My Rating: 4.5/5
Author: Andy Weir
Link: The Martian
So here’s the situation. I’m stranded in my room. I have no way to communicate with the outside world. Everyone thinks I left early, so no one would be looking for me for another 48 hours. If the food supply runs out, I’ll die. If the water supply runs out, I’ll die of thirst. If none of those things happen, with no internet I’ll eventually run out of things to do and die of boredom. So yeah. I’m fucked.
The only solace in this decaying, moribund room is a copy of Andy Weir’s “The Martian.” There is an uncanny comfort in knowing that I am not the only one who is in this exact same situation.
The Martian is a story of an astronaut-cum-botanist-cum-mechanical engineer-cum-stand-up comic-cum-Jedi knight Mark Watney, who lands on the red planet with the Ares 3 crew. On the sixth sol a huge dust storm nearly kills Mark and forces his crew to evacuate, thinking him dead. But Mark is alive and in a habitat designed to last 31 days. He has no way to communicate with NASA. So yeah, he’s fucked.
Desperate to get back home Mark fights his insecurities and lonely convictions. He braves through the 70’s tv shows and an unlimited supply of disco. He defiles the very soil of Mars with his piss and faeces. He is ready to face anything and everything that Mars throws at him be it dust storms, rarefied thin atmosphere or just plain old giant holes, but will all this be enough to get back home?
Andy Weir gives us a detailed guide on how to survive Mars. The story moves at a fast pace, you would occasionally hear the boom as it breaks the sound barrier. The novel can be divided into four parts: Chemistry-101, Botany-101, Exploration-101, Do or Die-101.
Andy Weir is so meticulous with all the details and the science of it, that it makes one wonder why haven’t we sent someone on Mars yet? I think in Mark Watney, Andy Weir has gives us someone special; a 21st century Fitzwilliam Darcy. Watney is a cool, nerdy, ingenious, resourceful, creative and inventive, a perfect book-boyfriend that everyone wished they had.
The novel is chucklesome, filled with witty remarks that keeps one rolling off the martian floor. It is as much about Watney as it is about the cool NASA dudes back home.
This novel is a good read, there is no doubt about it, but there are inherent defects that can’t be ignored. I couldn’t get my head around the flawless characters of not just Mark but almost everyone back at NASA. It’s like Andy Weir has created this perfect world where there are no defects, no sorrows and no weakness at all. Plus I felt the ending was a bit rushed.
If you are going to read just one novel this year, pick The Martian.