(I bought this because of alibaba77’s review.) This is a great book. If you’re at all into astronomy, stargazing, astronauts, science, or good books, you should read it.
Mark Watney, our hero, is MacGyver on Mars. His Mars mission crew colleagues presumed him dead after an accident in a Martian storm. He has to figure out how to survive until the next Mars mission or until NASA figures out a way to save him sooner. He’s got a few potatoes, some duct tape, and a lot of time.
This is a science-y book, but the writing style is so engaging, the twists and turns so realistic and unexpected to those of us who are not astronauts. The emotions are so real, and the setbacks so frustrating–you’re rooting for this guy on page 1. Throughout the book, I found myself wondering how on earth (or rather, how on mars) this guy was going to solve his problems, and what inevitable calamity is going to happen next. I mean, he’s alone on Mars. Of course everything is going to go wrong. And things did go wrong, enough that you’re never entirely sure if he’s going to make it out…and I am not going to give anything else away, because you should experience it yourself.
Watney is a likable, believable character, which is an accomplishment since we mostly get to know him through his logs, written in first person. It’s a trick to write a likable character in first person. The sections that are not the Watney logs are third person, and there are fewer of them, which does a lot to round out the story. The pacing is great. Weir’s writing style is engaging, easy to read, and never stilted. I am impressed that he could write about such highly technical topics in such an engaging way. I’ve never read another book quite like it. I read this with mr. luxury and both of us loved it, staying up late into the night to finish it.
Go read this book!