Monday, July 27, 2015

The Martian by Andy Weir.

“He’s stuck out there. He thinks he’s totally alone and that we all gave up on him. What kind of effect does that have on a man’s psychology?” He turned back to Venkat. “I wonder what he’s thinking right now.” 

LOG ENTRY: SOL 61 How come Aquaman can control whales? They’re mammals! Makes no sense.” 

The Martian was my most recent audiobook (I only listen to books when at the gym). When I was looking for a new book to listen to, I wanted something that would keep my attention and motivate me to go back to the gym to keep "reading." And I had heard good things about Weir's novel, and after the husband showed me the trailer for the movie, I bought it on Audible and started listening the very next day. 

In short, I loved this. Seriously, loved this. 

Mark Watney was left behind on Mars when the crew of the Ares 3 mission took him for dead during a dust storm and evacuated. His crew and NASA assumed him to be dead, when really, all he had was a small injury. Alone on Mars, Watney had to use all of his strength, courage, and knowledge to find a way to contact Earth and survive. The Martian is the story of Watney's struggle to contact Earth and survive using only the resources NASA sent with Ares 3. 

It's a fabulous novel. It's well-researched and detailed in the scientific aspects (I do wonder how I would feel about those pieces had I read and not listened to the novel-the narrator was excellent). While I'm not a scientist (far from it), I could follow the explanations, especially as Watney had quite a sense of humor about everything....

"The screen went black before I was out of the airlock. Turns out the “L” in “LCD” stands for “Liquid.” I guess it either froze or boiled off. Maybe I’ll post a consumer review. “Brought product to surface of Mars. It stopped working. 0/10.” 

I think that Watney's sense of humor and flippancy about his situation is what actually sold me on the novel. I've noted that in some of the criticism of the novel, many point out that he never gets down or depressed about his situation. That lack of emotion on Watney's fault somehow makes the novel better for me. Because instead of hearing how upset he is (and doomed), Watney is a man of action, and he is constantly looking for the best way to survive, and perhaps get rescued. His sense of humor is what made me want to keep listening. Take this...

“I can't wait till I have grandchildren. When I was younger, I had to walk to the rim of a crater. Uphill! In an EVA suit! On Mars, ya little shit! Ya hear me? Mars!”

It just brings a smile to my face. :)

Or this....

“I'm calling it the Watney Triangle because after what I've been through, shit on Mars should be named after me.”

The whole novel is filled with little gems.

I digress...

Really, the book is a modern day Robinson Crusoe and I love those types of survival stories. It's moving and inspiring and in some ways makes me want to go climb a mountain (if that makes any sense). And in contrast to Watney, we also get the story back on Earth. We see what NASA sees, hear their conversations about trying to save Watney, and the whole thing is heroic and thrilling and something I didn't want to stop listening to. 

So yes, I loved it. 

“If a hiker gets lost in the mountains, people will coordinate a search. If a train crashes, people will line up to give blood. If an earthquake levels a city, people all over the world will send emergency supplies. This is so fundamentally human that it's found in every culture without exception. Yes, there are assholes who just don't care, but they're massively outnumbered by the people who do.” 


  1. You've picked out some of my favourite quotes! <3 although as you've said it's so full of gems it's really hard to pick favourites :)
    I also didn't care about "no character growth". I personally know people who would probably write their Mars diaries in the same style. Maybe he cried in his pillow sometimes, but he understood that it's either keep sane and positive or perish. I don't see a problem with this at all. Also, I like a book that makes me feel good!
    Looking forward to the movie now :)

  2. Oh, I think he showed his downside sometimes. Granted, I've read it in print and listened to it, so I might have been more attuned to nuances the second time around. There are certain entries he makes that are fairly defeatist. The thing is that he isn't down for long. He might have one short entry alluding to his slim chances for survival, and then the next one is him making plans with the full power of his sarcasm and intelligence.

    This is probably one of my favorite novels I've ever read. He doesn't need character development because really, he needs to worry about the basic survival needs. Character growth happens after those needs are met. The science I adored because it was so easily understood and feasible. Mark's ability to do what needs to be done and cut through the bureaucratic BS to do so makes him a hero in my eyes. It's just a great story with an amazing main character and a top-notch supporting cast.

  3. Yay for this book on audio! Totally awesome.

  4. Okay. Maybe I'll actually read this one day. Or listen to it, actually - how was the narration?

  5. I keep going back and forth about whether to read this one or not. The quotes you included, though, are hilarious, and that might just be enough to make the decision for me. On the TBR list it goes! :)

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  8. A fascinating story that was able to keep my attention while it was being serialized. Funny, suspenseful, with a very particular attention to detail. Very science-oriented, although being a layman, I can't say that it's 100% accurate. But it was certainly a fun ride.

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  9. Who knew that a book so full of hard-core science could be so compelling, so easy and FUN to read? Also a revelation to me. Looking forward to the movie.