The Martian – by Andy Weir
FROM AMAZON’S BOOK DESCRIPTION:
“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?”
“I’m pretty much fucked.” *
(Page 98) “Three sols later, Lewis Valley opened into a wide plain. So, again, I was left without references and relied on Phobos to guide me. There’s probably symbolism there. Phobos is the god of fear, and I’m letting it be my guide. Not a good sign.”
I can safely say this takes the spot as my favorite book of the year so far. What a thrilling, exciting, believable story! Okay…maybe if I had more science knowledge I might find more flaws with it, but for me it was a rollicking good time. Gripping from the get-go, things amped up even more once the story reached the point where those on Earth knew about the situation.
While I enjoy some sci-fi, it’s not my usual genre of choice. If you don’t read much science fiction (or any at all), don’t let that stop you from considering this book. Sure, it’s set in the future, it’s “science-y”, and the majority of it takes place on another planet, but at its core it’s just a tale of survival, perseverance, ingenuity, and ultimately the goodness of mankind to rally around those in need.
I loved the writing and especially the wry, dark sense of humor of the main character. In fact, there were many “memorable moments” I could have chosen from, but didn’t want to create any spoilers. And for the same reason, I won’t comment any further on the plot. If I had to pick one negative thing to say about the book, it might be that it ended just a little more abruptly than I would have liked it to.
As a bonus, the softcover edition I read included a map of Mars (accurate, I believe) showing the areas from the story, a reader’s guide, and some material regarding the author. In addition, I looked up the actors from the just released movie version so I could picture them while reading – a film I’ll definitely have to see!
This is my last selection for the R.I.P. Challenge.
* Apologies to anyone bothered by the profanity. Go back and read the synopsis for the book, then take into account the opening line is right when the lead character realizes he’s been left behind. I’m not sure any of us can predict what words might escape our lips.