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Title: The Martian
Author: Andy Weir
Year Published: 2014
My Pre Reading
Synopsis: Six days ago, astronaut Mark Watney became one of the first men to walk on the surface of Mars. Now, he's sure he'll be the first man to die there.
It started with the dust storm that holed his suit and nearly killed him, and that forced his crew to leave him behind, sure he was already dead. Now he's stranded millions of miles from the nearest human being, with no way to even signal Earth that he's alive--and even if he could get word out, his food would be gone years before a rescue mission could arrive. Chances are, though, he won't have time to starve to death. The damaged machinery, unforgiving environment, or plain-old "human error" are much more likely to get him first.
But Mark isn't ready to give up yet. Drawing on his ingenuity, his engineering skills--and a relentless, dogged refusal to quit--he steadfastly confronts one seemingly insurmountable obstacle after the next. But will his resourcefulness be enough to overcome the impossible odds against him?
Review: This is a novel of survival. Mark Watney is the only man on Mars and the whole planet of Earth attempts to come together to make sure Watney is brought home alive.
This novel is quite technical. There are many instances in which chemical compositions and mechanical devices are talked about in length. I found these parts of the book both extremely interesting and quite boring. The science presented in this novel makes it seem like this is an actual mission log. The ingenuity presented is genius.
Aside from the science-y talk, there is also the story of one man spending an extended period of time alone on a planet. There are emotional highs and lows to accompany the highs and lows of the technical problems of surviving on a planet in which you can not breathe without the aid of machinery.
The story starts with just Watney's logs, but it eventually expands to include Mission Control back on Earth, the crew that left thinking Watney was dead, and there are even some sections from a third perspective on Mars. I never really got to know the characters in the other stories and longed for the logs of Watney.
I was on the edge of my seat for most of this novel. There were so many instances in which Watney could have died. The anticipation of him solving each problem as it came around was heavy, but I enjoyed it. I really felt invested in his survival.
I will obviously not spoil, but I liked the message at the end. I give this book a 4/5. It took me a lot longer to read than I had hoped and it was heavy on the technical writing at certain areas. If you have a background in science and love nerding out on it, you will love this. The way it is written, you don't need prior knowledge in science though. Those parts just may drag on for you if you don't quite understand basic biology, chemistry, and maybe even astrophysics.