I loved this book cover, a friend of a friend raved about it, THEN the movie trailer with Matt Damon launched so I was like- okay I have to pick it up. It felt like one of those books that I would reference on a date when I was trying to convince someone I had great taste and liked sci-fi stuff, too, so I read it. I'm pretty into the book community on Instagram too and it was flooded with OMG THIS BOOK AISDFN@#$(* SO GOOD>>! But I missed something apparently and I weirdly feel like I have to apologize for it. And here is why-
The Martian follows Mark Watney, astronaut/botanist, on his journey to survive alone on Mars after his mission with his crew went bad. Without revealing too much (okay, if you have seen the trailer pretty much 90% is revealed) he is in communication for a bit with NASA and creating these insane ways to survive, despite failing technology and human error- mostly to avoid starving to death. Much of the book reads as Watneys journal and is logged day by day (or in Mars term, sol-by-sol). The operations of NASA and the attempt to bring him back to Earth is braided through the story as well adding a nice dramatic and political touch, but for the most part, its Watneys ingenuity and smart-ass commentary narrating this one.
Wait- before I super get into my personal objections, I want to state that I didn't see the preview until I finished the book, I didn't want it to change what I already envisioned of the characters! But I think that was a big part of issues, my imagination had a hard time filling in the gaps of what Mars looked like, or specific space technology that was keeping Watney alive. There was a ton of technical terms without descriptive words, making me gloss over much of the book. The over technical dialogue and lack of character development left me a bit bored- I wasn't super intrigued or rooting for any of the characters until the last 30 pages or so and the book largely felt like a giant wave of 'massive problem that is impossible to solve' quickly followed by 'Watney is a genius, problem solved!'
Now that my ranting is done, I can admit there were things about the book that I did enjoy. (what a waste of anything if you cant take away something, anything!) Although I missed the mark with the space stuff, I did really enjoy the quirky aspects of the story that made me think 'holy crap I take day-to-day things for granted,' like music at the touch of a button, being able to buy prepackaged food, bathing, so on. And there were some neat passages about the human race and how our worlds can quickly turn that I was really drawn to as well.
“If a hiker gets lost in the mountains, people will coordinate a search. If a train crashes, people will line up to give blood. If an earthquake levels a city, people all over the world will send emergency supplies. This is so fundamentally human that it's found in every culture without exception. Yes, there are assholes who just don't care, but they're massively outnumbered by the people who do.”
― Andy Weir, The Martian
Watney was a really funny character who felt like a 12 year-old science lovin' dweeb with super sarcastic and inappropriate humor- ding ding ding! I read about the author too, who wasn't really an author until this book and just loved science and space- pretty neat if I look at it from that angle. All in all, it was a fun read, but I'm glad its over. (SUPER stoked for the movie though, it looks awesome! Matt DAMON! Also, weird connection to Interstellar, anyone?)
This book was like a space hybrid of Cast Away and the Family Guy on a boring day. But as always, don't let me ruin it for you! If you're into space on a high functioning level and can live without a good climax or drama read, you might like this? TELL ME IM WRONG!