adventure, Caution: May not be appropriate for those under 13, Comedy, Sci-fi, suspense/thriller

The Martian by Andy Weir

(Warning for language.)

Log Entry: Sol 6

I’m pretty much fucked.

That’s my considered opinion.

Fucked.

Six days into what should be the greatest month of my life, and it’s turned into a nightmare.

I don’t even know who’ll read this. I guess someone will find it eventually. Maybe a hundred years from now.

For the record…I didn’t die on Sol 6. Certainly the rest of the crew thought I did, and I can’t blame them. Maybe there’ll be a day of national mourning for me, and my Wikipedia page will say, “Mark Watney is the only human being to have died on Mars.”

And it’ll be right, probably. ‘Cause I’ll surely die here. Just not on Sol 6, when everyone thinks I did.

Let’s see…where do I begin?

So starts Andy Weir’s wonderful story of Mark Watney, an astronaut abandoned on Mars after his crew evacuates, thinking that he is dead. Sure that he is going to die there, Mark resolves to continue living, and to find a way to get off the planet. This is a story of genius, hope, and survival of a man who never gives up.

This is one of the best novels I have ever read. I absolutely loved it. It’s hard to tell from the excerpt of the first page of the book, but Mark’s sense of humor transcends the pages, and this gripping story draws you in from the first Sol. At first I had thought that I wouldn’t like it, since most of the book consists of a one-sided conversation, but it was more enjoyable than I could have ever imagined. Between Mark’s sense of humor and the constant danger he is placed in as he strives to survive, the book will have you turning pages like crazy. I actually hadn’t wanted to finish the book. I tried to draw it out as long as possible so that I could continue being amazed by Mark Watney.

Like I said, the narrative was harrowing at first. Not only had I seen the movie first (also amazing, by the way, and aside from a few things, strangely accurate to the book, down to the actors who played the characters), but I was a little concerned about my ability to get through a book with little actual dialogue. But that proved to not be a problem the minute I started reading. Weir’s narrative contains a dark humor and so much action that it’ll keep you on your toes even through the one-sided dialogue. It also doesn’t hurt that interspersed between the Log entries are other narratives that show you what is happening withe NASA and Watney’s crew.

Watney himself is an absolute gem. He is courageous and witty in a way that I know I could never be if I was stranded on Mars alone. He has an absolutely fantastic sense of humor and is extremely intelligent and is just over-all charming. Some of the book, I kept reading just to see what Mark would say next, what Mark would do next, what crazy scheme has he come up with now. And I’m genuinely sad that I won’t get to read more of his narrative now that I’ve finished.

I highly recommend this book. And the movie, but don’t use the movie as an excuse not to read it. This book is by far one of the best books I have read in my life, and you’re missing out if you disregard it because the movie was accurate. The book contains its own surprises, and if you fell in love with Matt Daemon as Mark Watney, you’ll absolutely adore the Watney written into the pages. Like I said before: he’s amazing.

Some warning: As you can see from the excerpt, there is a lot of cussing in the novel. There’s also some really dark elements contained within it, and you should be warned of those. (Though don’t let those warnings stop you from reading the book. If you have problems with language or anything dark, I’m still recommending it, but tread with caution; luckily for you the book’s humor offsets any darkness that the narrative brings to the table, making the darker concepts seem funny and almost lighter, though no less dark.)

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