by William Anderson
The Martian, by Andy Weir
Set in the not-so-distant future, The Martian, by Andy Weir is a science fiction memoir about an astronaut stranded on Mars. In the book, America has been sending teams of astronauts to the red planet on various expeditions. On the third mission, an unexpected dust storm hits the team of astronauts and forces them to abort the mission within the first few days on the planet. As the team is evacuating, one of the astronauts, Mark Watney is hit by flying debris, separated from the team and left for dead.
The book is a series of journal entries as Watney must figure out a way to survive alone on the planet long enough for the next scheduled NASA visit to Mars.
The Martian was the most fun book I have read in a long time. Watney’s humor, despite such dire circumstances, makes the book compelling and exciting. Watney was the teams engineer. His creativity and ingenuity are remarkable. Just when you think Mars has gotten the best of him, Watney figures out a way to get himself out of a mess using only what was abandoned by the mission.
Author Andy Weir started the book as a series of blog entries on his personal website. The response was so overwhelmingly positive that he turned them into a novel. He consulted with scientists, engineers and botanists (yes, botanists) all for the sake of making the book riveting, yet accurate.
The book is not solely a repetitive stream of audio log entries. I won’t spoil how, but NASA discovers that Watney is still alive. What follows is a system of POV switches between Watney on Mars and various plans and conversations with NASA scientists on Earth as they try to figure out a way to bring Watney home. The book is fantastic. It’s easy to read and really fun. It’s also going to be a movie this year staring Matt Damon, Kate Mara and other Hollywood stars. I’m super excited. Definitely read this book.