Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Jennavier Recommends: The Martian by Andy Weir


The Martian was definitely not the next book I’d planned on spotlighting. In case you’re wondering, I have a list. However it was just so awesome that I can’t keep it to myself.

Apollo 13 meets Cast Away in this grippingly detailed, brilliantly ingenious man-vs-nature survival thriller, set on the surface of Mars.

Six days ago, astronaut Mark Watney became one of the first men to walk on the surface of Mars. Now, he's sure he'll be the first man to die there.

It started with the dust storm that holed his suit and nearly killed him, and that forced his crew to leave him behind, sure he was already dead. Now he's stranded millions of miles from the nearest human being, with no way to even signal Earth that he's alive--and even if he could get word out, his food would be gone years before a rescue mission 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 get him first.

But Mark isn't ready to give up yet. Drawing on his ingenuity, his engineering skills--and a relentless, dogged refusal to quit--he steadfastly confronts one seemingly insurmountable obstacle after the next. But will his resourcefulness be enough to overcome the impossible odds against him

 One of the things that makes the Martian great is its awesome characters. If you’re going to be stuck with someone for a whole book, then you’d better like them. Mark, the main character, was great. He was smart, funny, and had enough flaws to keep him interesting. I especially loved how Weir used Mark's excellent voice to explain the science. Now, I’m a long time science fiction buff but even I steer clear of most hard science books. They’re just more then my middle school science level can handle. That doesn’t stop Weir from not only making the science understandable, but fun to learn and part of the plot. Yes my friends, he uses exposition to push the plot forward in a way that leaves me tense and fascinated. Don’t ask me how. As a writer it looks like a magic trick.


It would be easy for the book to get boring. After all, Mark is all by himself waiting for rescue. Luckily that never happens. Surviving on Mars isn’t easy, and Weir keeps us on our toes by letting us know that. Just when we think Mark is set something else goes wrong, and it takes his considerable smarts to get himself back together again. None of these interruptions feel like ridiculous plot points. It feels like Mark is doing what he has to do to survive, and the happenstance of life is working against him.


Even with a great plot the story wouldn’t work without some of the best humor I’ve ever read. The Martian is sometimes laugh out loud funny. While that’s sometimes awkward on your lunch break, it’s great for taking your mind off the job. So enjoy another great book on me my friends. Trust me, you’ll love it.



  1. This sounds great. Nice change of pace from what I've been reading lately. Thanks for the recommendation.