Wednesday, June 24, 2015

The Martian

Author: Andy Weir
Info: Crown, copyright 2014, 384 pages

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 & forces his crew to evacuate while thinking him dead, Mark finds himself stranded & completely alone with no way to even signal Earth that he’s alive—& 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—& 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?

~Goodreads Description

Whoa!  I mean really!  This book was fantastic, hands down the best book I've read this year.  And guess what's another adult book!  I know, right?!  I only read one last year and this year I've hit three.  Huzzah!

So Mark Watney is an astronaut traveling to Mars, which is apparently quite the ordeal.  It's not like you just decide to go to Mars and then go.  There is training and prep work and equipment is sent ahead of time and more training.  It takes time.  His crew lands on the planet, all is well, until it isn't.  Wicked winds force the crew to abandon the mission, but Mark Watney, believed to be dead, is left behind.  This might sound bad, but thank goodness it was Mark.  Not only is he a super genius and incredibly inventive, but he also has the best kind of sense of humor and the ability to keep his wits about him stranded, alone, on a planet that wants to kill him.

This book is science.  Cover to cover is stock full of science.  I'm not really a science girl, so I'll admit that I was a little intimidated diving in.  But as cool as the science turns out to be, understanding is not ABSOLUTELY necessary.  Sure, it's important, but I read one review that compared The Martian to Apollo 13 when the engineers have to fit a round peg into a square box.  You know what has to happen and you can follow whether it's happening or not despite not having a clue how.

It's the humor that makes this book truly fantastic.  I liked Mark.  Really, really liked him.  And from the first moment I was rooting for him.  I was nervous, antsy, and kind of moody not knowing if he would survive not he lonely planet.  This man kept his wits about him, and I have no idea how.  And to think that Matt Damon is playing Mark in the movie (brilliant casting) despite his lack of composer in Interstellar.   The supporting cast was equally fantastic, both in space and on Earth.  A planet holding their breaths for one man, and geniuses working together to get him home.

The Martian is intense and stayed with me long after I finished reading.  It's been a couple of weeks since I finished, and I still find myself thinking about Mark, his journey, and the genius of Andy Weir to infuse something serious with just the right amount of humor.

Read this book.  It's fantastic.

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