Title: The Martian: Book Review
Book: The Martian
Author: Andy Weir
Publisher: Del Rey
Genre: Science Fiction
First Published: 2014
Major Characters: Mark Watney, Venkat Kapoor, Commander Lewis, Major Rick Martinez, Beth Johanseen
I found this book accidentally on Amazon. I had heard of the movie, The Martian, but not of the book. I read the reviews and got to know that it is a survival story and that it is funny.
How the heck can a survival story be funny?
And then I read one of the best science fiction novels I have ever read.
“People have been using human waste as fertilizer for centuries. It’s even got a pleasant name: “night soil.”… My asshole is doing as much to keep me alive as my brain.”
The Martian is the story of Mark Watney, an astronaut stranded on Mars. He was left behind on the red planet with no way to communicate with Earth. He faced a series of life-threatening problems, one after another, till the end. You would find how Mars was unkind to him throughout the story.
“I never realized how utterly silent Mars is. It’s a desert world with practically no atmosphere to convey sound. I could hear my own heartbeat.”
Watney is a mechanical engineer and also a botanist. He uses his knowledge to survive on the planet with no hope of surviving. There was very little probability of getting back to Earth. Still, he was so cool, handled everything so smartly, that I became a fan of Mark Watney, a fictional character.
Since it is a science fiction novel, it is packed with scientific details. If you love Physics, Chemistry or Maths, you would really love to read it. Since I love Maths and Physics (Hey! I am an Engineer), I enjoyed all the mathematical calculations and physics-logics used in the book. No doubt, the author had to research a lot for writing it.
The Martian is written in the form of Watney’s journal entries. Although you can’t imagine being stranded on Mars, you will be able to identify with the emotions of Mark Watney. The story also contains scenes of NASA and the people working in it. Throughout the story, I was excited to find what happens next.
“It’s a strange feeling. Everywhere I go, I’m the first. Step outside the rover? First guy ever to be there! Climb a hill? First guy to climb that hill! Kick a rock: That rock hadn’t moved in a million years!”
The best thing about The Martian, also the reason why I chose to read this novel in the first place, is humor. There is earth-shattering humor in the story. While reading the book, probably every five minutes, I found myself laughing my heart out. I couldn’t resist reading and then laughing. Before reading the story, I was living a somewhat stressful life, but because of the humor of Mark Watney, I too became a little cool. (Thanks, Watney!) It all happened unintentionally, and I realized it later.
“Yes, of course duct tape works in a near-vacuum. Duct tape works anywhere. Duct tape is magic and should be worshiped.”
If you are not a science guy and don’t like to read science fiction, The Martian can be somewhat boring to you, as there are many scientific details in the story. Although the science may be difficult to understand for some, the author makes sure that Watney’s attitude and explanation never alienate the readers.
The Martian is a phenomenal work of sci-fi. In my opinion, the book is way better than the movie. I read the book and then watched the movie. That’s what I do with every novel with a movie. I would suggest this book to not only space travel fans or science fiction readers but anyone who is looking for a unique and thrilling story.