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Saturday, March 26, 2016

The Martian: the book

Title: The Martian, Author: Andy Weir

Review of The Martian by Andy Weir

Overview from Six days ago, astronaut Mark Watney became one of the first people to walk on Mars.
Now, he's sure he'll be the first person to die there.
After a dust storm nearly kills him and forces his crew to evacuate while thinking him dead, Mark finds himself stranded and completely alone with no way to even signal Earth that he’s alive—and even if he could get word out, his supplies would be gone long before a rescue could arrive.
Chances are, though, he won't have time to starve to death. The damaged machinery, unforgiving environment, or plain-old "human error" are much more likely to kill him first.
But Mark isn't ready to give up yet. Drawing on his ingenuity, his engineering skills—and a relentless, dogged refusal to quit—he steadfastly confronts one seemingly insurmountable obstacle after the next. Will his resourcefulness be enough to overcome the impossible odds against him?

 My Review:

Okay peeps. Long time, no hear. I am sorry about that, I really. I only have all the usual excuses about school, which brings me to my next point. I am here to discuss The Martian, not a literal Martian obviously but the book with that same title. In another future post I will probably also give my assessment of book versus movie however this time I focus strictly on the book.
Our main character is a guy named Mark Watney. He’s not just any guy but to answer your unspoken question, he is not a Martian. He is, however, an astronaut. He gets left behind for dead during a mission to Mars. You don’t get far into this book before you realize that Mark is wise-cracking type scientists who likes to make jokes about almost everything, even his mistakes.

So what does a guy like that do on Mars? Well apparently he just keeps making jokes and working out the science to stay. And that brings me to his personal mission or goal which is simply to stay alive until NASA can come and get him.

As per my usual, I will start with the positives on this story. First, it is an interesting concept. When I first heard about the plot it struck me as being a twist on the man stranded on the deserted island plot except that you’ve upped the ante because now he has to worry about being able to breathe as well as grow food “on a planet where nothing grows.” So it has that going for it.

Second, as I said before, Mark Watney is a funny guy. For the most part he is a likeable character although I have to admit it took me a while to figure that out. Some of his remarks came out more of bitter type of funny which I didn’t care for too much but as the story got going I started to really appreciate his sense of humor. I got the point where I could ignore the objectionable parts and enjoy the story.

Third, some of the other characters are also funny and fun to read. I loved Venkat Kapoor, for example. It was nice to read a major Indian character in an American story and I can only say—it’s about time. Lewis and her disco collection were also useful in serving as the butt of Watney’s jokes.
The aforementioned objectionable parts for me, well it was really one objectionable part—the language. There are a ton of fbombs in this one. I might have stopped reading it altogether due to that fact alone except for two things:

  • ·      It was a class assignment (I couldn’t believe it but I finally got to read a novel for a class assignment, how awesome is that!)
  • ·      It was a really interesting plot.

That being said, you might want to consider that if you are going to read this book. Also, I wouldn’t recommend it for younger readers. In fact, I would probably suggest adults only.

The other down side was that I didn’t always understand the science behind it and that made the scientific explanations hard to follow. I guess that’s my fault though for not understanding more about science.  And since I didn’t have time to research it while I was reading it, I got lost in a few places. However, that didn’t mean that I wasn’t able to follow the story. I got all the major plot points and even most of the minor ones; I just didn’t understand how they happened.

So I recommend it only if you can either stomach or ignore the language. Otherwise, you might want to consider the movie version instead.