Title: The Martian
Author: Andy Weir
Published: 2011 (re-released October 28, 2014)
Publisher: Andy Weir (re-released by Broadway Books)
Publisher Website: link
Rating: ★ ★ ★★ ☆
Disclaimer: I received this book from the Blogging for Books program in exchange for an honest review.
Within days of landing on Mars, the crew of the Ares 3 mission is forced to abandon the planet due to a strong sandstorm. In the course of evacuating, astronaut Mark Watney is hit with an antenna and dies. But while sensors indicated he was dead to the crew, they were wrong. Watney has survived and has been left behind with no way of communicating with the crew or with NASA back on Earth and definitely not enough supplies to make it until the Ares 4 crew arrives on the planet years from now. But he’s not one to just give up without trying and plans to use both his engineering and botany training to see just how long he can make it and if there might be some way to let those back at home know he is okay.
I was honestly surprised at how easily this one sucked me in. Most of the book is Watney’s mission logs–first person accounts of what he’s doing and thinking as he works to survive on Mars–but they read easily and are, at times, a bit entertaining, too. There are some cutaways to Earth and the crew that run in parallel to the logs to provide the story of what’s going on off-planet. While this is science fiction, it reads as nearly believable, and I think that adds to the authenticity and the humanity of the storytelling. I normally don’t enjoy hard science fiction (I prefer touches of the fantastic), but I really enjoyed this one. It’s not overly action-focused and it comes off a bit understated, but it’s very much worth the read.