I am obsessed with space. A few months ago, I cleared 3 hours of my night and watch Interstellar and from there it's really all I can think about. Naturally, The Martian by Andy Weir was quickly shunted to the top of me TBR list and I finally found the opportunity to binge read it on an international flight this March. Guys, it was AMAZING.
It has easily joined my top ten favorite books and with good reason because it has all the makings of a beautiful, thought-provoking piece of literature. It's brilliant, funny, well-researched, and the character is very ... down-to-Earth. (sorry.)
I loved the structure of the story. Written in mostly journal entires in the form of Log Entries listed by "Sols" (the Martian equivalent of Earth days), with brief interludes from NASA and other Earthly happenings, the story had the potential to be quite boring. What can I say, sometimes journal entires are painful and narcissistic. But the character development of the Martian, Mark Watney, made the structure utterly compelling and the necessity of the journal entries as a recording system gave a certain intent to the book that many journal-based stories lack. Also, an affable, comical guy who doubles as a genius surviving on Mars keeps a pretty entertaining account when Weir is at the wheel.
I also need to talk about the science. Someone warned me off from reading The Martian with the complaint of it being "too technical". However, I disagree. Reading Weir's writing is like reading the hardest science equation ever and then actually comprehending the result. There is a lot of very intense, very complicated science and engineering going on in The Martian, but the personality of Watney gave Weir an avenue to "dumb it down" for his readers. Though I didn't know every chemical reaction or electrical reference being made, I always understood what was going on. This impressive feat cannot be commended enough, as talking about science and engineering and space without using jargon must be damn near impossible.
Read this book if you want to spend an entire book stressed out of your mind but loving it or if you want to feel awed by the sheer brilliance of the human mind or if you want to laugh at NASA calling a plastic box a "large rigid sample container" OR if you need some pure, unadulterated science fiction genius . I cannot recommend this one enough.
Publisher: Broadway Books
Publication Date: February 2014