Genre: Science Fiction
Release Date: August 28, 2014
Publisher: Del Rey
Add it: Goodreads
Six days ago, astronaut Mark Watney became one of the first men to walk on the surface of Mars. Now, he's sure he'll be the first man to die there.
It started with the dust storm that holed his suit and nearly killed him, and that forced his crew to leave him behind, sure he was already dead. Now he's stranded millions of miles from the nearest human being, with no way to even signal Earth that he's alive--and even if he could get word out, his food would be gone years before a rescue mission 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 get him first.
But Mark isn't ready to give up yet. Drawing on his ingenuity, his engineering skills--and a relentless, dogged refusal to quit--he steadfastly confronts one seemingly insurmountable obstacle after the next. But will his resourcefulness be enough to overcome the impossible odds against him?
Goodbye, my friends, I have been killed by a book.
Tatum has been nagging me for a good year to read this book, and I didn’t really have any reason to keep putting it off other than not being in the mood for it. From the summary, you can figure out that Mark Watney is stuck on Mars. And that’s not a good thing. So I wasn’t ready to read about someone struggling to survive because IT WAS ALWAYS GOING TO END TERRIBLY. Ehem.
Anyway, I finally picked it up a couple of weeks ago because I decided that I needed some more stress in my life and oh. my. god. The Martian is the one of the most stressful books I have ever read. Much of the novel is told from Mark Watney’s POV as he talks about how he’s going to survive on the red planet without his crew, enough food, or equipment that’s in good enough shape.
The Martian is one of those books that gives you heartburn because of the panic and anticipation that is builds up throughout. Whenever you’re with Watney, you’re hoping he can find a way to survive, and when you switch to other characters, you are desperate to get back to Mars so you know exactly what’s going on.
I must talk about Mark Watney because he is a new favourite character of mine. He is fucking HILARIOUS; even after being stranded on Mars and left by his crew, he is cracking (mostly terrible) jokes and writing Amazon product reviews in his head. The humour makes the situation a tiny bit better, which is how I imagine it worked for Watney as well.
While Mark Watney is trying to survive, he talks you through the process, and yes, there is a LOT of maths and science involved. Don’t let this put you off, though. Admittedly, I love maths and science (weirdo! you cry), so I really enjoyed experiencing Mark Watney’s thought process as he figured stuff out and/or explained things. You might not, and you might want to skim read those bits, but I would advise against it because it’s a mixture of science jokes and hilarity, mixed in with some calculations.
So throughout the book, I was waiting for awful things to happen. And they did happen. They kept bloody happening, and I’m pretty sure the planet was trying to kill Mark Watney. But he didn’t lose hope at all. He kept. freakin’. trying to survive and he didn’t give in, even when it looked absolutely hopeless. HE IS THE BESTEST.
AND THEN THE ENDING, WHICH DESERVES ALL CAPS BECAUSE THAT. ENDING. I thought I was going to have a heart attack while I was reading it. I almost didn’t want to finish the book because I thought I knew how it was going to end and I was filled with complete dread. YOU CAN’T KILL MARK WATNEY, MARS/ANDY WEIR/GOD. But then the ending is the best part, because of all the stuff that I can’t spoil.
If you know me at all, then you will know that I can’t be dealing with people showing their humanity. It breaks me. But that’s what this book is ultimately about. Sure, Mark Watney is a guy who is stuck on Mars, but really The Martian is about the human race and how people will band together to try everything they can to save one guy who happens to be in a shit situation. Because shit situations bring out the best in people. And now I’m crying again, so have a quote:
Part of it might be what I represent: progress, science, and the interplanetary future we’ve dreamed of for centuries. But really, they did it because every human being has a basic instinct to help each other out. It might not seem that way sometimes, but it’s true.