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?
This being made into a movie for one very big reason. While reading it I could see the movie in my head. It’s very cinematic. And has all the hallmarks of a blockbuster: suspense (check), life threatening ordeals (check), scared yet plucky hero (check), jokes about the horrors of disco and seventies TV series (checks).
This book does what so few survival novels do. There is plenty of suspense and life threatening situations. The entire book is one big life threatening situation. And yet it manages to keep a lighthearted atmosphere. Mark makes jokes and never gives up. It stops the book from ever getting too dark and it would be so easy for it to become that. It makes it a breathe of fresh air.
This might not be big for everyone but it is for me. The science in this is real. I’m a bit of a buff and finding something that doesn’t drive me nuts with wonky explanations is more exciting that it should be.
I know how I just said I like science, but there were times when I wanted Mark to shorten the math and get on with it. The math can slow down the novel right when it’s picking up steam. At other times I loved the math. I just depended on whether it added or detracted to the suspense. This was about the only thing I didn’t enjoy. The rest of it was riveting.
I want more books like this. Not dark but not too light. With real science but not so technical that you feel like your reading a manual. Truly delightful.
4/4 Throwing Stars