June 1, 2015 by mmileti
My hiatus is officially over! Due to illness I haven’t been able to post lately, but I am really excited to start reviewing again on a regular basis. Thank you so much for sticking with Avid Reviews and me during my illness and my unfortunate absence. Now, here’s a review of The Martian by Andy Weir:
The first thing you need to know about The Martian is that is was written by an incredibly intelligent man with a wonderful sense of humor, and an ability to explain complex science to the layman in a way that is easy to grasp. Andy Weir’s comprehension of the history of manned spacecraft, orbital mechanics and relativistic physics is astounding, and he uses his knowledge of these subjects to create a plausible and extremely fact-based story in this novel. Though this story is packed full of scenarios in which the protagonist must use his considerable intellect to save his life, the element that really makes this story both endearing and engaging is the protagonists incredible sense of humor. Though the story is fascinating and nail-biting it will also make the reader laugh out loud. This is what makes Weir’s novel stand out against other books in the science fiction genre, and the combination of these aspects is what kept me turning the pages until late into the night.
The Martian is the story of astronaut Mark Watney, one of only a few people in the universe who has had the chance to walk on Mars. He and his crew are members of Ares 3, and are on Mars for only six days before a disastrous dust storm forces them to abandon their mission. Unfortunately, during their evacuation Mark is lost in the storm, presumed dead, and left behind by the rest of the crew. Now he is stranded and alone with no way to contact Earth or his crew to let them know he is alive, and with not enough supplies to last him even if a rescue was sent. And chances are that he won’t live long enough to starve to death: Mars is a deadly and unforgiving planet. But Mark Watney is a determined man, and he will use all of the considerable skills he posses to fight against one insurmountable obstacle after another. Only time will tell if his determination and resourcefulness will be enough to overcome the impossible odds against his survival.
This novel is one of the most horrifyingly plausible science fiction scenarios I have ever read. It takes place in the near future, when humanity has just started to send men and women to mars for short missions mainly geared towards scientific discovery. Almost all the science involved in this story is either already possible, or is a reasonable advancement within the next few decades. Weir is spectacularly knowledgeable about the science involved in space flight, and this lends an air of credibility to Mark’s situation that allows the reader to connect with his character and his plight with a unique level of compassion and understanding. I found myself completely engaged with Mark’s story from the very first chapter, and became more and more endeared to him as the story progresses. Weir inundates the reader with facts about everything from math and biology to physics and engineering, but though his (and his protagonist’s) understanding of these subjects are on an expert level, Weir is wonderful at explaining these details in a way that is easily understandable to a layman. In addition, Mark’s technical musings and calculations become a wonderful storytelling technique, and highlights the fact that he is keeping himself alive in such a hostile environment with nothing but his own wits and a bit of luck.
Still, The Martian would not be anywhere near as enjoyable without Mark Watney’s clever, often sarcastic, and at many times laugh-out-loud hilarious commentary. Remember Mark is alone; in truth more alone than any human has ever been before. A story with this premise could have easily become boring, or bogged down in the little details, but Weir manages to combine Mark’s battle for survival and his uniquely endearing outlook on life to create a novel that will keep readers turning the pages late into the night. This is a novel that I would recommend to anyone that loves a good read, regardless of which genre they usually prefer. The impossible odds of Mark’s survival, his determination to make it home, and his drive to go to impossible lengths to understand our universe a little better are themes that are sure to capture the attention of readers worldwide.
My Rating: 8/10
I received a copy of this novel from Blogging for Books in return for an honest review.