The Martian by Andy Weir

The Martian

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 while thinking him dead, Mark finds himself stranded and completely alone with no way to even signal Earth that he’s alive — and even if he could get word out, his supp...

Title:The Martian
Author:
Rating:
Edition Language:English

The Martian Reviews

  • Davy-Gravy

    Unpopular opinion time: I don't like how this book is written. Watney's journals read like a nerdy blog rather than a dramatic survivor's diary. It's hard to find something harrowing and traumatic when the protagonist is saying "yay!" a lot and making incessant corny puns. "3.6 pirate-ninjas!" "Yay oxygen!" "Lol gay probe lol!!!!!1!" "Bad rover, no Scooby snack!!!111!" "LOL craaaaaaap!!1!" For me, those aren't funny, they're almost embarrassing.

    No matter what horrible thing is happening to Watne

    Unpopular opinion time: I don't like how this book is written. Watney's journals read like a nerdy blog rather than a dramatic survivor's diary. It's hard to find something harrowing and traumatic when the protagonist is saying "yay!" a lot and making incessant corny puns. "3.6 pirate-ninjas!" "Yay oxygen!" "Lol gay probe lol!!!!!1!" "Bad rover, no Scooby snack!!!111!" "LOL craaaaaaap!!1!" For me, those aren't funny, they're almost embarrassing.

    No matter what horrible thing is happening to Watney, he's sure to pull though, but not before laying a smug, cutesy zinger on us. It sucks all the tension out of any situation, which is the complete opposite of what I want in a book that's supposed to be a thriller.

    Now, don't get me wrong, Andy Weir is a great technical writer. When Watney isn't being a wacky douche, he's going on and on about some technical or mechanical or biological process that, with me not being a scientist, usually goes over my head. And that's fine, I have no fault with a book that's factually complicated like that. In fact, it's really admirable and cool that Weir is able to pool all of his expertise into a book about survival on Mars.

    That being said, other aspects of the book suffer. According to the author's bio on the back of the book, Andy Weir "was first hired as a programmer for a national laboratory at age fifteen and has been working as a software engineer ever since. He is also a lifelong space nerd and a devoted hobbyist of subjects like relativistic physics, orbital mechanics, and the history of manned spaceflight." If I can stereotype here, it shows. My guess is that he doesn't really know how people behave or interact in the real world. The dialog is stilted and awkward. The characters are all one-dimensional and flat. They almost seem like an afterthought. The emotional and psychological trauma rendered by all these near-death experiences and complete and utter isolation? What trauma? There's no mention of

    anywhere. Watney is apparently that cool and awesome of a guy, as evidenced by all his canned laugh track one-liners and grating sarcasm.

    But hey, maybe that doesn't bother some people (obviously, considering that people actually watch

    ), and they're in for a technologically-driven, "funny" space-thriller. Because I have to admit, it's a terrifyingly cool premise. It just wasn't what I was expecting. I was hoping for an emotionally-taxing, horrifying, survival drama, but instead got a cutesily witty astrophysics manual. Just because something is nerdy doesn't automatically mean that it's good.

  • Althea Ann

    'Crap! My astronaut crewmates accidentally left me behind on Mars! I'm fucked! I'm going to die! Oh wait! I just thought of something highly logically unlikely and technically complicated, that I am sure to pull off without a hitch, because did I mention that I am Plucky and Ingenious? It sure is a good thing that I am super-talented! Yay! That worked! I'm not dead! [Next chapter] But wait! Disaster has struck! Shit happens, when you're stuck alone on Mars. Whatever shall I do? OMG, I just had a

    'Crap! My astronaut crewmates accidentally left me behind on Mars! I'm fucked! I'm going to die! Oh wait! I just thought of something highly logically unlikely and technically complicated, that I am sure to pull off without a hitch, because did I mention that I am Plucky and Ingenious? It sure is a good thing that I am super-talented! Yay! That worked! I'm not dead! [Next chapter] But wait! Disaster has struck! Shit happens, when you're stuck alone on Mars. Whatever shall I do? OMG, I just had a great idea! It's a good thing I'm so naturally optimistic, because it sure would make for a bummer book if I ever showed any signs of being depressed or having any kind of mental deterioration after spending nearly two years in total solitude! Nah, I've got the fightin' spirit! I can create a life support system out of duct tape! What does Mars actually look like? Is there anything interesting from a scientific perspective about it? Who cares! I'm busy growing potatoes in shit and watching Three's Company! Did I mention that disco sucks?'

