The MartianThe Martian by Andy Weir

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Last night I finished reading ‘The Martian’. I can completely understand why it was voted the best science fiction book of 2014 by goodreads users. It’s an engaging rollercoaster of a story. The main character is left behind on Mars when his mission is scrubbed because of a massive storm that threatens to destroy their ascent vehicle. The wind blows part of the comms array into him, knocking him unconscious and destroying the bio-monitor in his suit. The rest of the crew believe he is dead and take off before the wind blows over their ship.

Artist concept of a Mars sample return mission
Artist concept of a Mars sample return mission (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This is a story of overcoming incredible odds to survive, and you are left almost to the last page wondering whether or not he is going to be saved. Most of the story is from the point of view of the astronaut Mark Watney, although there are little patches from the middle third of the book from some of the NASA people back on Earth and the rest of the Ares 3 crew when they are told their crew mate is still alive. The story is full of detailed observation, the author has clearly researched what is needed to survive on Mars, and the sort of procedures that are used for space flights. This creates a high level of believability in the events that unfold, and the responses to them.

As you might expect there are a number of crises. All of them are completely plausible, and shocking at the same time. You read wondering what will go wrong next, and when it does go wrong you then switch to thinking how will he survive this. This is especially true right near the end of the book, when I couldn’t quite be certain how it was going to end. I really did care about Mark Watney and I really wanted him to make it, that’s how good the story was. I’m not going to spoil the ending though, go read it yourself!

This the first paper book that I have read in 2015, 1 down, 19 more to go to meet my target.

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