Wednesday, March 26, 2014

The Martian by Andy Weir

A few weeks ago I was struggling reading a book that was feeling pretty dense. It felt like a slog. Dealing as I have been with a new job in a new location with new co-workers, routines, and duties, my brain felt tired. So I put that book down at about 200 pages in. (I will pick it up again as I still find myself thinking about the characters and the story.) I was wanting something a little lighter.

Around this time, The Martian was recommended to me by two friends of mine who don't know each other. When two different people recommend the same book, I take notice.

Here's the premise...

Mark Watney is an astronaut on Mars. He and his fellow crew-members are part of Ares 3, third in a series of manned missions to Mars. The crew lands on Mars, six days later encounter a severe storm and the mission is aborted. Mark is left for dead as the rest of the crew leaves for the safety of Hermes, their transport ship back to Earth.


Mark finds himself not dead on Mars. Mars is really far away from Earth, which makes communication and rescue kind of a challenge. Also, there is no food or air or water on Mars, which makes survival kind of a challenge.

But Mark is smart. Mark is resourceful. And he is sarcastic and a smartass. Smart and resourceful will definitely help his chances of survival. Sarcasm and being a smartass may not increase his chances of survival, but they sure make him a fun character to read, even as he is trying desperately to figure out how not to die.

Mark starts chronicling on Sol 6, the (Mars) day he realizes that he's been left alone on a desolate planet, with no one else knowing that he's alive. He does have some supplies and shelter, though none of it was designed for long term living on Mars.

Will Mark Watney survive? Or will he be the first human to die on Mars, perhaps the highlight of the "Mark Watney" Wikipedia page? This book kept me turning pages and even laughing.

I recently wrote a blog post about a Book Rating Scale*. I rarely use numerical ratings for books, but here I am.

Here is the description for a rating of 10 on this scale...

10: Excellent, at the top of its category. This book has impacted me deeply, challenged me profoundly, or has simply been a pure delight to read.

Did The Martian impact me deeply? Hmm, probably not. Did it challenge me profoundly? Um, no. But it was absolutely a delight to read.

So The Martian gets a 10 from me.

*See for a detailed description of the Book Rating Scale.

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