It seems like once a year I find a book that I can’t put down because I want to know how it ends, and the minute I finish, I try to find a friend who needs to immediately read this too. This is harder to do with people who read e-books, but you know what I mean. My 2015 edition of that book is Andy Weir’s The Martian. That this book is excellent will come as no surprise to virtually anyone, given it was published in 2011, but I finally picked it up for myself after all the love it got on Pajiba when people were talking about the upcoming Matt Damon movie.
For the five people who have not read it, the Martian of the title is astronaut Mark Watney, who is left behind after his team’s mission to Mars goes catastrophically awry. The remainder of the book is what happens afterwards, and I cannot spoil it for anyone who hasn’t yet had the chance to read it yet. The book maintains an excellent tension and pace throughout, and the characters have distinct personalities. The primary focus is of course on Watney, but spending so much time with that single character does not get boring.
One of the best parts of the book is how detailed the science is throughout – Weir is a computer scientist and is a serious space science hobbyist. All the science works, as far as I can tell, and is based on recognizable technology. It doesn’t feel all that science fictiony to me, if that makes any sense – there are no aliens, no great understanding between two disparate species, no magical technological deus ex machina. It all feels exciting and dangerous all on its own. This is a really great book, and I urge you to read it. #ReadThisImmediately