Title: The Martian
Author: Andy Weir
Page count: 369 pages
Rating: 5/5 stars
Trigger warnings for the book: swearing, maybe? Some injuries, trouble of the kind you`d probably expect when someone`s alone on Mars and has to survive. I can`t really think of other common triggers off the top of my head.
Spoiler warnings for this review: spoilerfree!
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 & forces his crew to evacuate while thinking him dead, Mark finds himself stranded & completely alone with no way to even signal Earth that he’s alive—& 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—& 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?
A while ago, I noticed there was talk of a book called `The Martian` on booktube. I wasn`t sure what it was about, but I did gather that it`s a good book. Then I came across the hardback edition at a local bookstore, thought “huh, that`s very pretty”, and didn`t buy it. I know, I know: “what an idiot”. I agree.
But apparently I kept the book in mind, because on one of my regular trips to Germany I told myself “if I see The Martian at Mayersche, I`m buying it”. And I did.
I started reading while eating some really kind of gross noodles at a strange little noodlebar in the mall in Germany. And then I went home and continued reading straight away. Because as it turned out, booktube was right: this book is phenomenal. I could hardly put it down. In fact, I stayed up until 2 am at night despite having a full day at work ahead of me, just so I could finish it. It was that good and exciting.
I have been informed through the book itself that The Martian is scientifically speaking fairly sound. Personally, I have no way of judging that because I am not a scientist. But I`m willing to believe it, it all looked reasonable to me. The book does a good job of putting complicated scientific theories in simplistic terms so they`re understandable but still accurate to the regular layman like me.
What this book also does well, is tension. Mark Watney goes through an insane amount of bad luck, and it`s tense and exciting every time again if he`s going to make it. The same goes for the parts set on Earth and with his teammates, you keep wondering what else could possibly go wrong, until it goes wrong. According to the notes in the back, this is exactly how the book came to be in the first place: by wondering what could go wrong in a potential Mars mission and finding a solution to it. It works surprisingly well in fiction.
Do I recommend this book? Absolutely. If you`re a fan of scifi, of “regular” science, or just a good old survival story, this book is for you. Hell, even if you`re just looking for something that reads like a rollercoaster, or if you just want a very sarcastic main character to cheer for, then this book is for you.
For me, this book is definitely one of my favourites of the year, and I can`t wait for the movie to come out.
Also a sidenote: the trailers for the movie look really good so far. No but really: