Title: The Martian
Author: Andy Weir
Genre: Adventure, Sci-fi
Publisher: Del Rey
Publication Date: 2011
Summary: I’m stranded on Mars.
I have no way to communicate with Earth.
If the Oxygenator breaks down, I’ll suffocate. If the Water Reclaimer breaks down, I’ll die of thirst. If the Habitat breaches, I’ll just kind of explode.
If none of these things happen, I’ll eventually run out of food and starve to death.
I had heard a lot about The Martian before I decided to buy a copy and read it for myself. After hearing about the film adaptation, I was eager to start as the film had many of my favourite actors in it and looked like it would be amazing (which it is).
Both reviews online and friends had given this book quite a bit of praise, so I did have high hopes, which it sure lived up to.
The Martian is mainly from the point of view of astronaut and botanist, Mark Watney, stranded on Mars with no communication with anyone. However, a little of the way through the book, we meet new characters who have their own chapters from their perspective. This is needed and really effective as without it, we would be just as clueless as Mark, and have no idea what is going on elsewhere.
At first I was a little worried that I wouldn’t be able to get into it because of how much the technical aspects are described. I was completely wrong. The log entries of Mark are a brilliant mix of technical talk, humour and, especially as the novel progresses, emotion. All of these things used together really create a sense of realism and I began to believe that this man was stuck in space!
I adore space but the idea of being alone on a planet, presumed dead, is terrifying and the fear is translated really well by Andy Weir. This novel made me so many different emotions; I laughed, I cried, I felt just as nervous as Mark himself when everything was going wrong.
I recommend this book to absolutely everyone. It has amazing characters that all have beautifully individual personalities which shine through as soon as they appear. The only downside for me is that for many of the characters there isn’t much development, however there isn’t much room for this, and as they are not the main focus it isn’t damaging to the story.
My biggest praise for this novel is how it translates so much human emotion into a story which could have just been taken over by the setting of Mars and space. However, The Martian really is a story about human nature and how we can come together to help each other.
You leave this book feeling a heart-warming unity with all humans everywhere. Along with that, this book is the closest feeling to being in space you could ever need.