The Martian by Andy Weir

18007564Expected publication: February 11th 2014 by Crown (first published 2012)

So that book has been lying on my to-read-&-review shelf for ages, actually a few months. It was one of those beginner’s mistake you do when signing up for Netgalley thinking if you request 10 you’ll only get approved for one or two. In the end you’ll get approved for months’ worth of reading. If an eBook could get dusty this one might just be buried under a ton of it.

Feautured as hard science fiction, a man alone on Mars and that 80s cover art could not improve its status as “maybe after the next”.

I had absolutely no expectations about it. Oh but what a pleasant surprise! 

Mark Watney’s not quite voluntary survival adventure on Mars actually is pretty amazing right from start. Imagine MacGyver in a Castaway situation and Apollo 13 scenery! This book is so much fun and suspense. Though it is very scientific it’s still entertaining, and very much so thanks to our adorable and ingenious nerd Mark Watney, who even faces with almost certain death will still throw hilarious one-liner at you. You can’t help but laugh out.

” I’ll lose half a liter of water per day to breathing until the humidity in the Hab reaches its maximum and water starts condensing on every surface. Then I’ll be licking the walls. Yay. Anyway, for now, no problems with the water reclaimer.”

“Hell yeah I’m a botanist! Fear my botany powers!”

“If ruining the only religious icon (a wooden cross) I have leaves me vulnerable to Martian vampires, I’ll have to risk it.”

“They say once you grow crops somewhere, you have officially “colonized” it. So technically, I colonized Mars. In your face, Neil Armstrong!”

I love watching science-fiction and survival or catastrophe movies like Apollo 13, Gravity, Space Cowboys, Armageddon, Rambo, Sunshine, Open Water or Mission to Mars. And for those like me this story will be a fun experience. The story is very believable and takes place in a not so distant future when humankind makes its first steps on Mars. All this chemistry, astrophysics, biology science stuff was so masterfully integrated into the storyline that it enhanced rather than distract from it. Don’t know if all of it was 100% correct but it sounded convincing to me. It was like watching a well done, funny documentary about the first steps in the colonization on Mars and everything that can go wrong. The NASA even has to accept the help of the Chinese at some point.

“Guo Ming smiled wryly. “Publicly rescue the Americans? Put a Chinese astronaut on Mars? Have the world see China as equal to the US in space? The State Council would sell their own mothers for that.”

Most of the story is told in the form of Mark’s log book entries which are later paired with NASA’s recovery attempts (that don’t go so well either). Both combined will keep you turning the pages in this cosmonautic thriller.

I wished there were more books like this one. Andy Weir has really crafted a thrilling and witty story on space travel and astronauts on Mars.

Thanks to NetGalley for providing me with a digital copy of this book.


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