    Repeat.

    For a while.

    I do not get the hype.

  • Emily May

    Let's kick this year off with a review of a book about a guy who deserves to survive more than anyone I've ever known. This book has been lurking around in my Goodreads feed, gaining hype, and all the positive reviews from my friends eventually got too much for me - so I had to check this out for myself. I'm glad I gave in.

    has so many good things going for it. First and foremost, it is a classic tale of survival against very huge odds. In this book, Mark Wa

    Let's kick this year off with a review of a book about a guy who deserves to survive more than anyone I've ever known. This book has been lurking around in my Goodreads feed, gaining hype, and all the positive reviews from my friends eventually got too much for me - so I had to check this out for myself. I'm glad I gave in.

    has so many good things going for it. First and foremost, it is a classic tale of survival against very huge odds. In this book, Mark Watney becomes one of the first people to walk on Mars but after an accident causes him to be believed dead and abandoned by his crew, it looks like he will be the first person to die there. Like

    x a million, Mark must battle extremely foreign territory, the likelihood of starvation, and the possibility of technical failures.

    The best thing about this book is the juxtaposition between the very scientific nature of everything Mark must do to survive - gave me a renewed level of respect for how damn smart astronauts have to be - and his absolutely wonderful personality. Mark maintains his sense of humour throughout every hardship he faces - it's pretty much impossible to not be charmed by him.

    Here are some quotes:

    This book is part "serious" science-fiction, part an hilariously dark comedy that imagines a horrifying situation infused with humour and the overwhelming human desire to stay alive. It's hard to imagine that anyone who picks this up won't find themselves dragged into Mark's world, desperately needing to know what will happen to him.

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  • Will Byrnes

    Ok, show of hands. How many of you have uttered these exact words? (or words to that effect). Not everyone? I see we have some liars out there. How many have said them at least twice? Three times? Four? Those with hands still up, you probably need to make some adjustments to your approach, find a safer line of work, hobbies that do not entail long drops, stop trying the weekly specials at McBlowfish, or seek out people to date who are into less extreme…um…sports. These a

    Ok, show of hands. How many of you have uttered these exact words? (or words to that effect). Not everyone? I see we have some liars out there. How many have said them at least twice? Three times? Four? Those with hands still up, you probably need to make some adjustments to your approach, find a safer line of work, hobbies that do not entail long drops, stop trying the weekly specials at McBlowfish, or seek out people to date who are into less extreme…um…sports. These are the opening words of

    . Astronaut Mark Watney is definitely more screwed than most of us have ever been. Dude missed his ride and there will not be another along for, oh, four years. Supplies on hand were only meant to cover a few weeks, maybe months. And that Martian atmosphere is definitely no fun, lacking stuff like, oh, breathable air, and a reasonable range of temperature. It does, offer, however, extremely harsh (good for scouring that burned on gunk from sauce pans) and long-lasting (as in months) dust storms. And if that was not enough he faces an array of other challenges.

    No, Kibby (the 12-year-old kibitzer who infects my brain), no

    brain beasts, or that other guy, even though I know he is your favorite. Real challenges. For example, the music he has for his stay consists of disco. The viewing options include 70s TV. Most of us might give serious consideration to minimizing the guaranteed pain, frustration, starvation and inevitable death by, maybe, taking a short hustle outside sans that special suit. It would be a very, very short last dance. Watney is either a cock-eyed optimist or an idiot. I'm going with the former, as he is indeed made of the right stuff. He is armored and well supplied with the sort of can-do designer genes that might make the rest of us feel like the can’t-do sorts we are. He is the poster boy for positive attitude. It does not hurt that he is way smart, with expertise in a wide-enough range of things scientific to matter. It does not hurt that he is an engineer who gets off on taking apart, putting back-together, figuring out, thinking through, testing, trying, and pushing envelopes. But his crew is headed home, and what hope is there, really?

    tells of Watney’s attempt to survive in a literally alien environment, using only the tools on hand and his wits. It is a gripping story with one of the most adorable heroes you are likely to encounter, on this planet or any other. (No, Kibby, not a kitten) How could you not root for a guy who scrapes through Thanksgiving dinner for potato parts to plant for food? Of course, one might think “been there, done that,” particularly as 1964’s

    offered a retelling of Daniel Defoe’s classic tale in a more contemporary notion of a remote locale. A 1905 novel used a different classic traveler in the same sort of format.

