Monday, January 18, 2016

The Martian by Andy Weir

Title: The Martian
Author: Andy Weir
Year: 2014
Pages: 384
Rating: ★★★★★

This review is a reworking of a 2016 post. 

This is a gripping novel about biologist and astronaut Mark Watney surviving Mars after an accident leaves him alone and stranded. Watney must overcome challenge after challenge, none of which seem contrived to hold on until... What?

No one back home knows Watney is alive, there is no rescue coming. He has supplies for a 50+ day mission for six, machinery that isn't designed to last more than 30 days and no hope. Watney has to make his own way, with only his know-how and the equipment left behind.

Watney comes to us via logs and down to Mars first person narratives, which are heart pounding, humorous and chilling by turns. No hands are waved on this techno-thriller, the story is pack full of details and observations that could right from NASA. No surprise here, Andy Weir is a lifelong programmer for a national laboratory and space enthusiast.  

This was a very interesting read as the premise was to build an engrossing story through the lens of engineering, failure and success. It is very much like the works of Robert Forward however Watney's character is in the driver's seat of the feats of engineering and not the math or the physics. All of the characters live and breathe in the novel where problem solving and engineering are a significant feature and purpose, but not the only one. There is a perfect tagline spoken by the hero: "Let's science the shit out of this", which is very apt.    

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