I’m amazed that this book has been out for so long and is still being discovered by so many enthusiastic readers. I’m sure that the upcoming — and pretty amazing looking — movie has something to do with it, but really, I think mostly its because this is just a damn good story.
By now we all know the basics, so I’m going to keep this short.
Mark Watney, astronaut on NASA’s latest mission to Mars, is injured in a wind storm and left for dead by his crew. But Mark isn’t dead, and finds himself struggling to find a way to survive until the next scheduled mission lands on Mars…in four years.
How will he eat? What will he drink? Will he have enough oxygen? Is there a way to let NASA know that he’s alive? And just how will he get himself from his base camp to the future landing site, thousands of kilometers away? So many questions, and all of them are answered with an entertaining mix of science and humor, a credit to Andy Weir’s breezy, yet never flighty, writing style. Even when I got to a section of the book that contained pages and pages of “Mars science”, I never skimmed or skipped. You never know when you might miss a good joke about Aquaman or duct tape.
I also really enjoyed all of the stuff that happened down on Earth. The NASA sections of the book were equally as fascinating as the survival story. I wanted to know more about every single character in the book, both on Earth and in space, which is really a testament to Weir. I love him and promise to read every single thing he decides to publish in the future. He’s getting added to the Stephen King/Andrew Smith/Rainbow Rowell/James Ellroy/Ian Rankin/Christopher Brookmyre list of automatic reads, no matter what (after I get my hands on Armada, I’ll let you know if Ernest Cline gets to put his name on this list). Congratulations, Andy.