“If a hiker gets lost in the mountains, people will coordinate a search. If a train crashes, people will line up to give blood. If an earthquake levels a city, people all over the world will send emergency supplies. This is so fundamentally human that it’s found in every culture without exception. Yes, there are assholes who just don’t care, but they’re massively outnumbered by the people who do.”
Written by Andy Weir, and originally published in 2011, The Martian follows a manned mission to Mars, when Astronaut Mark Watney is left behind by his crew after he is presumed dead. But Watney has survived and finds himself stranded and alone on the hostile planet. With only meagre supplies, he must draw upon his ingenuity, wit and spirit to subsist and find a way to signal to Earth that he is alive.
Millions of miles away, NASA, headed up by Teddy Sanders, and a team of international scientists work tirelessly to bring “the Martian” home, while his crewmates, commanded by Melissa Lewis, plot a daring rescue mission.
The following post is a review of the book only. You can read my review of the film adaptation in comparison to the book here.
The Martian is a refreshing and intelligent science fiction book, telling a personal story of optimism and bravery that is filled to the brim with immersive adventure.
Balancing on the border of realism and science fiction, it tells a gripping tale of survival. The technical terms and mathematics may occasionally get a little thick but, at the same time, it’s so nice to read a book where the author has obviously put a lot of research into the matter. Too often I find myself reading something thinking how little thought or description has been put into it, but with Weir’s story, he leaves no doubt in your mind or question unanswered.
On top of that, Mark Watney is an instantly likeable character, which is a good job since the book can sometimes come across claustrophobic with only one character and a limited environment. But he has a great sense of humour, and he pushes himself to the limits. By the end, we can really feel his pain and desperation, and there are many moments in the book when you’re convinced that he won’t be able to survive this terrifying ordeal.
The Martian was adapted into a film in 2015, which you can read my Book vs. Film Review for here, and watch the trailer for below: