Ryland Grace wakes up in a spaceship. He has two dead bodies to keep him company and robotic arms to move things around, but he doesn’t know who he is or what he’s doing there. His memory is not gone gone, however; gradually it starts returning, but unfortunately that’s not such good news. See, Ryland Grace is not really an astronaut, but a science teacher. Earth is in BIG trouble and he’s the only one left who can help. And he’s very, VERY far away from home…
Andy Weir became widely known because of The Martian. All three books of his that I’ve read (the second one being Artemis) are full of science and humour. I can’t say if his science is valid, but seeing as I wouldn’t notice if it weren’t, I don’t really care. His books are fun. This one was in audiobook format and read by Ray Porter, who did an excellent job bringing the story to life. As for the story itself, it was like a roller coaster ride. That is, it makes you want to throw up but also fun. The stress stems from the constant hurdles our protagonist faces. He manages to solve one problem only to be faced with another. His emotions become our emotions, and we get to experience his frustration but also his determination. Weir keeps things light enough so that Grace always has something funny to say when there is a setback, yet we can never truly relax and think that everything is going to be alright. The stakes are high.
If you think though that this humour will not let you feel your feels, you’re wrong. There are moments of genuine sadness. Here are some spoilers if you want them:
Rocky. First when we thought he was dead, and then when Grace and Rocky were saying their goodbyes. It was heartbreaking.
No more spoilers!
If there is anything negative I can say about this book, it’s that I sometimes spaced out (heh sorry) while listening to the more scientific parts of the audiobook. I space out anyway sometimes when I listen to audiobooks, because I can’t concentrate as easily on them as on an actual book made of paper, so it’s not necessarily the science itself that was the reason, but odds are when you don’t really understand something, your mind may start to wander. Maybe even if you’re reading an actual book. So reader beware.
If you can concentrate long enough though, you might even learn some new things. Did you know that most of the air we breathe consists of nitrogen, for instance? I did not!