Taking this book to Cape Cod in mid May to read about the below freezing temperatures on Mars’ surface while on a freezing cold beach was probably not the best idea. Weir’s descriptive writing really does transport you to Mars and it is not human hospitable up there.
Mark Watney, one of the first six people to step onto Mars, becomes the first resident of the planet. Watney, injured and presumed dead, gets left behind on the red planet and has to MacGyver his way to survival until he can be rescued. He has his smarts, his snark and…that’s about it. There are a few odds and ends left around by NASA for a short term stay, but not nearly enough supplies to one man to survive as long as Watney needs to be rescued. The book is such a nail-biter that I don’t judge anyone that read ahead to the end to make sure of the ending. I had to, I was not kidding about the nail-biting part, all I had left were nubbins.
Watney himself is the most derisive part of the book and since the book is all about him, alone on Mars, I can understand why some people aren’t getting into this one. Watney isn’t a person that you can really stay neutral about. You either love the twee-ness of his survival blog posts or you are ready for a Martian lolcat to eat him. I enjoyed him, but then, I’m also from the internet, so…
Not enough praise can be heaped on Weir for writing a very science base sci-fi book that doesn’t make its audience feel dumb. Watney’s snark dilutes the techie jargon and makes it palpable for us laymen and laywomen. Without the larger than life personality of Watney, I think the book would’ve been as dry as an academic paper.