I’ve done some complaining about how I have had little time to do much reading lately, but then this one book comes along and I have to make time to read it – work and other obligations be damned!
It is The Martian by Andy Weir, and funnily enough it is not a book I really thought would interest me. However, Michael Kindness at Books on the Nightstand really liked it as did several of my other bookish friends; and it was a recommendation from Jeff and Rebecca on the recent Book Riot gift giving podcast where they answered my question for books to give to The Marine (aka my trainer at the gym). I picked it up from the library and dipped my toe outside my comfort zone and – whoa – I was completely sucked in.
Most of the narration of The Martian comes from the log of Mark Watney, an astronaut who is left alone on Mars after an unfortunate series of events. Once he realizes his situation, especially the fact that he has no contact with Earth, he decides to make a go of surviving until the next mission to Mars arrives. He was the botanist on his mission, but he had enough science knowledge to figure out what he needed to do — this is where the novel begins to get detailed with its science-y descriptions and I admit to being confused but one does not need to pay close attention to the specifics. What really got me was his attitude – knowing that his chance of survival was slim to none yet still maintaining a sharp wit was amazing to me (and very entertaining – I caught myself laughing out loud several times).
Eventually the folks at NASA do discover that Mark is still on Mars and the race is on to rescue him. Of course such a rescue mission is extremely complicated and this part of the book creates a lot of page turning tension — how are they going to do it?
Admittedly, the story is far-fetched — would the US government spend hundreds of millions of dollars for the rescue of one man (short answer: no); but it is an adventure that is entertaining from the first page to the last. Even with all of the chemistry and physics and math causing my brain to hurt.