With technology becoming more advanced, there was no doubt in my mind there would be a bestseller science fiction novel soon. “The Martian” by Andy Weir certainly hit the mark.
During one of the first manned missions to Mars a sandstorm hits, causing the crew to evacuate and go back to Earth early. Mark Watney was hit by flying wreckage during the sprint to the spaceship and was presumed dead, after all his decompression alarm went off signaling his life had ended.
The commander went back to look for him, but due to the storm and impending doom, she had to leave him behind. Through many farfetched scenarios, he managed to survive again and again. Who knew how long he could stay alive.
This was a thrilling tale of survival based around science that left me breathless.
This novel took a while to get into as the voice was more conversational than I am used to and takes the reader step by step through scientific processes. Most of the scientific processes I doubt would have actually worked or been possible.
If this was real life he probably would have died in a couple days, but that wouldn’t have made a very good story.
Every time Watney was about to do another science project, whether it was messing up or modifying his rover or making water from hydrazine and O2, he knows how dangerous it is. He is basically splitting atoms.
He said, “If I make any mistakes there’ll be nothing left but the ‘Mark Watney Memorial Crater.’”
Obviously, he messes up eventually. Obviously, he doesn’t die.
The major plot fault is actually not that pretty much all the science is potentially faulty but that everything goes by so fast that it is the written version of whiplash until you get used to it.
This book is told in first person through communication logs, but at some moments it shifts perspective. It changes to tell the story of how people on Earth are reacting and how those at NASA are planning to help. It also occasionally shifts to his crew who are still on their way back to Earth.
This provides a nice change of pace for when you get tired of one perspective. It also makes this novel have more than one character.
In the end, Watney ended up being a very entertaining narrator, and the characters were all realistic from their first mention. Each time a new setting or character was introduced, it was as though I had known them for ages.
Although this book had its faults, I loved it. I spent the entire time rooting for Watney’s survival. I held my breath and crossed my fingers, praying that he would get to see his family again.
This book deals with all the emotions that come with this struggle, from crew members, to family and to Watney himself.
Definitely deserving it’s spot on the New York Times bestseller list for the past 52 weeks, “The Martin” gets four spacesuits out of five.
Arts and Entertainment Editor