying, and an even more ridiculous sequence that led to my survival.”• “Everything went great right up to the explosion.” • “Yes, of course duct tape works in a near-vacuum. Duct tape works anywhere. Duct tape is magic and should be worshiped.”• “Even NASA can’t improve on duct tape.”• “Things didn’t go exactly as planned, but I’m not dead, so it’s a win.”PS Andy Weir and his publishers/producers have missed a couple of tricks: • is up for grabs, when it could be a microsite about the book. • They should get product placement money from the makers of duct tape, and if they can find a way to include WD40, that too. The FilmHaving enjoyed the book, I was disappointed by the film. Yes, of course they had to cut a lot of detail, but they cut SO much, it all felt far too easy. Instead of the constant switching between certain death and possible life, there were only two real disasters after the initial one of being left for dead (view spoiler)[the HAB blowing, and the problem with the supply launch (hide spoiler)]. The great journey across Mars to the MAV was just dull; it didn't even need much in the way of prep.They didn't attempt to portray reduced gravity on Mars, and Hermes was unbelievably spacious. The number of name/logo checks for JPL was impressive, even given NASA's involvement in the film. On the other hand, The 3D was under, rather than overdone, which was good. Although they reduced the very minor romance angle (rare for Hollywood), they added a pointless slushy postscript, rather than retaining the smidgen of ambiguity the book has.On the other hand, it looked quite nice, and disco still had its place (and was used to good effect).["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>

  • Steph Sinclair
    2018-07-25 07:05

    There isn't anything inherently wrong with The Martian, but, look, that was a lot of fucking math.When I was a kid still in the "oh god what will I do as a career when I'm a grownup?!" phase, I had the brilliant idea that maybe I'd be a mathematician. The Martian has just reminded me why that was a shitty idea. I love sci-fi and I'm super fascinated with space, but yeah, this one didn't particularly spark anything in me. It didn't leave me hungering for the next page. It was just another audiobook that I listened to to get me to the next level in Candy Crush. But, some good points:- Very strong narration: if you listen to the audio, good choice! Kind of. The good news is, the narrator is fantastic. The bad news is, the audio makes it hard to skim pass the more boring parts like the math. You'll have no choice but to suffer through it if it's not working for you. - Excellent research: kudos to the author for all the research he did. I can't image how long it must have taken. The fact that he included all that math indicates how meticulous and deligent he is. I have nothing but respect for that. Even if it was boring to the tenth power. - Fascinating concept: if I were stuck on Mars, I'd probably lose my mind. So it did fascinate me to see what Mark would do in each situation. My fascination ended at multiplying and dividing potatoes. - Interesting characters: my favorite parts were of the characters at NASA and Mark's crew. Basically anyone that wasn't Mark. No wait, that's not fair. I think Mark did start to grow on me near the very end, but I can't say I was truly invested in if he lived or died. I would have been okay with either ending. The bad:OMG MATH WHY SO MUCH MATH MATH MATH I disliked that as soon as the book opened, Mark was counting potatoes. I understand why, and I get that the dude has to eat to survive Mars, but if you multiply that times my interest level, you'll get zero fucks. The problem I had was boredom. There just wasn't a lot happening outside of counting potatoes, multiplying water, something, something chemistry and science. It got to the point where I starting coming up with my own mathematical equations. For instance, why doesn't my rage times my boredom equal Mark's death? If only I could kill off characters with my mind. If only. So I got to the end of the book and it was a decent ending, I suppose. Again, it didn't spark any heightened suspense in my heart, I wasn't on the edge of my seat. I thought for sure this was going to be my kind of book and almost purchased the hardcover for myself. But then I remembered I don't actually like survival stories, which I guess explains quite a lot about why I didn't love it. This book would have been significantly better with aliens.

