If I ever get stranded on Mars, Mark Watney, the protagonist in Andy Weir’s The Martian, is definitely the man I’d bring with me.
This book was by far the nerdiest, most believable sci-fi book I’ve ever read, probably because it was written by an actual scientist and not an experienced, well-seasoned author. It’s about a man named Mark Watney who gets stranded on Mars after his crewmates abandon him because they believe he is dead.
The Martian is all about how Mark Watney uses the equipment around him to survive. Essentially, the book is a survival story, complete with mathematical calculations and a bit of chemistry, botany and astronomy packed within each chapter. Like I said, it’s a nerdy book.
Watney is sarcastic, funny, and keeps a cool head under all his near-death situations. However, at times, his personality can become irritating: his constant jokes take away from the suspense of the story, and eventually you get the sense that he’s invincible and can fix literally anything while barely making effort.
Fortunately, Watney is not the only character. The narrative alternates between his log entries and the scientists back on Earth who are trying to help him survive more than a year on Mars all by himself. This means there’s enough action and dialogue to keep the plot moving, and to keep you turning pages.
I’m not a huge fan of science fiction, and all the technical details in The Martian turned me off at times, but overall it was well worth the read. I’m looking forward to seeing the movie, which came out earlier in October this year and has excellent ratings so far.
(Christine Arumainayagam ’16, Staff Writer)