    Of course those tellings had a lot more in common with the Barsoom of Edgar Rice Burroughs as seen by Frank Frazetta than they do with the vision we have of the Red Planet today, or, say, reality.

    Reality

    Or is it?

    Most of the tale is spent on Watney’s very compelling attempt to survive, going through all the challenges he faces trying to make air, preserve and maybe generate water, make his food last, get some sort of communication set up, deal with things like exploding air-locks, biblical level dust-storms, toppling ground-transport vehicles, you know, stuff, most of it life-threatening. The other end of things is how the folks on the ground deal with this GInornous OOPS. There are technical elements, of course but more interesting, for me, were the political considerations. To tell the crew or not? Imagine how bummed out, embarrassed, and guilty you might be on that ship (the Hermes) returning home, knowing you had left one behind. Might it affect your ability to take care of necessary business for the next bunch of months? Another question is whether to tell the public, and if so, when. How about getting help from other space-capable nations? Are any international dealings simple? There is also some in-house (NASA) staff maneuvering that is wonderful to see.

    In her fabulous book on writing,

    , Anne Lamott writes

    Probably the greatest strength of

    is the narration of Mark Watney. He is engaging and funny, optimistic and capable. I suppose there are some who might find him lacking in sharp edges, but I thought he worked great.

    – from the film.

    The new earth-based shooting location was

    , Jordan. I am sure they did plenty of color adjustments in post, but boy-o-boy does this place look like an alien landscape.

    Yes, really, there is too much scientific detail. It is not that it is beyond the comprehension of a lot of readers (although it will skip by a fair number) it is the share of time, the number of pages, the sheer volume of obstacles to be overcome, and the very detailed explanation of so many of them that tilts the book a bit too much towards the MacGyver demo. Weir writes very well about the other elements of the story. Repetition of DANGER, WILL ROBINSON, with the subsequent amazingly clever repair du jour, does get a bit old after a while. I had to fight an urge to scan at times.

    But that is really it. Otherwise,

    is an absolute delight to read. Watney is lovable as well as capable, and makes excellent use of his sense of humor to look on the bright side of life, in a very dark circumstance.

    Whether he makes it out on time or not (not gonna spoil that one) you will cheer him on, hope for the best, and fly past those pages with considerable, if maybe not interplanetary, speed. Is there

    ? There will be while you read this book.

    Review posted – 1/16/15

    Updated and trotted out there again on release of the film - 10/2/15

    This review has been cross-posted on my site,

    Publication date – self-pub in 2011 – Bought, edited and published by Crown 10/28/2014

    PS - Saw the film on 10/9/15 and it kicks ass! Go see it if you haven't already. It is very true to the book, with the improvement of not getting bogged down in details, has a great cast, looks amazing and does a fantastic job of promoting science.

    =============================

    Links to the author’s

    and

    pages.

    5/24/16 - Weir wrote a short story prequel to

    , called

    . I posted a

    this week. It included a link to the story, so you can read it for yourself.

    August, 2016 - At the Hugo awards Weir wins the John W, Campbell award for best new writer, and the screenplay for the film wins for Best Dramatic Presentation, long form

    on Gutenberg

    by Edwin Lester Linden Arnold on Gutenberg

    For a real Martian experience check out NASA’s

    For a realer Martian experience, and ideal for those trying to keep one step ahead of creditors and/or the law, you might want to consider applying to

    , no joke. There is more on this project below but the above link is for the selection process, just in case you don’t mind a strictly one-way journey.

    A nifty article from the NY Times (10/5/15) about the woman at NASA responsible for seeing to it that we do not bring Earth germs you-know-where -

    - by Kenneth Chang

    I bet you thought I’d forgotten these guys. No chance! I just ran out of time to figure out how to stuff them into the review. So, sorry, I am stuffing them here. That sounds so wrong.

    If you want to experience Mars while still on earth, it is indeed possible

    A general National Geo

    on Mars

    Planetary.Org has an excellent

    to date, and some that are in process

    When you are checking your ancestry some of that unusual DNA might come from a place, far, far away. Two scientists look at the unfortunately named notion of

    ,

    which addresses the possibility that the genesis of life on Earth had its opening act

    .

    If you want to know Who goes to Mars for the waters, the answer is

    And speaking of Eau d'Ares,

    on the presence of H2OMG you know where, in the 9/28/15 article in the NY Times - by Kenneth Chang. Thanks to my pal, Henry B, for this refreshing item.

