I picked up Andy Weir’s The Martian on a whim. I had read an excerpt from the novel on io9 and it had peaked my curiosity. To tell the truth, and this is a bit embarrassing, it was the cover image that drew me in; there’s something about seeing an astronaut slowly enveloped by a dust storm that gets me excited. I know, I know, I know…nerd.
The story is pretty simple: an astronaut is stranded on Mars and he battles to survive. (For a full summary, head over to Goodreads.)
Many people have described The Martian as Gravity meets Castaway. I think that’s an apt description. It’s a bit slower paced than those two, but in a way that is more deliberate and, in the end, more satisfying.
“So that is the situation. I’m stranded on Mars. I have no way to communicate with Hermes or Earth. Everyone thinks I’m dead. I’m in a Hab designed to last thirty-one days.
If the oxygenator breaks down, I’ll suffocate. If the water reclaimer breaks down, I’ll die of thirst. If the Hab breaches, I’ll just kind of explode. If none of those things happen, I’ll eventually run out of food and starve to death.
So yea. I’m fucked.”
There’s a lot of technical jargon to read through and many people have seen this as a fault, but I found that it lent an air of authenticity to the overall story. There’s a lot of techno-babble in the first 30 pages or so, but if you can hang with lingo for a while, you get used to it. Personally, I found the information about airlocks, vacuums, and decompression extremely fascinating.
The Martian is Andy Weir’s first novel and it actually started out as an E-Book before being picked up by a publisher and distributed. I think that is outstanding.
I highly recommend buying a copy. In fact, they have a few on the shelves at The Elliott Bay Book Company that are signed.