on February 11th 2014
Genres: Science Fiction
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?
Houston, we have a five-star rating. I repeat: we have a five-star rating!
Thank the fuck finally — my first five-star rating of the year. OF THE YEAR. Harry Potter re-reads not included, I have had quite a weird year in books so far. Plenty of books which I liked, even liked a lot, but nothing that made me go “fuck yeah!”
Well, it has finally happened. Fuck yeah. And I was in the worstreading slump as well, so it was quite a challenge. But I suddenly thought “I want to read something spacey”. I love survival stories, and I love spacey stuff – so why not spacey stuff mixed with a survival story? Thus, I one-clicked The Martian straight onto my Kindle, I started reading, and I was hooked. And I meanhooked.
It was an incredible story, unlike anything I’ve ever read. Mark Watney is fucked – completely and thoroughly fucked; for he is stranded on Mars all by his onesies. After a Mars mission gone wrong, his crew thinks him dead and leaves him on the red planet. Surrounded by nothing but solitude and red desert, Mark is forced to use a painful amount of brain cells to ensure his survival, with no one knowing he’s alive. Chances of suffocation or dying of thirst or hunger are quite realistic. So, yeah, pretty fucked.
Let’s be honest here – the average person (meaning me) understands about 30% of this book in total. There is so much scientific wimbo wumbo going on – Mark keeps a log for mankind to read and he’s constantly explaining why he’s doing this and that and tearing this to shreds and setting that on fire and how it will help increase his survival rate. He does explain his physical and mathematical calculations to us mere mortals, but a lot of the type my brain just went “NOPE”, accepted the explanation as is, and moved on with the story. No problem.
For a book where this one guy is stranded on Mars for the entire duration, it was surprisingly entertaining. I didn’t expect this book to be so funny, but Mark had me laughing constantly. If you’re going to abandon anyone on Mars, better be someone with a sense of humour.
“I don’t want to come off as arrogant here, but I’m the best botanist on the planet.”
“Maybe I’ll write a consumer review. “Brought product to the surface of Mars. It stopped working. 0/10.””
Basically, I loved Mark. Even though he was stranded on Mars, he still had time to make “that’s what she said” jokes and complain about Disco. He was hard-working, intelligent, refused to give up, and didn’t hold a grudge against his crew members.
It was also nice to see the points of view from NASA on Earth, as well as from the crew members when they eventually find out Mark is still alive. It provides some unique perspective to the story and gave us even more suspense.
It probably would’ve been ages until I picked it up if it hadn’t been for that impulse buy, but I’m so glad I went for it. The Martian deserves all the praise it got: it was different, hilarious, exciting, and completely and utterly out of this world. (In honour of Mark Watney, I’m ending this review with a horrible pun. He’d appreciate it.)