This book was on my radar long before my book club decided to pick it as our September read. Having worked at a Barnes & Noble, I remember The Martian for its bright orange cover, and the fact that it continually sold out of our store. When the paperback released, it was seriously an effort to keep it on shelves, and it was always on the paperback bestsellers list.
Having now both read and listened to the audiobook of this story, I can see why.
I’ve stated many times that I am not the most science-savvy person out there. Although, if I had to pick a science, I will say that I do find astronomy fascinating. I chalk this up to my dad introducing me to Star Trek and Star Wars as a young child — if nothing else, it fosters a love of science fiction.
I’d heard more about the scientific merit of this novel — Mr. Weir is a programmer — than the story, which I actually now find a little disappointing: it’s why I didn’t rush to this novel. Since I am, as aforementioned, not science-savvy, I am more likely to care about the story of a piece of science fiction as opposed to its actual science.
In all truth, the story of The Martian can be pretty easily elevator-pitched: Cast Away on Mars.
I usually hate comparative pitches and blurbs, but that truly is an accurate way to describe this book…but with a couple of additions.
The biggest thing is that this book doesn’t take place entirely on Mars. Yes, we predominantly follow Mark Watney, the titular “Martian” and accidentally stranded biologist-turned-astronaut who must now survive on the red planet. But, we also spend time back on Earth with NASA as well as abroad the spaceship containing Mark’s crewmates. All of these perspectives are portrayed with varying degrees of tone, pace, and style. It’s incredibly refreshing because, well, people are all different. They’re going to behave and speak and present their situations differently.
Basically: the writing is awesome. The people feel real because of the way they speak, think to themselves, present themselves to others, and interact with the people and situations around them. I, at the very least, really cared about these people. I wanted them to succeed.
This book is one of the most entertaining pieces of science fiction I’ve ever read and I highly recommend it to anyone — even if you think/know you don’t like science fiction. Just trust me 🙂