    8/31/16 - Another recommendation from the intrepid Henry B. Planning any long trips, HB? -

    by Katie Rogers

    - New York Times

    - image from NY Times who got it from NASA who got it from JPL

    Here is a nifty article from The New Yorker, on work being done to cope with inter-planetary cabin fever.

    by Tom Kizzia - from the April 20, 2015 issue

    9/12/16 - If, like Quint, you think we're gonna need a bigger boat, to get to Mars that is, Jeff Bezos's Blue Origin company may have just the thing -

    - By Daniel Victor for the New York Times

    9/27/16 - New York Times -

    - by Kenneth Chang

    10/25/16 -National Geographic is producing a documentary series about our favorite red-tinted neighbor (no, not the lady across the way who got too much sun. Put those binoculars away NOW). Coverage in the latest issue includes a whole passel of things Martian. Enjoy. -

    From the August 2017 National Geographic -

    - By Natasha Daly

    - from the above NatGeo article

    September 17, 2017 - Washington Post re-printing an AP story -

    - Caleb Jones

    All right. We’re all done now. You’d better get going or Marvin will lose his cool

    Oh, sorry Marvin, just one more thing, lists.

    Abbott and Costello go to Mars

    The Angry Red Planet

    Bad Girls From Mars

    The Brave Little Toaster Goes to Mars

    Capricorn One

    Devil Girl From Mars

    Doom

    Empire of Danger

    Escape From Mars

    Flight to Mars

    Ghosts of Mars

    Invaders from Mars

    The Last days on Mars

    Lost on Mars

    Mars Needs Moms

    Mars Needs Women

    Mission to Mars

    Race to Mars

    Red Planet

    Red Planet Mars

    Robinson Crusoe on Mars

    Rocket Man

    Roving Mars

    Santa Claus Conquers the Martians

    Stranded

    The Terror from Beyond Space

    Total Recall

    – PBS

    Life On Mars –

    Life on Mars –

    – Proposed - (check this one out)

    2312 – Kim Stanley Robinson

    The Barsoom Series by Edgar Rice Burroughs

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    on Gutenberg - and

    -----

    -----

    -----

    -----

    -----

    -----

    -----

    -----

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    -----John Carter of Mars

    Blades of Mars – Edward P. Bradbury

    C.O.D Mars – E.C. Tubb

    The Caves of Mars – Emil Petaja

    Children of Mars – Paul G Day

    City of the Beast – Michael Moorcock

    The Daughter of Mars – Thomas Keneally

    The Empress of Mars – Kage Baker

    First on Mars – Rex Gordon

    Icehenge – Kim Stanley Robinson

    Life on Mars – Jennifer Brown

    Life on Mars (a different one) – Jonathan Strahan

    The Long Mars – Terry Pratchett

    Mars – Ben Bova

    Mars is my Destination – Frank Belknap Long

    Mars Plus – Frederick Pohl

    The Mars Trilogy – Kim Stanley Robinson

    -----Blue Mars

    -----Green Mars

    -----Red Mars

    Marsquakes – Kevin F. Owens

    The Martian Chronicles – Ray Bradbury

    Masters of the Pit – Michael Moorcock

    Moving Mars – Greg Bear

    No Man Friday – Rex Gordon

    Old Mars – George R.R. Martin

    Packing for Mars – Mary Roach – ok, not a novel

    Podkayne of Mars - Robert Heinlein

    Prelude to Mars – Arthur C. Clarke

    Priests of Mars – Graham McNeill

    The Road to Mars – Eric Idle

    The Sands of Mars – Arthur C. Clarke

    Sebastian Of Mars – Al Sarrantino

    Shadow Over Mars – Leigh Brackett

    Sin in Space – Cyrill Judd (Cyril M. Kornbluth and Judith Merril)

    Stranger in a Strange Land – Robert Heinlein

    Urania – Camille Flammarion

    White Mars – Brian Aldiss["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>

  • Sasha Alsberg

    I go so emotional at the end, so good!

  • Kat O'Keeffe

    This book was fantastic! A thrilling survival story with a hearty dose of humor. The main character Mark was such a smartass and I LOVED IT. The voice and the premise hooked me in right away and kept me thoroughly engaged the whole time. My only real issues were that some of the minor characters didn't really stand out as much as they could've, and some of the science heavy bits were a little hard to follow and felt info-dumpy at times. But the human aspect--the heart of the story--was totally o

    This book was fantastic! A thrilling survival story with a hearty dose of humor. The main character Mark was such a smartass and I LOVED IT. The voice and the premise hooked me in right away and kept me thoroughly engaged the whole time. My only real issues were that some of the minor characters didn't really stand out as much as they could've, and some of the science heavy bits were a little hard to follow and felt info-dumpy at times. But the human aspect--the heart of the story--was totally on point, and for the most part I just had a great time reading this!

