By: Andy Weir
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 the planet while thinking him dead, Mark finds himself stranded on Mars’ surface, completely alone, with no way to signal Earth that he’s alive — and even if he could get word out, his supplies would be gone years 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’s not ready to quit. Armed with nothing but his ingenuity and his engineering skills — and a gallows sense of humor that proves to be his greatest source of strength – he embarks on a dogged quest to stay alive, using his botany expertise to grow food and even hatching a mad plan to contact NASA back on Earth. As he overcomes one seemingly insurmountable obstacle after the next, Mark begins to let himself believe he might make it off the planet alive – but Mars has plenty of surprises in store for him yet.
I don’t even know where to start with this book. It’s fantastic, humorous, enthralling, and the pages practically turn themselves. I did not expect to like this book as much as I did. It seemed cool, but it seemed difficult to pull off. The science aspect must have taken so much time to research, even though it was my least favorite part of the book. The only problem I had with the science aspect of the novel is that I was not able to understand why he was doing this or that because I am not a rocket scientist myself. Because there is literal rocket science in this book, you have to be a freaking genius to understand everything that’s going on. I am obviously not one of those people, so I skim the science parts sometimes, mainly because if I tried to understand what Mark was doing and why (from a scientific POV), I’d go insane and put the book down on page 5. I like to read a page and be able to explain what happened without a second thought. I’m basically a know-it-all who has a fit whenever she doesn’t understand something, so you could only imagine what it was like reading a book like this. But seriously, I could never hate a book because of my own bad habits, c’mon that’s not fair.
This is difficult because the protagonist is, well, on mars. Only like 12 people have set foot on mars, so in order to write a book that takes place on mars is something that you need to spend a lot of time on. Andy Weir did a surprisingly great job at that, considering the fact this is his first novel. Yes. First. Novel. Weir basically describes (using Watney’s hilarious voice) Mars as being a desert, with rocks and sand, which is probably true, but just rocks and sand. Nothing else. That’s basically all there is to describe, that’s basically the only world development you need. Oh yeah. And if you go outside with no suit on, you’ll blow up.
Well the very first page, Mark is already trapped on mars all alone, but he explains his situation to us in a brief few pages. The author doesn’t tell us anything about his past, which makes you wonder, but I’m happy he left out flashbacks and all that crap cause that gets extremely boring in books. Throughout this novel, Mark really grows as a character. He never completely breaks down, because he is smart and knows that if he loses all hope, nothing will get done, so he stays optimistic and finds a scientific way to approach things. He also has humor that, I think, helped him stay sane throughout his time on mars alone. Imagine being all alone on a planet that nobody else is on for over a year. Just try and imagine that. You can’t, right? Well sometimes laughing your way through hell is the only thing you can do in order to keep yourself from sinking to an all-time low.
So many things happened in this book. Mark and NASA talked and schemed up ideas, which either failed or worked like a charm. Mark flipped over in a rover, nearly got blown to bits, and almost suffocated from too much air whenever his suit had a hole in it. Ironic, I know. This was masterful storytelling by a debut author that, I hope, writes more realistic science fiction in the future. I know I will read it if he does. There was suspense and at the very end, you are left breathless and relieved and freaking scared out of your mind until the very last paragraph or two. This is one of the best books I have read in a long time. That is something I don’t say very often. Nice job, Andy Weir. Nice job.
What are some of your thoughts? Let me know in the comments below!