Book Review: The Martian by Andy Weir

So I’ve gotten around to finishing a book after my hard attempt at getting through Lord of the Rings and today I’m going to give you my thoughts on The Martian by Andy Weir.

Synopsis; taken from Goodreads

In 2035, NASA astronaut Mark Watney, a botanist and mechanical engineer, has been left stranded on Mars after the crew of the Ares III mission were forced to evacuate their landing site in Acidalia Planitia due to an intense dust storm with high winds. Watney was impaled by an antenna during the evacuation and believed dead. His injury proves relatively minor, but with no way to contact Earth, Watney must rely on his own resourcefulness to survive.

To start off I will say that I watched the movie before reading the book and I was happy that I did as the book had a lot more detail and adventure that the movie didn’t.

The way the book is written from a blog post point of view when Mark Watney is left for dead was very enjoyable. There are a lot of positives to this way of writing as you don’t have to follow the novel style rules but what kept the novel in check was when the narrative changed back and forth with the minor characters and their interactions back at NASA and even on board the spaceship AriesIII.

I also liked how math and science was infused into the story and as my math isn’t up to scratch I’ll take Mark Witney’s word for all the calculations he did. The science bodge-jobs of the HAB and the Rovers were really interesting and showed how well Mark was as an engineer. There was no job he couldn’t fix or distroy without a roll of ductape.

The story is set out as a survival novel and as we learn to improvise and science the heck out of everything it does start to feel like we are there on Mars with him. The short trucking drives across Mars was well to tell the truth disappointing as no real exploration was done; it was an A to B journey for supplies and testing.

Even though the story was really enjoyable and the science and math themes where the highlight of the novel for me I do have a few concerns. The upbeat and “Yay” attitude that Mark gives off throughout his experience is great but we don’t get any feeling of depression or really loneliness as he has spent two years alone on Mars without any human interaction. There is breath communication with Earth through the use of the old rovers sent to Mars years ago but once he losses that he still trugs along as happy as can be. Also his engineering and math skills are relative to the question of being a genius and he is able to solve anything or build anything with use of super bond or ductape which sometimes is a bit too much but if one calculation was off perhaps the book would have ended fifty pages in.

Well to tell the truth I really enjoyed this book and it only took me a week to read; I give it 4 out of 5.


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