Monday, January 11, 2016

The Martian by Andy Weir

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 and forces his crew to evacuate the planet while thinking him dead, Mark finds himself stranded on Mars' surface, completely alone, with no way to signal Earth that he’s alive — and even if he could get word out, his supplies would be gone years before a rescue could arrive.

 Armed with nothing but his ingenuity and his engineering skills — and a gallows sense of humor that proves to be his greatest source of strength – he embarks on a dogged quest to stay alive, using his botany expertise to grow food and even hatching a mad plan to contact NASA back on Earth.

How Would I describe the book: Funny and completely stressful. Someone I goodreads described it as Apollo 13 meets Castaway (and I would agree). I am really not a fan of science fiction but this is one of the best books I've read in awhile. 

What did I like about the book:
First, There are several interesting themes in the book such as the instinct for survival, and the need for each of us to feel connected instead of alone.There was also an interesting thought brought up that recalls The Diary of Anne Frank 
If a hiker gets lost in the mountains, people will coordinate a search. If a train crashes, people will line up to give blood. If an earthquake levels a city, people all over the world will send emergency supplies. This is so fundamentally human that it's found in every culture without exception. Yes, there are a@$%@ who just don't care, but they're massively outnumbered by the people who do.”  
This idea pops up throughout the story. As humans this ability to care, and empathize is what sets us apart from other animals.

Second, The main character is hilarious. Mark Watney is smart and actually pretty witty . He's one of those fictional characters that is interesting enough to draw you in and make you wish he was real so you could be friends. I just appreciate his drier personality

The screen went black before I was out of the airlock. Turns out the “L” in “LCD” stands for “Liquid.” I guess it either froze or boiled off. Maybe I’ll post a consumer review. “Brought product to surface of Mars. It stopped working. 0/10.” 

“Yes, of course duct tape works in a near-vacuum. Duct tape works anywhere. Duct tape is magic and should be worshiped.”

Third, some readers might be wary of the science, but not to worry. The science seems to be well researched and it is written in a very realistic, natural manner. I found that even if you don't grasp every single detail of this issue or that, you will always get the gist. Don't let that keep you from reading the book.

***The only caveat or warning I would give is that this book does contain some strong language.