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Review: The Martian by Andy Weir


Six days ago, astronaut Mark Watney became one of the first men to walk on the surface of Mars. Now, he’s sure he’ll be the first man to die there.

It started with the dust storm that holed his suit and nearly killed him, and that forced his crew to leave him behind, sure he was already dead. Now he’s stranded millions of miles from the nearest human being, with no way to even signal Earth that he’s alive–and even if he could get word out, his food would be gone years before a rescue mission 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 get 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. But will his resourcefulness be enough to overcome the impossible odds against him?

My thoughts

When I started reading The Martian I was excited but also skeptical. I wasn’t sure if a story that was mostly about just one lone character would work for me. Not only are characters the most important part of a story for me but also their interactions. This is the story of a man left alone on Mars, so I wasn’t expecting all that much. I knew it could work, but I was still surprised how mind blowing The Martian ended up to be and how much I loved it.

I think what still amazes me the most is how funny it is. That’s definitely not what I expected from a book that was about such a hopeless endeavor. The main character’s sarcasm was making me laugh out loud all the time. I was glad this didn’t turn into a sob fest but was surprisingly cheerful.
That’s not to say it isn’t emotional. It definitely is. Challenge after challenge, he never gives up and it was thrilling and nerve wrecking to witness him failing again and again, but not loosing hope. I felt like I was watching this on the news, it felt so real. I was constantly cheering him on and unlike him, gave up hope pretty early. I was dreading the ending.

What also quite shocked me was the intensity of this book and how extreme everything is. What tiny little things could mean life or death for him. How much money is spent to try to save a single man. How long it would take just to send him some food. Everything felt so far away from anything I could experience myself and not that I actively thought about this before but I wouldn’t have imagined it as extreme as this. I was stunned.

Surprisingly, I liked how technical The Martian is. You get swarmed by facts and technical terms but it is the right amount. On the one hand I wasn’t overwhelmed by it, especially when there was something that I didn’t fully understand. On the other hand, the scientific details are enough so that I had a chance to understand all this lingo. That the main characters makes his jokes all the time helped so that this didn’t feel like reading non-fiction.

The Martian ends in a perfect and very emotional way. I had no idea what to expect. I had given up hope early in the book and wanted to be prepared for the worst. The ending was wonderful and the last sentences nothing but beautiful. I can’t remember the last time I was thrilled like this. The Martian is truly unique and an emotional but fun read.


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  • I loved this book. I read it early last year and have been forcing it on people ever since.
    I’ on the fence about the film, I think it lacked a lot of the humour and intensity of the book .
    Mark Watney is a character you can’t help rooting for .
    Interestingly there seems to be two endings out there, one from when Weir self Published which was changed when it went mainstream.

    • I haven’t watched the movie yet but I’m not sure Matt Damon is going to work for me. I definitely want to see it though.

      I didn’t know about a different ending! That’s interesting.

      • The older version finishes back on earth , the newer version finishes in the Space shuttle. I only found out when I ran it as a BOTM for a reading group. The newer ending went down a lot better.
        I wasn’t sure about Matt Damon either. He does a decent job though .

  • Yes, the humor was surprising! It was my favorite part about the book. I admire Mark for his intelligence and resourcefulness, but I admire his ability to stay so positive, retain his humor, and not fall apart even more. Some of the science did go over my head, but it never stood in the way of my enjoyment of the book.
    Were you really afraid it would end badly? I’m not sure I ever actually thought he wouldn’t be saved, especially since it has such high ratings. I didn’t know how it would play out, but I couldn’t picture him dying in the end. I’m curious to know how Andy Weir would have written an alternate ending.

    Have you seen the movie already, or are you watching it for Sci-Fi November.

    • While reading I thought it would be really unlikely that he survives. I never would have thought that NASA would spend that much money to save a man :D And I read the book right when it came out and I hadn’t heard from anyone who had read it at that point so I had really no idea what to expect. (learned today though that the first self-published edition had another paragraph, when he is back on earth)

      I haven’t watched it yet but I definitely want to.

  • It’s a great book and I really loved it. Thanks for the review. I totally agree with you. Marks thoughts and monologues are often quite funny and I like his sarcasm and his way to deal with his situation and death on his doorstep. It’s a book I can highly recommend.


Nov 02, 2015