“I tested the brackets by hitting them with rocks. This kind of sophistication is what we interplanetary scientists are known for.”
So, here’s the thing. I know I’m late to the party (and I haven’t seen the movie yet, either), but sometimes I just get so damn stubborn about the things everybody wants me to check out I won’t try ’em even when I know I’ll like ’em.
Firefly, for instance. And, yeah. The Martian.
I’m not going to bother rehashing the plot of something I’m 100% sure everyone but me who has any interest in hard SciFi has already read: you know it, you’ve read it, and most of you have probably seen the movie, too. So we all know what happens.
I love this book. I am rather fond of Mark Watney’s sense of humor because in a lot of ways it’s like mine.
I’m traveling 90 kilometers per day as usual, but I only get 37 kilometers closer to Schiaparelli because Pythagoras is a dick.
So that’s the thing: I believe in Weir’s characters (even the supporting players who we don’t spend much time with) because they behave in all the craven, brave, foolish, clever, brilliant, snarky, weird and generally, (to quote Welcome to Night Vale) “…human — beautiful, stupid, temporal, endless” ways I’d expect to see if a real scenario were to unfold. I think Weir has a more rosy view of people than I do — or, at least, Watney does, but then Watney has reason to.
“’Bout time,” Beck said, climbing in.
“Sorry for the delay,” Vogel said. “I was required to make a bomb.”
“This has been kind of a weird day,” Beck said.
And of course the next best thing about the book — next to these brilliant characters — is the science. I’m not a botanist myself or any other sort of scientist, but even if it’s not accurate I didn’t have trouble suspending my disbelief. Because, largely, of characterization. If these well-drawn characters believe it could work, well. So do I.
Except maybe towards the end.
Nothing made me roll my eyes like Frog DNA did, in another book, at any rate.
I’ll let Watney/Weir have the last word on this one:
It’s true, you know. In space, no one can hear you scream like a little girl.