  • Steve
    2018-08-13 08:14

    It’s a good thing Mark Watney was from Chicago. For one thing, the cold winters would have prepared him for the climate on Mars. Plus, being a Cubs fan, he must have learned how to deal with disappointment, like when you get caught in a dust storm one week into a planned month-long stay on the Red Planet, a gust of wind impales you with an antenna forcing you face down onto the craggy surface with no vital signs registering from your spacesuit at which point your endangered crewmates assume that you’re dead and make good their escape. The conflict needed to drive the narrative was easy to come by on Mars. Mark starts his log on the first day in survival mode by characterizing the deep doo-doo he’s in. If his oxygenator were to break down, he’d suffocate. If the water reclaimer were to break down, he’d die of thirst. A breach in the Hab and he’d “just kind of explode.” Supplies that were left behind were limited, and the next Mars landing wouldn’t be for years, so even if the equipment didn’t fail, he’d starve. Actually, deep doo-doo isn’t strictly correct. With fecally enriched soil, he might have the means to grow food.Fortunately, in this battle pitting Man versus Mars, the man had evidently stayed awake in his science classes. Each crew member had two specialties. Mark’s were botany and mechanical engineering, but he seemed to know a lot of chemistry, physics, computer science, and astronomy, too. This was the book’s greatest strength – a real celebration of ingenuity and STEM-based problem-solving skills. Weir was apparently born to be geeky (a term I use with the utmost respect). His father was a particle physicist and his mother was an electrical engineer. Weir himself was hired as a computer programmer at a subsidiary of Lockheed Martin at the age of 15, and has been a total NASA buff for years. He is so good technically that he didn’t graduate from college, which I believe is one of the new standards signifying computer wizardry. Whether it was turning pee into rocket fuel, using a highly unstable isotope (Plutonium-238) for heat, or making water from Hydrazine (burning hydrogen to mix with the oxygen in the air), Weir gets the science right. NASA scientists also verified that the code he wrote to figure the orbital mechanics was correct. I was tempted to do one of those pictorial reviews, one with Jesse Pinkman celebrating Mr. White’s knowledge of chemistry with a “Yeah science, bitch!” But someone beat me to that particular punch.For a short while I tried coming up with my own solutions to the problems that Mark faced. It made me appreciate the guy’s resourcefulness even more, and it pointed out the holes in my own knowledge. Maybe I can blame it on all the econ courses I took, where the solution for opening a can of beans on a desert island is to assume a can opener. Arthur C. Clarke once said, “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.” To turn this line upside down and add half a twist, I could say that any science fiction written by Andy Weir is indistinguishable from hard science. Some readers may be put off by the technological emphasis, but I’m guessing most will appreciate the factual integrity, the clever way it was applied, and the conversational style Mark used in his logs to present it.For quite a while, the book was a chronological account based on those log entries. Then it cut away to NASA where satellite photographs showed evidence of Mark’s survival. That opened a whole new and necessary thread. His Earthbound crewmates entered the picture again, too. The changes in perspective quickened the pace.If I were to rate this by literary standards, it wouldn’t be great. The dialog was often wooden and the ancillary characters were stick-like. Any would-be verisimilitude by way of fuck-b’s, er, f-bombs were ham-fisted, and anything approaching a human feeling was seemingly beside the point. Strangely enough, though, this made me like it more. The nerdy lack of social fluency was consistent and it accentuated the appeal. Weir’s joy in writing it was palpable. It was initially done as a serialized blog with feedback from friends. In interviews, we gather that Weir would be Mark Watney if he could, though his fear of flying would be a sticking point. The author/fan-boy also said that he’s not as smart as Watney, but justified any super-human poise and intelligence to the fact that the guy is an astronaut. The hero worship of space travelers was genuine and kind of charming. Weir said that he also shares Watney’s sense of humor, which came across as sarcastic, slightly bawdy and at times a little goofy. Speaking of humor, that, too, is a Chicago trait, or maybe you’d call it a coping mechanism. Anyway, I liked it. One of his recurring jokes was to state how the disco music one of his crewmates left behind truly sucked. This is yet another Chicago thing, as my astute friend Dave can attest, having risked decapitation to witness it first-hand.Better writers would no doubt have created a protagonist full of angst and navel-centric reflection. But to me, Weir more than makes up for any dearth of emotional realism with his likable main character, an infectious enthusiasm and a sense of scientific wonder. Scanning the many great reviews of this book, it’s roughly equal numbers who compare Mark to MacGyver, for one, and to Robinson Crusoe, for another. References to the Gravity and Apollo 13 movies were also apropos. I suspect Ridley Scott’s movification starring Matt Damon will be quite a hit, too. [See trailer here.] If it does the book any justice at all, I’ll happily go see it.