I have read and listened to some really good books this year. It’s going to be hard to choose a top 5, but I’m pretty certain that The Martian will be on that list. The perilous adventures of Mark Watney are amazing – griping, funny, and weirdly educational.
I got the audiobook with the intention of listening to it while I worked, but I was so enraptured by the story that I listened to the bulk of it for 7 hours straight. I highly recommend the audiobook. At the moment it is only $2.99 and well worth double or even triple the price. R. C. Brey brings Watney’s wry intelligence to life. The book opens with what could reasonably considered Watney’s worst day ever – left for dead on Mars.
I don’t want to say too much about the plot, because I want you to read (or listen) to this wonderful book. Mark comes off as such an everyman, but he isn’t. He’s a botanist/engineer/astronaut/space pirate, not really an average guy. He works the problems as they arise. But like us, he wonders about Aquaman’s ability to control whales and makes a juvenile joke at every opportunity. “That’s what she said!”
There’s a movie version of this coming out later this year. I’m cautiously excited. Nobody could possibly in a million billion years ever improve on the story that happened in my head. The movie version won’t be better than the book, but it could still be very good. Ridley Scott isn’t my favorite director, but he isn’t a hack, either. Matt Damon is older than I picture Watney, but I can buy it. He’s got that everyman quality and intelligence that will likely work. The book doesn’t spend a whole lot of time on the other characters, and I imagine the movie will give them more time. That will be ok, too. I became particularly attached to Martinez, Venkat Kapoor and Commander Lewis. What the movie will have a hard time communicating is the isolation and the passage of time. And I hope the movie does not do, what the book never did – cross into schmaltz. It would be so easy to tug the heartstrings, but so wrong.
Science fiction is one of the genres I enjoy, but I would recommend The Martian to anyone.