Goodreads summary: “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?”
People seem to love this book! I liked it a lot, but I wasn’t ready to move in and elope with it. I’ll start with some good: Mark Watney’s resourcefulness in attempting to survive was truly joyful to read about. I’d cynically remark that one person being able to come up with everything he did on his own is highly unlikely, but clearly the author, Andy Weir, did, in creating these situations, so the ingenuity of aerospace types must just truly be at another level I don’t comprehend. I also, overall, was amused by Watney’s attitude and sense of humor, though certain running gags (disco!) and quirks had more mileage for me than others.
Some quibbles: though I said I liked Watney and his voice, the journal format had become just tiresome enough for me to welcome the third-person passages located at NASA and JPL. Unfortunately, the characters in these scenes were rough sketches of people at best. Several of these people had completely interchangeable personalities and the dialogue among them frequently felt stilted or just plain unnecessary.
All together, this was an enjoyable, fast-paced, and humorous sci-fi treat. The ending sequence, in particular, was great and more than made up for any other weak areas that dragged a bit for me. So, though I didn’t unreservedly love it as others have, I still highly recommend The Martian.