    Overall, this book was exciting and fun and oh man, am I excited for the movie! I would definitely recommend this to anyone who likes survival stories or funny thrillers or sci-fi with an emphasis on the sci!

  • Jesse (JesseTheReader)

    I'm so happy that I randomly decided to pick this book up! I did find that the story dragged a bit towards the end and some of things went over my head a little bit, but for the most part this was a fantastic read!

  • Wil Wheaton

    I have never wanted so badly for the characters in a book to be real. I want to meet them all the way I want to meet the president, or Taylor Swift.

    This story is perfectly told. It is perfectly paced, it is brilliantly written, it is beautifully crafted.

    Andy Weir does this incredible thing where he make the reader

    the isolation that Mark Wagner feels, and he does it so subtly, we don't even realize that he's doing it until it's done.

    The Martian completely captivated me. I couldn't wait to f

    I have never wanted so badly for the characters in a book to be real. I want to meet them all the way I want to meet the president, or Taylor Swift.

    This story is perfectly told. It is perfectly paced, it is brilliantly written, it is beautifully crafted.

    Andy Weir does this incredible thing where he make the reader

    the isolation that Mark Wagner feels, and he does it so subtly, we don't even realize that he's doing it until it's done.

    The Martian completely captivated me. I couldn't wait to find out what happened next, and I never wanted it to end.

  • Rick Riordan

    Adult science thriller.

    Love it, love it! A meticulously researched, briskly paced and surprisingly funny story about an astronaut left behind on Mars, presumed dead, who must now figure out how to survive and let the folks back on Earth know he is alive and needs rescue. This is hard-science science fiction. Parts of it read like really complicated (but amusing) word problems, juggling mass and time and weight, etc. But all of that adds to the realism. You can tell Andy Weir loves his space exp

    Adult science thriller.

    Love it, love it! A meticulously researched, briskly paced and surprisingly funny story about an astronaut left behind on Mars, presumed dead, who must now figure out how to survive and let the folks back on Earth know he is alive and needs rescue. This is hard-science science fiction. Parts of it read like really complicated (but amusing) word problems, juggling mass and time and weight, etc. But all of that adds to the realism. You can tell Andy Weir loves his space exploration and knows a ton about it. He totally had me convinced, anyway. The Martian is a fast read, and the main character’s irrepressible sense of humor will have you cheering for him as he tries to survive against impossible odds. I will also never eat another potato again. (Long story.) If you’re looking for a fast-paced, believable space adventure set in present day, this is your book.

  • karen

    this book is basically just a really long SAT question. and i so hope the movie is just matt damon sitting at a table doing equations for two and a half hours.

    oh but first, as promised, here are the photos of me being an astronaut this past weekend.

    zooooom!

    i am orbiting the eeeeeeaaaarttthh!!

    i did a really good job at astronauting and i didn't need to do math even once! (although i started experiencing cramped space-madness

    this book is basically just a really long SAT question. and i so hope the movie is just matt damon sitting at a table doing equations for two and a half hours.

    oh but first, as promised, here are the photos of me being an astronaut this past weekend.

    zooooom!

    i am orbiting the eeeeeeaaaarttthh!!

    i did a really good job at astronauting and i didn't need to do math even once! (although i started experiencing cramped space-madness after about 6 hours, so i doubt i'm going to mars anytime soon.)

    so many people i know LOVED this book. and so many people i know HATED this book. and as is usually the case with rabidly divisive books, i find myself smack in the middle, perplexed (but pleased) by the passion on both sides. it's a fine book - a pretty good balance of things i enjoyed and things i enjoyed less.

    things i enjoyed less:

    the reason i don't read a lot of sci-fi is because my grasp on sci is pretty slippery. and this book is one long celebration of math and chemistry and physics and etc. and also airlocks. i don't like airlocks. which is a weird thing to not like, i suppose, but the same way

    bored me when melville fangirled over rope for a million pages, this one izza lotta descriptions of spacecraft bits and the mechanics of airlocks and stuff that's wicked important if you are being an astronaut but is boring to me reading about it and i totally glazed over whenever anything had to be secured onto an airlock and depressurized.

