Review of "The Martian" by Andy Weir

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Review of "The Martian" by Andy Weir

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feb. 19, 2014, 11:34am

The Martian by Andy Weir **** 2/18/14

A very entertaining story of the first man to be marooned on Mars.

Mark Watney, thought to have died during a storm as the rest of his team scrubs the third manned mission and heads back to Earth, has survived his injuries and managed to make his way back to the Hab (habitation module). He begins a log, which comprises most of the book. Communications are shot, but he's got plenty of water, food, and oxygen - at least for a year or so. But the next mission is scheduled to arrive long after the year mark, so Mark, a mechanical engineer and botanist, starts planning how to prolong his life and, possibly, reestablish communications. Mark is known for his easy-going nature and ability to make people laugh, and he certainly is tested here. The log is very funny (even with the threat of instant death pretty much overhanging all he does), and there is no "why me?" and little introspection. This is a guy who has trained to survive, and all his thought goes to that - except for the hours of enforced inactivity, when he explores the music, book and videos left on travel drives by his teammates. Even this is hilarious, because they largely consist of disco, old TV shows, and Agatha Christie mysteries, and we discover how Mark feels about each of them. Still, they're company. Many of the logs concern the work he does on various systems, and he starts a farm indoors to enrich some Martian soil and grow potatoes from a few real spuds thoughtfully packed by NASA so the team could have a bit of Thanksgiving dinner. There's quite a bit of science mixed in, stuff I can't give an opinion on as to accuracy, but it sure reads well.

Mark is a delightful character, sure to stay in the reader's mind for a long time. This should be a real hit with Martian fiction aficionados.

feb. 19, 2014, 12:48pm

This was one of this month's Science Fiction Book Club selections. It sounds good from your description (although I admit I skimmed because I don't want to know too much about a book if I'm going to read it).

This is the first I've seen this particular LT group -- neat idea! I wonder if you created an LT list of Martian fiction also?

feb. 19, 2014, 3:30pm

Hi Amy,

Actually, I didn't start this group, but I post reviews when I read something. I love fiction set on Mars. And I haven't done a list, but here's a link to the titles I have in my collection, if that helps.

I think you're safe reading the review - no spoilers, and everything I described happens early on.