Sunday, March 23, 2014

'The Martian' by Andy Weir

Official Summary:

Six days ago, astronaut Mark Watney became one of the first people to walk on Mars. Now, he's sure he'll be the first person to die there.

After a dust storm nearly kills him and forces his crew to evacuate while thinking him dead, Mark finds himself stranded and completely alone with no way to even signal Earth that he’s alive—and even if he could get word out, his supplies would be gone long before a rescue could arrive.

Chances are, though, he won't have time to starve to death. The damaged machinery, unforgiving environment, or plain-old "human error" are much more likely to kill him first.

But Mark isn't ready to give up yet. Drawing on his ingenuity, his engineering skills—and a relentless, dogged refusal to quit—he steadfastly confronts one seemingly insurmountable obstacle after the next. Will his resourcefulness be enough to overcome the impossible odds against him?


There's this guy I work with whose a book geek like myself. Unlike me, he's usually got his nose in the next epic space odyssey (a la Dan Simmons) or technical fantasy novel (think Terry Brooks). Not that I don't appreciate those two genres for what they are - hell, some of my favorite titles are founding members of those categories - but unless they've got a bit more to them, I have a tough time getting into them.

Why am I telling you this? Well, it means that when either of us are gushing about the last best book discovery the other is usually trying really hard to withhold snark comments. Instead, we nod politely to one another and say something in the grandmotherly vein of, "It sounds lovely. I'm so glad you're enjoying it." and the conversation steers itself back on course*.

This time it was different though. This time, he was blabbing on about this amazing new novel he'd just picked up and couldn't put down about some guy getting left behind on the surface of Mars, and blah blah blah... I was feigning interest through cigarette drags as best I could but my glazed over expression must have given me away because after a few seconds he changed tactics.

"The first line is 'Well I'm pretty much fucked. That's my considered opinion. Fucked.' and it just keeps going from there."

I think I chuckled at that point, but even then wasn't 100% convinced. It took another week of him relaying a few choice lines before I conceded and downloaded the title.

I should have downloaded it sooner.

Bottom Line: From the first line to the last this book had me. If you like science fiction, a good laugh or even if you just had a fleeting interest in the movie Gravity you will adore this story, guaranteed. This one is a must read.

*The proper course usually consisting of Doctor Who, Game of Thrones, Almost Human, Helix, or any of the other dozen or so television shows that we both watch. We might not have matching taste in the literary sense, but it's pretty spot on in the T.V. category.

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