One night a while back, I was trying to watch a video when an ad came on. We all know how annoying ads can be, and I was so happy when I saw a skip button. But then, the skip button went ignored. This ad, while being just over three minutes long, was a trailer for a movie I’d never heard of called The Martian. Like I said, I had that skip button, but within the first five seconds of the trailer, the time until that button works, I was sucked into the trailer. At the end, I discovered the movie was based on a book and I decided I had to read it.
The Martian by Andy Weir is set in the unknown future where manned missions to Mars are almost a regular, so much so that the mission in the novel is named Ares 3. It focuses on Mark Watney, an astronaut sent to Mars as the botanist and engineer on Ares 3, who is left behind and presumed dead when the mission is forced to abort. Clearly, since the book is about him and told almost 65% or more from his point of view, he isn’t actually dead, and he has to use all of his skills and the skills of his now gone crew mates to survive on a planet not meant for human survival.
What’s really unique about this book – actually, there are several unique aspects, so I’ll start with this one – is that every bit of science and math is as accurate as the author could make it. No making up numbers and stuff. He researched everything and made it all as realistic as possible. But the book isn’t inundated with numbers and science. It gives just enough to know what’s happening but not too much as to bore the reader. And it’s always explained so that someone who isn’t familiar with technical science and math (like myself) can understand what’s going on.
Another unique aspect of the novel is its history. When it was first released, it was self-published by Andy Weir. As someone who has self-published a book, it’s an easy process but it’s also disappointing because it feels like it won’t get the attention you think it should. But The Martian gained such a following that, according to an interview at the end of the version I have, he received the publishing deal and movie offer within a week of each other. That had to be such an incredible and overwhelming feeling, I can’t even imagine.
The Martian proved to be a very quick read. I finished it in about 2-3 days, and I enjoyed every moment. It has humor, science, great characters, true feelings from someone who is stranded alone on Mars, and some moments where I was genuinely tense and nervous. Mark Watney is a great narrator, the other characters are well fleshed out, and it was truly a fun read. Looking at the cast for the movie, I cannot wait to see. You can see the trailer here and you can get the book either on ebook readers or at your local bookstore.
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