Title : The martian
Author : Andy Weir
Publication date : February 11th 2014 (First in 2011)
Publisher : Crown Publishing Group
Genre : Sci-fi
Synopsis : 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.
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 kill him first. But Mark’s not ready to quit. 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. As he overcomes one seemingly insurmountable obstacle after the next, Mark begins to let himself believe he might make it off the planet alive – but Mars has plenty of surprises in store for him yet. (From Goodreads)
I guess you could call it a “failure”, but I prefer the term “learning experience”.
The martian is one of those books that take some getting used to at the beginning. The writing style is so different from anything I’ve read before, it’s a mixture between narrative chapters and log entries, which made the book even more interesting.
The first five chapters are all Log entries from Mark Watney, and let me just tell you, that guy is HILARIOUS. It is basically the protagonist’s diary so he shares his thoughts, his progress, his updates etc… which means that those parts of the book are written in a very familiar register with a bunch of swearing, puns and jokes, things that I really, REALLY appreciated, it is truly refreshing. When the point of view switches to NASA, a lot of characters are introduced at once, it’s a little bit confusing to know who does what but it got better a few pages later.
The major thing about this novel is the Science, it is everywhere. You either love it or you don’t. It frankly intimidated me and I interpreted it as boredom. Then to my surprise, as it went on, it got the hang of it and it became harder and harder to put the book down, the science that I thought was boring became addicting and I kept coming back for more (even though I should’ve been studying, shhh!).
Now, let’s talk about the protagonist. Mark Watney, a mechanical engineer and botany amateur. He is a very strong character, with a very fun personality which is always a plus, since he’s stuck in outer space, that means that he makes the most of every situation and takes it in with humor. I think he used sarcasm more like an armor so that he didn’t sink into a depression or worse. As much as I loved this aspect of him, it is also what I disliked about him. I would’ve liked to see a little more vulnerability and emotion. I know that it probably was a choice made by the author, but still, I would’ve liked to read about the strains that isolation and repetitive near death experiences had on his mental state, because I’m sure that no human being would’ve came out of a year an a half alone on Mars with no mental issues.
Overall, I really enjoyed this book. After putting it down and reflecting on its content, I realized that it was more than just the story of some astronaut’s survival. To me, it was about never giving up on yourself, or on anyone that needs your help for that matter. That may not be the author’s goal, but that’s what It did for me. The best thing about books is that every reader has hos own personal take on what they have to offer.
That’s it until next time.
Did you read The Martian ? If so, what did you think of it?
Hope you enjoyed, write to you soon.
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