Published by Crown on February 11, 2014
Genres: Adult Fiction, 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?
Ever since I saw the movie for this trailer, I knew that I had to read the book. It sounded freaking awesome. Not for Mark Watney, of course. But for me as a reader…freaking awesome. And it did not let me down.
The premise is that this mission to Mars, Ares 3, had to abort their mission because of a powerful dust storm. Trying to get to their shuttle, Mark Watney was hit with flying debris and presumed dead. Though the decision was hard, the rest of the crew boarded and started flying back to Earth. Watney woke up a few hours later…still very much alive.
So basically the book is the story of how he tries to survive on a planet completely alone. I can’t even imagine. You know, sometimes, it’s easy to feel alone. Like nobody understands what you’re going through. Yadda yadda yadda. But Watney was quite literally alone alone. There was no other lifeforms on the entire planet he was on. [Wouldn’t that have been the biggest plot twist if *real* Martians had come out to help and/or kill him? Turns out you weren’t alone Mark!]
But this book is seriously so interesting. His perspective is written in his logs every day and it’s. so. interesting. And I am not a science-y person. Like, at all. So a lot of the more technical stuff did go over my head a bit, but I never once lost interest. It captivated me. “What the freak is going to happen next?” was the question constantly on my mind because, honestly, I never had any idea. How in the world would a story like this be predictable? There’s just no way.
Also, Mark Watney is hilarious. This would have been a completely different book if anyone but Watney was the one stranded. He has this great sense of humor where he takes a pretty crappy situation (understatement of the century) and just jokes about it. Like this moment…These are gifs from the movie (which I haven’t seen yet) but this quote is almost exactly the same. Mission Control (who has no way to contact him) has been watching him in satellite pictures and they say this…and then simultaneously, Mark Watney is logging that:
So, as you can see, he’s a funny guy. And he’s like that the entire book. Usually they’re just small, subtle comments that are actually hilarious. I really liked the character Andy Weir built in Watney. You just root for him the entire time, you know?
Also, can we just talk about how people actually thought that Mark Watney was stranded on the moon after seeing the movie? THEY THOUGHT IT WAS A TRUE STORY. Sure, the book and probably the movie are set up so it almost seems like it’s nonfiction…but obviously it’s not! Don’t you think you would have heard about Matt Damon flying into Mars before he was stranded there? I just think it’s hilariously awesome. Man, some people…
Anyways, you should go read this book. It’s action-packed, tense, thoughtful, hopeful, funny, scientific…SO MANY THINGS. And if science isn’t your thing, do not despair. Because you will most likely enjoy it anyway.
[Disclaimer because I know I have readers who’d care: The f-bomb is used more than a couple of times in this book. Just so you know. End of disclaimer]
P.S. I AM SO EXCITED TO SEE THE MOVIE. WHO WANTS TO GO WITH ME?