    but what's really frustrating is that for all the attention to detail/accuracy when it came to the math (i assume/i trust), the book's pretty flippant with the psychology. watney is all relentless optimism and unflagging "can do" attitude and dick jokes, with very few signs of depression or fear that isn't phrased in the form of a joke. weir tried to blanket over this "lack of meltdown" with that brief mention that watney is the class clown whose jokiness becomes heightened under stress, but seriously - there are more tears in any given episode of

    than in this book about a man abandoned on mars and left completely alone for 2 years facing ever-escalating dangers and setbacks.

    and the writing is definitely problematic. there is so much repetition, and so many times watney starts off a paragraph with "remember" as in "remember when i mentioned this-and-that?? well, now it is coming back into play in this situation razzmatazz!" it's not great for narrative flow, and it's a little insulting to assume your readership can't remember things that happened during the course of the book. and this tic is

    perplexing when you "remember" (

    ???) that watney's entries are ostensibly directed at other astronauts/scientists who wouldn't need science explained to them, and certainly wouldn't need the prod to remember it.

    the ending is bad and too abrupt. there's not much else to say about that.

    but there are also things i enjoyed:

    i love survival books, so all the high-stakes DIY macgyver "lemme fix it with glue!" stuff was entertaining, when it didn't require me to recall stuff i

    failed to learn in high school. i also love lateral thinking puzzles, so i appreciated watney's process of arriving at unconventional solutions to problems i will never face. bonus points for when the fix was some unpretty punk rock janked-up solution, especially when it freaked out the scientists on the ground. and i like watney's blithe attitude - to a point -

    i preferred it when he was being cowboy-practical to when weir was forcing the humor. which - i know a lot of readers have a problem with the quality of the humor, but as someone who says "that's what she said"

    daily, the juvenile nature of the humor didn't bother me, and i did giggle at his consumer review of his laptop:

    but it just felt like wherever weir could stick a joke, he'd stick a joke, and it became over-bedazzled with humor. although, considering this book treats watney's situation as reality t.v. for those still on the ground, and reality t.v. tends to amplify its participants with "must be entertaining at all times" fervor, this isn't entirely inappropriate after all.

    another frustration i had was how much i enjoyed all the stuff that was happening on the ground and in the

    . it was much more interesting than equation-boy and his boob-doodling, and it was better-written: the humor was more successfully integrated, the characters were more convincingly human, and that's frustrating because it shows he

    do it. so that's a "thing i enjoyed" buried under a complaint, i guess. but i did genuinely enjoy all the non-mars scenes, and when it would cut back to watney, i would groan like it was a bran chapter in ASOIAF.

    so that's me: middle-of-the-road karen who sees the book's flaws, but mostly enjoyed reading it.

    tl;dr: a fun book interrupted by math.

    ***********************************************************

    so, i saw the movie a couple of days ago, and i can finally weigh in on a comparison of the two. i'm definitely glad i read the book first, but at the end of the day, i'm not sure if there's an answer about which is "better."

    some of my favorite harrowing "OH NO" moments from the book did not make it into the movie (like that sudden realization which sends him scurrying outside for a long time), and also some of my favorite solutions were absent (hair). and while there were way fewer perilous moments in the movie, there was a zillion times more emotional response to the problems that did occur. which is points for realism, but watching people cry or otherwise emote on the big screen is as boring and time-wasting as reading about math, so one negates the other. but overall, the most interesting stuff got cut from the movie - stuff on mars, stuff on hermes, stuff on ground, etc.

    having a montage to look at while math goes on and on in a voice-over is way more interesting than me kidding myself reading the math paragraphs several times like suddenly i'm gonna

    it. also, matt damon delivers the jokey bits in a way that seems natural, and there are fewer jokes overall. (although in some cases, they cut the wrong ones. #aquaman) and i guess that iron man scene. that was pretty cool.

    so it's kind of a tie. the movie is basically the cliffs notes version of the book - it gives you the basic gist of it, but you'll miss out on some really great scenes if you are like "book??? too boring tl;dr." and if you just read the book you won't get to see the airlocks in all their glory.

    ***********************************************************

    i want to see this movie, but i know it'll kill my motivation to read the book, so it looks like this puppy is gonna have to be my airplane book this weekend. as a bonus, with my window seat i can pretend that i am an astronaut myself, albeit a really incompetent one.

    i apologize to my seatmates in advance.

    book - check

    astronaut ice cream pellets - check

    and off we go!


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