The Martian


You must be living behind some rock on this planet if you’ve not heard of this book or the movie. So, I’m not going to get into too much detail on it.

It’s enough to say that this was the goodreads choice winner of 2014 in the science-fiction category.

In a nutshell:

Crap! My astronaut crewmates accidentally left me behind on Mars. I’m fucked! I’m going to die.

Poor astronaut/botanist Mark Watney is thought dead in a freak storm in Mars. His crewmates just about manage to make it to their spacecraft, and make it out of Mars.

Poor Mark is not dead however, and he now has to learn how to survive on the planet till he gets rescued.

Some Cool Info About This Book

I read somewhere online and now can’t find the link, but it seems this book found no takers and so Weir put the book online in serial format one chapter at a time for free at his website.

He started getting readers and on their request he made a kindle e-book for them (priced at 99 cents).

This book then just rose in popularity until it got the attention of a publisher, became a bestseller, and then an Oscar-nominated hit movie starring Matt Damon.

Isn’t that story so inspiring for struggling writers?

On to the Review

I went into this book expecting an intense and thrilling read. Somehow I didn’t expect it to be funny. I mean, a man marooned on a distant planet? What’s so funny about that?

But I was chortling my way through Mark Watney’s one-liners. Throughout his struggles, he is upbeat, cheerful, and insanely optimistic.

Here is his reaction, when something he tries doesn’t work:

I guess you could call it a “failure”, but I prefer the term “learning experience”.

Such a geeky, nerdy thing to say 🙂 .

That said I found his cheerfulness at all times pretty grating. While I am not asking for a complete breakdown, it would have been more realistic to see him get mad, or upset, or just plain introspective. Nothing like that, he’s a one-note chipper character.

Still as the book progressed, I guess I got used to him. It’s pretty much a first-person account by him for most of the book, so yeah, since I liked the book, I guess that means I liked him too.

Another geeky thing that worked for me (up to a point) was actually how Watney manages to fashion a life for himself in Mars. The whole growing of potatoes thing, the calorie counting, the way he arranges his oxygen and water needs – everything was so fascinating.

Again, there were points where I thought the book crossed the line a wee bit with the details. Like I really didn’t want to read a whole page on how Watney drills holes into his vehicle, and details on the size of the holes, and such. But these may interest someone else who is way more into sci-fi than me.

What made this book for me was the absolutely exciting ending where the rescue happens.

Overall, I thought this was a great book – fun and thrilling in equal parts, and I liked every bit of it.

You can also purchase a copy of this book from Amazon.

  • I loved this book too, but the ending much less. I remember reading that article about how he self-published the book initially – so inspiring!

  • Nice review! I just got my hands on a copy and can’t wait to start. The movie was one of my favorites last year.

    • Nishita

      @KatyRochelle:disqus I missed the movie when it came out earlier. Hoping to catch it on the TV sometime.

  • bermudaonion(Kathy)

    I saw the movie and didn’t love it so I decided to skip the book. I’m glad you enjoyed it so much.

    • Nishita

      @bermudaonion_kathy:disqus I’ve heard from folks that the movie rushed through the second part of the book. Still I do want to see the movie 🙂

  • natasha stander

    I saw the movie last year and thought it was so wonderful. I really want to read this book. How inspiring to learn that he worked so hard to get out there. I’m guessing some publishers aren’t too happy with their staff after this!

    • Nishita

      @natashastander:disqus I so want to watch the movie, now that I’m done with the book.

      I am a bit surprised that this book had no takers. It was pretty funny, yes, it reads like a geeky journal, but the style worked pretty well overall.

      Kudos to Weir for keeping at it.

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